* Why does Jowy try to assassinate Riou instead of suggesting political union? If his goals is to end conflict by joining Jowston and the Highlands, and your best friend is leading the opposing side, wouldn't it be smarter to become allies rather than prolong the war and kill your buddy?
** Which particular assassination attempt are you talking about? IIRC Jowy does try several times to get Riou to surrender to him. He wants an alliance all right, but with Highland in power, possibly because he sees himself as a Highlander.
** Given the history between the two nations, I don't see how a Highland-Jowston political union could work. Although it was actually Jowston, through Mayor Darell of Muse, who started the war, they also have suffered so much at the hands of Highland, so do you really think they would just agree to make peace with Highland? No, because they don't even trust Highland's offers of peace anymore.
** Basically Jowy had the firm belief that Highland and Jowston had too ugly of a history together for peace to ever last long. He didn't intend to kill Riou though, but he ''did'' intend to hold Riou hostage to force the City-State to surrender on ''Highland's'' terms.
** The wielder of the Black Sword Rune generally believes that Power is the best path to solve any problem. At first, Jowy objective was to finish Luca Blight, but soon, he changed his mind. Jowy goal was to create a single powerful nation, that would intimidate and match any other nation who ever dares to try to challenge them. For such thing to happen, Jowy needed to unify Dunan as a whole, eliminating the City-State (which he saw their system ineffective and prone to disputes) and make Highland, a Kingdom, control all that, effectivelly ending the disputes. And funny enough, Jowy objective, in the end, was successful, because the Dunan Republic was born as a strong, unfied country.
* Anyone care to explain why all endings except the GoldenEnding is considered 'soul-crushingly depressing'?
** Because in one of them, you go to the mountain where the story started and kill your friend. In the other, you don't go back and he dies alone anyway because of using the Black Sword to seal the Beast Rune. In both of them, depending on earlier events, you are never reunited with Nanami. Admittedly, that last point is somewhat hit-or-miss depending on the player's feelings, but the first half of the answer should cover it well enough.
** And ensuring that there is peace in Jowston isn't a good enough thing to make it at least BittersweetEnding? At least you won't have the likes of Luca Blight running around, the old, selfish Jowston that disgusted Jowy has been mostly reformed or dead, the genocide proposed by the Beast Rune has been quelled, and both Highland and Jowston can ''finally'' enjoy a peace together and standing united against the latter 'Higheast Rebellion'. Okay, there's that thing about YouCantFightFate... but on the whole States and Highland? That is something insignificant that would be swept away with such thing?
*** Consider this - In the ending where Riou kills Jowy, he ends up with the entire Rune of Beginning, rendering him immortal (as I recall, WordOfGod says that the separated Rune of Beginning doesn't grant the same immortality) with the full knowledge that not only are most of the people who are important to him are dead, his best friend by his own hands. The Higheast Rebellion would have happened either way, but now he has to take part in it as well. [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking And he has to take part in the incredibly boring meetings that go with ruling a country]].
*** Indeed, it does suck to be Riou. However, when you look at it on the bigger thing, even if Riou DOES suffer, the world is still saved even if he made a lot of sacrifices and lost things. Calling him suffering with his state, while true, but ignoring the state of the world which has gotten better sounds incredibly selfish. What, in that ending Riou should've been thinking "If I knew this would happen, I should just let Luca & the Beast Rune run loose so long as they live!"? Riou is pretty selfless, you know. I realize that things would've really sucked for him in those endings, but considering that the state of the world can enter a state of peace that even after Higheast Rebellion, peace would still last (except with Tinto becoming Tinto Republic), that puts it on a BittersweetEnding territory: Victory at a cost.
