The fourth Suikoden game and the first to not be helmed by Yoshitaka Murayama. It's also a pretty big departure for the series in other ways - rather than continuing the ongoing storyline from the first three games, it's a prequel set 150 years before the first title, resulting in a story largely disconnected from its predecessors. The gameplay is somewhat reverted to the series classic style, with individual control over each character (though only a maximum of four this time as opposed to the series usual 6). War battles are now turn-based and mostly take place on the open sea, utilizing an elemental wheel to determine attack effectiveness and having you form attack parties to raid ships in close combat. The game was criticized for these elements, its overall lackluster length (reportedly as short as 15 hours once you know where to go), as well as for its absurd encounter rate that made traveling about the map extremely tedious. That said, it's not without is merits - it does have a well written, complex deuteragonist in Snowe Vingerhut, whose journey is easily the most intriguing part of the game. The game's overall presentation is quite strong, with some well-animated characters and surprisingly good voiceover for the time; oddly it also looks significantly better than its followup game, Suikoden V, with more detailed character models and environments that game's. All in all a pretty mediocre Suikoden, but one with a few strong elements that make it worth at least checking out for series fans.
Platforms: Playstation 2, Playstation 3