These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Worth noting is that it was a very dramatic breaking; most fans either thought it was ruined or it wasn't at all. Comes up more often than any game besides II in most "Best Suikoden" threads in forums.
Suikoden IV got it even worse for limiting the player to four party members, upping the random encounter rate, and shortening the overall length of the game (it's not hard to beat the whole thing in 20 hours with 108 stars, whereas it's nearly impossible to get through III in under 40 or so), and being set 150 years before all the other game... so the only returning characters are/were very minor in their previous/later appearances. Particularly, the combination of the smaller party size and shorter game made it very hard to get to know most of the cast.
In Suikoden II, Luca Blight, the Mad Prince of the Highland Kingdom, stands in stark contrast to the ambiguous nature of the franchise's other villains. While he has a Freudian Excuse in being Forced to Watch the rape of his mother by Muse ruffians after his cowardly father fled, it is inexcusable when compared to the sheer scale of his atrocities. Luca relishes killing and expresses a hatred and disgust for all life. His Establishing Character Moment is building up public support for a war against Jowston by having his own youth brigade, just children training to be soldiers, slaughtered by his troops disguised as Jowston soldiers. Later, he is seen burning a defenseless village to the ground and killing villagers. When one woman begs for her life, he tells her to act like a pig. After complying and asking if she's free to leave, Luca instead murders her while shouting, "Die pig!" After a mercenary fortress falls to Luca early in the game, Luca is found running Pohl, a teenage boy, through with his sword before turning his attention on a very young girl named Pilika, whose parent he had already killed in an earlier encounter. Though he is prevented from killing her as well, the traumatic situation causes Pilika to become mute. Later he sacrifices the entire population of the city of Muse to the Beast Rune while Jowy watches in complete horror, as does the party outside the city. Luca's gleeful depravity turns against him, when Jowy and other Highlandersbetray him to the player's army by setting up an ambush in the forest. Even as he dies though, Luca never once stops relishing in just how monstrous he truly is.
Neclord the vampire. There once existed a place called Blue Moon Village, which was inhabited by peaceful vampires whose thirst for blood was satiated by the presence of the Moon Rune. Neclord, in his lust for power, allowed himself to be turned into a vampire, ingratiated himself into the village, then stole the rune from the village’s altar. This resulted in the vampires of the town being forced to choose between killing people to extend their lives, or perish themselves. Desiring more power still, Neclord joined forces with Windy and decimated places like the Village of the Hidden Rune to obtain more True Runes. He also, on a whim, attacked the village of North Window, killing and zombifying all its inhabitants to use as his undead army. He later did the same thing to the soldiers of Lorimar Fortress after Windy made him Lorimar’s governor. As governor, Neclord demanded that his people sacrifice him one young girl a year to be his bride. Their screams from his castle could be heard by the villagers. After his defeat in Suikoden I, Neclord returned to North Window and began abducting women who strayed too close to the village. When Viktor, a former North Window resident, returns to seek revenge on Neclord, Neclord responds by reviving Viktor’s Love Interest, Daisy, whom Neclord had murdered. Neclord offered to bring Daisy back to life in exchange for the sword Viktor was going to use to kill him, however Viktor realized the dead couldn’t be brought back except as zombies, and killed Daisy himself causing Neclord to flee. Eventually, Neclord attacked Tinto City, hoping to take it over and make a new zombie kingdom for himself. During this time he also abducted Lo Wen and Lilly Pendragon, the daughter of Tinto’s mayor, to be his brides.
Crowning Music of Awesome: Every game has at least one track which is just plain awesome either due to the music itself or the scene in which it's played.
Though it has several of its own as well, V's is arguably Determination ~ Tragic Battle which you hear bits and pieces of in several spots in the later half of the game, but it isn't played in full and you don't get its full impact until the battle versus Sialeeds.
