The prequel to Suikoden’s spiritual successor Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes finally arrives to introduce fans to a new world.
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Eiyuden Chronicle: On the rise
After nearly a decade of silence, fans of the JRPG Suikoden series received their prayers answered when a Kickstarter campaign for its spiritual successor was a huge success.
Creator Yoshitaka Murayama and former staff who worked on the Suikoden series are back to bring Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes to their devoted fans.
From the limited details that were shared on Hundred Heroes, fans of the Suikoden series should be really excited as it looks like it could be a nostalgic affair.
However, the game won’t be out until 2023, but meanwhile developers Natsume Atari and Rabbit and Bear Studios are releasing the surprise prequel to Hundred Heroes called Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising.
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising follows a young aspiring treasure hunter named CJ who is looking for an item called a runic lens as part of her village’s rite of passage.
Her search leads her to New Neveah, a small mining town on the continent of Allraan. New Neveah has been hit by hard times since an earthquake opened a nearby quarry, revealing Runebarrows beneath the city as well.
This attracts adventurers and merchants alike who seek fame and fortune. CJ only needs an explorer’s license to continue his journey, but as it costs way beyond his means, he makes a deal with Interim Mayor Isha to help residents with requests in exchange for stamps.
Once he has enough stamps, he can get his license. This pushes young CJ on an adventure that will see her encounter a brilliant cast of characters as she seeks to uncover the secrets of the earthquake, the Galdean Empire and more.
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising begins with a very simple premise, but develops into something more.
It’s great to get a first look at some of the characters that will be in Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes and get a first look at the basics of the lore.
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising looks adorable with its vibrant 2.5D anime style that infuses aspects of various folklore into its overall aesthetic.
Each character model has a fantastic design with intricate details that enhance its characterization.
I love the charming character sprites reminiscent of Super Nintendo and PS1 games, but some of the animations don’t flow as well as they could.
The levels boast brilliant designs with each area offering something new to explore, with the scenery and backgrounds elevating the overall look.
Enemy designs really vary with bosses looking awesome and menacing, giving players a sense of satisfaction once defeated.
The soundtrack is fantastic, with each delightful theme evoking a sense of adventure, adding an extra vibe to any situation.
I feel the game could use some voice acting to enhance well-written but text-rich cutscenes.
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is an action RPG that is a mix of combat and platforming with quite a bit of city building in the mix.
The main game cycle will revolve around CJ and mates completing various tasks for New Neveah residents to help rebuild the city.
Most of the missions will be the retrieval of items for the residents, which in turn will lead to players having to explore dungeons and defeat bosses.
There is also a lot going back with the barrier-blocked areas requiring players to go back to New Neveah, get what they need, and return.
Fortunately, the fast travel system is accessible right from the start, which makes the experience a little less grueling.
Each dungeon or area is pretty basic with some platforming elements, but players will mostly spend their time defeating enemies.
What’s useful is that each character has their own life bar rather than sharing one, and using a single potion will recharge all three of their health.
The three characters will also have a particular skill that will improve the player’s exploration skill with more skills available as they advance.
As I said earlier, there is quite a bit of city building where players will be able to help residents open new shops and buildings.
New Neveah will serve as a base where players can purchase and upgrade items, accept quest requests, and even use the Inn to receive buffs.
Combat is at the forefront in Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising, where players will control three very different characters.
CJ can perform quick combos, Garoo is strong and can block while Isha has bullet magic.
Characters can be changed on the fly at any time and players can perform a link combo after getting a critical hit.
From the start the combat mechanics are very simplistic, but as players progress they will have access to new weapons that will add extra skills and abilities to each character.
This greatly enhances the combat experience by allowing things to stay fresh and engage players.
My only problem with this is that it takes a while to move forward and players will only have access to useful skills much later than expected.
There is a large amount of enemies that all present different challenges, which is great as it will force players to constantly switch between characters while learning their own set of moves, rather than sticking to one.
Boss battles are fickle with the former ending too easily, but they improve dramatically as players progress into the later stages of the game.
Players will also be able to revisit the bosses, but they do not improve to match the player’s progress.
The RPG aspect of the game is what you would expect, with each character able to improve their stats by leveling up by earning experience points by defeating enemies and completing missions.
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is a fascinating introduction to the Eiyuden Chronicle, with a wonderful storyline and a fantastic set of opening characters.
The game itself can feel very boring and prolonged at times with its long starting game and lack of mission variety.
But once things get going, it becomes a fun action RPG with a great deal of content to keep players engaged for a long time.
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is now available on Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X and Series S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 5