Overall --> A-
The initial entry in the series, Suikoden did not revolutionize nor introduce anything new to the RPG genre. However, it does everything extremely well and does add a new twist - the collection of the "108 Stars of Destiny". The story is solid, revolving around the struggle between the down-trodden band of heroes and the villainous empire. The setting is in a country that is littered with towns and castles. You fight the standard RPG random battles (with a team of up to 5 other rebels) and engage in some predetermined strategic battles involving your army (this is fun, but is ultimately a Paper-Rock-Scissor affair when you get down to it). You have the standard collectable item quests (Old Book Volume I through X, etc.), but this standard RPG facet is also well-crafted and has numerous 'collections' to target (all well varied in their content).
Where Suikoden separates itself from the pack is that you are not alone in this quest. At your disposal are 107 recruitable characters to join in your efforts - each possessing different skill sets and backgrounds. Some of your comrades will join automatically, but most require your efforts to recruit them from various parts of the country. This is not essential in completing the game (recruiting all of them), but will help out tremendously in your quest, not to mention this aspect of the game is extremely FUN. The characters you recruit will help you develop and build your castle, fight in battles and most have unique personalities.
Graphics are solid (all 2D, with an overhead perspective when traveling through the World, 3/4 view when fighting), though unremarkable, as are the overall sound effects. The story and interactivity of all of those SOD to recruit is what sets it apart. Classic RPG game done extremely well.