Also another darkhorse? Pesmerga. This guy is always a late-joiner, contributes probably nothing to the plot, and can be accused of Cool, but Inefficient (lack of rune slot and options for customization). And he's only in for 2 games like Viktor/Flik. His fanbase is huge, thanks to his connection with Yuber as well as his BadassBlack Knight attire, and his default powerful stats for those who just doesn't want to bother with customization.
Viki in Suikoden V, whose powerful Chain Magic ability- once trained up- lets her cast incredibly powerful spells twice in a row at no additional MP cost, letting you wipe out enemies with astounding ease. Not to mention Zerase's completely overpowered Star Rune, and Richard's godly stats.
Viki isn't quite so broken as she seems; her non-removable Blinking Rune isn't that great, and the position it's stuck in means that she can never equip a Magic Absorb Rune. Meanwhile, the Magic Absorb Rune itself is even more of a game-breaker in that game — in earlier games, it recovered a single spell of the lowest level only, 15% of the time when your attacks hit. In V, for some reason it recovers a spell of any level, 100% of the time, every single attack — including high-level spells that, for most of the game, you would otherwise only be able to cast a handful of times over the course of a level, boss fight, or whatever. With a Magic Absorb Rune, you can cast them every other round and never run out.
How on earth did this section exist without Emily (Ronnie Bell's daughter) from Suikoden III? Train up Emily, give her a Fury or Double-Strike rune and watch her obliterate any boss in one round before they even have a chance to make one move. Her only limitation is that she doesn't have Continual Attack, which Juan does (he starts every battle asleep, though.)
In Suikoden IV, the team of the hero, Kika, Ted, and Snowe is also considered a Game Breaker, because of the astounding ease at which they can take down any opponent. In fact, Kika alone could be considered a Game Breaker, since her Falcon Rune does about 3x her normal damage, never misses, can be used infinitely, and has no apparent drawbacks. Slap a Fury Rune on her and you've got a character capable of one-shotting almost any non-boss.
Sheena can be turned into a Game Breaker at higher levels in II.
The more powerful unite attacks in the series can become this as well.
Georg in V can be a Game Breaker in the right hands. Although slapping a Double-Edged Rune on him is risky, since his magic defense is poor, he can pretty much rip a huge hole in almost anything with one on. For that matter, Isabel, Mathias and Miakis have devastating setups too.
Also Alen and Grenseal from the 1st game. Aside of decent stats, they came permanently stuck with Rage Rune and Thunder Rune, which gives access with lots of high-level damage spells and when they're sufficiently levelled, they can combine their runes For Massive Damage. To add this up, they can do a Combination Attack with Flik that usually does over 1000 damage even on non-maxed weapon (and always hit), making boss fights MUCH easier.
In the first game, if you manage to find the final water rune and the final wind rune and manage to have two people in your party use their final spells, you will hit all of the enemies on the screen For Massive Damage and heal most of your health at the same time. This is particularly useful for the later boss fights, especially the last boss fight.
In the first game, there are a couple of exploits for taking a detour from The One True Sequence. Before going to the castle, go outside, alone, and run away from enemies until you find three BonBons. Easy kill, and hey, level 9! After that, you have a choice of going to Sarady either by yourself or with Ted. Go alone, you get the Fortune Rune (double EXP); go with Ted, you get the Prosperity Rune (double money).
Its easy to read Gremio being this towards The Hero in the first game. Almost every sentence he speaks relates in some way to the "young master". Though he claims he thinks of Tir as more of a son or brother.
Lucretia from V, with both Cathari and Lelei. Lelei has a decidedly suggestive scene where she suggests that Lucretia not go to bed just yet on the night before the big battle, while Cathari notes that she and Lucretia were "more than just friends" when she joins.
Richard's complete and utter admiration of Mueller in V borderlines this.
Basically any of the male Narcissists, especially when they interact with each other.