*** I'm not sure what you're talking about. I find the ending where I club my traitorous ex-friend Jowy to death and then go on to rule a country extremely satisfying. I also prefer that my step sister actually dies doing her best to help me, rather then abandoning me because "Her poor heart just can't take watching two former friends fight." and causing me to go through the anguish of her death only to be faking the entire time. By the end of the game Jowy had pushed so many of my buttons that I truly hated him. I wanted that bastard dead, and I took great pleasure in beating him to death. The so called golden ending was not only so sickly sweet it made my teeth hurt, but the first time I saw it, it sent me into a quiet rage. All that betrayal...just forgiven? Really? Jowy tries to kill me, Namami abandons me, and somehow I'm just supposed to forget all that, slap on a smile, and wander the world with them? FFFF-that.
*** It's depressing because Suikoden II isn't told from Dunan's POV. It's told from ''Riou's'' POV. And in most JRPGs, particularly ones from the 90s, the hero either [[EarnYourHappyEnding earns a happy ending for himself]] ''or'', worst-case scenario, [[HeroicSacrifice gets to die relatively at peace with his sacrifice somehow having saved the world.]] In the ''other'' endings, ''Riou gets neither.'' He loses what's left of the only people he could call family (and remember, he was a [[ParentalAbandonment ''war orphan'' to begin with, so now he's lost ''two'' families]]), has to deal with the pressures of running a country that really doesn't need him to continue operating (things go just fine for Dunan in his absence) mainly because of the presence of a rune that he really doesn't want or need. That's not really a reward. That's imprisonment. Particularly for such a gentle-hearted kid that might not be the best fit for negotiating the actual politics of such a large, newly formed nation anyway. Shu, although he mellows out somewhat toward the end, spent most of the game as arguably the most ruthless 'good guys' strategist-figure in ''the entire series.'' And that was mostly out of necessity. Although, for what it's worth, Riou's gentle temperament would probably be a mercy for everyone else. [[spoiler:Because [[VideoGame/SuikodenIII the following game in the series]] ends up being an object lesson about the problems that can ensue for an entire region when a teenager with a true Rune grows up around too much tragedy and pain and finally snaps.]]
*** That feels like saying that having Ridley DIE in Tinto because of him not taking responsibility a bad thing or not enough to alleviate that. Or what about getting rid of the Beast Rune from ravaging the land? Was that not a good thing? Or perhaps ridding the world from a monster like Luca Blight? I mostly scratch my head because it feels like saying 'accepting that position of ruler' annuls the other good things Riou has done to the world and some others (sure, Boris would have replaced Ridley, but again, Ridley's life could have been preserved), regardless of Riou's decisions, it wouldn't be a nice place to wander (or rule over) as long as people like Luca Blight exist. And honestly, the statement above probably only works if Riou aimed for the Best End, but screwed up (leaving 'ruling Dunan' the only choice he had). You had the choice to accept the rulership in the first place, if you do, it has the implication like Riou decided he's fine with ruling, he may want to give 'ruling normally' a shot and lead on a new life, so it's a choice he made. (though at cost of Jowy just waiting, then again that means the Rune of Beginning is not going to be complete, he's definitely not going immortal that way... or is he already immortal just by holding one half of the Rune?). So in other words, even in Riou's POV, he HAS accomplished some things that would make his life a bit better and the world where he lived a better place, and I don't think most JRPG at the 90's are majorly selfish, even some of the more selfish heroes made selfless choices in the end.
* I wonder if there is an explanation beyond "[[WhatCouldHaveBeen We don't have enough game spaces left!]]" about how neither Neclord nor Hix, Tengaar or even Tir (if you bring him along, it's possible) to recognize each other. Even if Neclord can pull ButForMeItWasTuesday because it's the doppelganger that was in Toran, Neclord was an important part in both Hix and Tengaar's lives, because Tengaar's abduction by Neclord was the thing that spurred Hix to [[TookALevelInBadass become a warrior]], it was a mandatory quest in the first game, not optional. Tir was also there to screw up with his plan instead of just sending Viktor alone (though that was what happened in the Drama CD), but for the three to just treat Neclord like 'just a new threat' instead of an old familiar face is... kind of confusing. The most we can get is Neclord being mentioned in Tengaar's first investigation, but aside of that... nothing else?