One of the best and possibly most under rated role-playing games of all time. Released between December of 95 and April of 97 back when it took a LONG time for games like this to release outside of Japan.
The first game in the Suikoden series follows Tir McDohl as he becomes a fugitive from the corrupt empire ruling the land around him. The Gate Rune Wars involve a handful of the 27 True Runes: Ted's Soul Eater, Leknaat and Windy's Gate Rune, Joshua's Dragon Rune, Luc's True Wind Rune, Neclord's Moon Rune, and Yuber's Eightfold Rune.Basically the kingdom you live in has become hell bent on conquering the world and it becomes your job to stop it. At first you are just running and helping people along the way but after a while you learn about this cool abandoned castle in the middle of a lake and set up you base there. At this point you can run around and recruit over 100 people to your cause by helping them do various tasks.
You can have up to 6 people in your active party at a time and certain people can perform special attacks together. To use magic like healing yourself you must have a rune equipped and it must have charges, as your player levels up and as you find higher level runes you get more charges and resting will restore charges.
There is a LOT of story to this game and it involves a lot of people and places, not 80 hours on 5 people in 1 village kind of thing.
At certain points in the story you will have to fight duels and army battles. From what I remember there is not much of anything you can do for the army battles because they are scripted but you have full control of the duels.
All in all its a great game with a lot of story and characters. You can do a lot or you can do a little, you are not forced to recruit all of the characters. And I believe its pretty cheap on PSN.