Following on the success of Suikoden III, Konami had decided to continue the series with the next installment, Suikoden IV. However, keeping a RPG series fresh can be quite a challenge, but with strong plots and character development fans are more then eager to buy the next installment. Suikoden IV really takes the middle road here creating an enjoyable RGP experience but is a little light on the plot and character development. It's also not as innovative as Suikoden III was, but then again it does improve a number of weaker aspects such as combat control that held back the last release.
This time around, instead of following three separate stories joining into one plot, Suikoden IV takes a more traditional approach to plot development. Personally I liked the previous method better, but Suikoden IV does a decent job and fans of RPGs will be more then satisfied. Still a more developed plot goes a long way especially when you need to sink in 30 plus hours into a game to complete it.
There were also new features added that are an improvement such as naval battles and tweaks to the combat system that help to make the experience different enough. Numerous other mini-games can also be found to help break up the gameplay some. All these features work successfully to create a solid RPG, but none of them are ground breaking.
The graphics and audio follow similar trends. Although graphically, some of the environmental and special effects were notable, other areas are almost distracting. The main character for instance runs like he spent half his life on the back of a horse.
Suikoden IV is a solid RPG that fans of this genre will definitely appreciate. Others may want to pass as it isn't going to give to many others reasons to play.