Riou and Jowy from the second game certainly apply.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Chris is a fairly decent person, but her personality can be kind of grating. She comes off as a bitch to practically everyone. She's a lot better in the manga adaptation, though.
Magnificent Bastard: The evil inclined Silverbergs tend to turn into these. Strangely enough, so does Jowy.
Why not include Shu (from II) in there while you're at it? I mean, look at his strategies: Using poorly-armed members of the North Window Base as a diversion, as well as throwing poor Pilika out as crossbow shield too.
Moral Event Horizon: Many of the villains indulge in this, but it is Luca Blight who takes it to an art form.
Narm: In the first game, Viktor ruins a legitimately cool/dramatic scene on confronting Milich with this one line:
Black Rune, Pink Balloon, what's the difference!? This scoundrel killed Gremio!
Nightmare Fuel: All of the games have this in one form or another and in varying intensities
I set the bar with Gremio's horrible death by being dissolved alive by flesh-eating spores. This is all the more nightmare-inducing by the fact that Tir is right on the other side of the door within earshot of any and all death wails Gremio may have made.
Gremio: The spores are at my feet. I can't see anymore.
Really, in all fairness, Gremio seemed pretty damn calm about the whole thing. Though that may just be the translation, or the limitations of the medium at the time.
II has Luca Blight - period. Of course, what happens to Muse is bad too, but Luca still takes the cake.
Luc's motives and claims at the end of III could be potentially traumatizing.
The fact that the Rune of Punishment slowly kills its user every time he uses it could count as one of IV's.
V - Childerich and Nether Gate in general.
Player Punch: Nearly every game in the series contains at at least one star's death in the storyline and one important character's betrayal; generally, the main death is reversible or avertable if you collect all 108 stars of destiny, while the betrayal is not. These all tend to be player punches to some degree... At least one person went into deep mourning after Sialeeds' betrayal in Suikoden V. A much, much worse Player Punch is Lyon's sudden death, though this can be averted with 100% Completion.
Almost any scene involving Pilika in Suikoden II. Also Nanami's "death" scene in Rockaxe.
What!? Nothing on the deaths of Yun and Jimba in III?! You can't reverse either one, which makes this Troper sad because the only time to use Jimba is before you start the Cyndar Ruins story.
It's not a death, but, what about when Jowy went to visit the nice lady that took you, your sister, your ward and him in, after the trio were exiled for a crime they didn't commit and knifed her?
The Scrappy: We may as well rename the second to last Star as 'The Star of Scrappies' since it mostly produces hatedom-generating characters, such as Krin, Hoi, Guillaume... . There's also Kenji (not of the same Star), who is disliked due to his ridiculous fighting style. I mean... using aerobics and jogging to fight!? Can't forget Snowe either.
It's worth noting that Guillaume is a French, overweight, cheating, dog kicking, lying paedophile. It's safe to say he at least was intentional.
That One Boss: There were a good amount of these, but the Zombie Dragon from the first game is specifically memorable here.
Sonya Shulen. She's insanely fast so she almost always attacks first before half your party. She takes half-damage from all magic, counter attacks like crazy, and spams a powerful magic attack that can take out your melee fighters in two turns.
In Suikoden I you have Ted (your best friend) the original host of the Soul Eater. Arguably Teo (your father) could count as well but that would be more of Too Stubborn/Loyal to live. To some, Odessa could very much count, but her death did help Flik into developing to the fan favorite we all know and love this day.
In Suikoden II you have Genkaku (your father figure) and Annabelle (Muse´s mayor).
In Suikoden III you have Jimba, aka Wyatt Lightfellow, who you learn was the wielder of the True Water Rune and father of Chris Lightfellow, and he dies shortly after these revelations.
In Suikoden IV you have Glenn the chief of the Knights of Razriel and your father figure (more or less).
In the latest entry Suikoden V You have Ferid and to a minor degree Arshtat your parents. Actually whenever you are the parent of the main hero please apply for a swift death and the hand of this trope.