31 – Suikoden
Initial Release Date: November 1, 1996
Why it’s one of the best RPGs: It’s never a fun day when you realize your father is a part of a horrible, corrupt empire enslaving its citizens, but in Suikoden, this realizing makes for a darn amazing game. The Hero must dismantle the establishment via a Rune of Life and Death and a rebel organization. He’s got a few friends to help him along the way–specifically, about 108 of them, though not all of those friends are playable in battle. That’s probably for the best, though the battles do allow for six characters at a time to fight together, with proximity and placement playing a large role in how the battles play out. You’ll need to use strategy and cunning to win consistently.
Suikoden may not have been the most visually polished title of its time, but it certainly broke the mold of a “nobody” hero suddenly gaining the power to save the world via a lot of weird accidents. Its story is based on a Chinese novel, giving the game a unique framework and aesthetic that remains worthy of a replay to this day.
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