Part 31: Sidetracked (IX) - GrindingRemember how Suikoden IV was a bad game and I dedicated myself to pointing out the few Things It Actually Did Right with capital letters and everything? Well, Tactics is basically the other way around.
So here's an episode dedicated to Shit Suikoden Tactics Gets Wrong.
Unfortunately it's more or less the same thing every Suikoden gets wrong.
Let's look at our new party.
Each of them only comes with two skills learned, and none of them are maxed. Tal's setup is kind of shit and his original skills can't even be changed, and Keneth's, while not quite as bad, are fucktardedly expensive to max out. Both of them require Extra Move (which is at least relatively cheap) and will really want to max out another skill as well to be competitive. Normally, I'd say something about how I can't complain too much about Katarina's skills because she's a fire mage and comes with fire and concentration, which (aside from Extra Move) is basically what she needs...
...but the probably most interesting thing about her and Keneth is that they both cheat. Katarina comes with a Lightning Rune in her left hand, and Keneth comes with a lightning-type magic sword, despite neither of them having the stats to actually unlock that slot. Both of these "extra" runes can be removed, but you can't replace them until these two jokers level up to a point where they actually have access to those slots.
So Katarina not only needs to max her fire magic, she needs lightning up to level B as well, and because I know what I'm up against on the next plot map (and because lightning is better than fire) she's going to get a thunder robe as well, bringing her up to an A.
Keneth gets Shield Defense because it's cheap, and the Wing Shield brings it up to an S. Unfortunately it only blocks frontal attacks, so Parry looks a whole damn lot better.
But I can't max Parry because I don't have enough skill points.
I really hate to see new characters joining up with abilities that are so sub-par that it discourages you from using them. Sometimes it's justified, but it's not as if Keneth is a powerhouse when fully set up or anything - he's adequate at best and hamstrung by his middling natural movement and lack of Godspeed. He can ride a kangacorn to get around that, but so can a lot of other people, and several of them will do a better job, earlier. Tal is the same except worse; earth elemental, iffy permanent skills. His only really redeeming factor is that his skills are pretty cheap to master.
We need to grind for skill points.
And catch up on a bunch of stuff because damn near all of these people already know each other.
So how ya been, buddy? Long time no see!
I've been okay. You look like you're doing well, too.
Heck yeah, you know it! Let's go smash up some cannons!
Right with you, Tal.
I almost feel very slightly guilty about all that shit I've piled on Tal, but let's face it: as much of a bro as he may be, he's still not very good.
We already know that Lazlo supports with everybody and everything, but Keneth has things to say to quite a few people as well.
But let's start with Lazlo because he's better than the rest.
Keneth is actually another character who got screwed pretty hard in the transition.
I never thought I'd fight beside you again...
He, and perhaps to an even greater extent Paula (I'm not even going to pretend like it's a spoiler that we'll run into the remaining knights as well somewhere along the line) was an okay-ish character whose strength came from being decent with both physical attacks and magic. Now he's... just decent at physical attacks.
Yeah... Maybe one day we won't need to fight much any longer.
The mobility issue is definitely his worst problem, though.
Lazlo has Good Will with all the knights, past and present. Except Katarina. Because Katarina is a bitch.
The enemies here are new...ish. We killed a bunch of these in S4, but I don't think I've shown them off in Tactics before.
There's quite a few of them here, along with some fishmen. Most of them aren't a very high level, but it's okay; we're not in this for the EXP. (Though I certainly won't object to it.)
Okay. Good luck, then.
Let us fight as hard as we can for the glory of the Knights of Razril!
For the glory of the Knights of Razril!
Don't buy into her crazy talk, Keneth! I thought you were supposed to be the clever one in that outfit.
That actually wasn't the talk I was hoping for. But it's okay; we'll get to that later.
Tal hops on a kangacorn. Katarina and Keneth join at levels relative to your own, but this slacker comes at level 12, end of story. But all the enemies are at a higher level, so he should profit quite a bit from this training.
...but even on the kangacorn, he can't kill the closest squirrel.
This is what Lazlo is here for: softening up enemies so Tal can kill them for quick and easy EXP.
Speaking of whom.
How's it going?
It's been a long time since my last real fight... but I'm doing okay.
Good to hear.
Just leave it to me!
Okay. Time to go!
Last one's a rotten egg!
Very, very slightly guilty. Damn it Tal, why couldn't you have been good?
Squirrels: not a big threat.
So let's overkill them horribly!
Double Leader Attack makes Lazlo and Kyril repeatedly hack into the poor defenceless enemy...
...for rather ridiculous damage.
Well okay, it's a rodent, but still.
Kyril parries. I like parry. When it's on my own characters.
Katarina comes with a third level spell. You've seen the fire version already, so let's get to the lightning one. It's pretty good.
It has a slight charge time, enough for Tal to squish one of those softened-up rodents I was talking about.
He gets a pretty shitty level.
Here's how good the third level lightning spell is.
Kyril's level is surprisingly low, so I let him get in on the fun as well.
Keneth shows off the second level Viper skill. It's 1.0x damage to a single adjacent enemy, just like the first one, but it has a chance to instakill the enemy. Nice against mooks, and when it works, but it's still percentage-based and not terribly reliable. The lack of a straight up damaging tech really hurts 1H sword users.
Keneth gets lucky and lands a death effect at 55%. That horrible, dangerous squirrel won't be bothering us again!
Kyril still can't fillet the fish...
...but he can profit from the attempt.
Damn it, Kyril, you're the protagonist. You're supposed to not suck.
Tal manages better.
And Katarina decides to be useful.
All right... Time to show them not to mess with the Knights of Razril!
This is less impressive than some of the other unites we've got, but it's the best Keneth can hope for when it comes to range and damage.
The attack requires Keneth in front and Katarina in the back, and hits three tiles in front of Keneth.
Katarina charges up energy...
...and Keneth uses it to slam the fuck out of that fishman.
Tal gets an okay-ish level.
And Keneth finishes the battle.
It's a B rank, which I don't give a fuck about, and enough SP to max out Keneth's skills, which I'm quite pleased with. I've also upgraded his and Tal's swords, which start at level 3, to level 4, and given them a bunch of nice equipment. That took time and almost even effort, so those fuckers better make themselves useful in the upcoming battles.
...and with that done, we can finally head for Caleron.