Review: Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes

Estimated read time 5 min read

Developer – Rabbit & Bear Studios

Publisher – 505 Games

Platforms – PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series S|X, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 (reviewed)

Review copy given by publisher

In the realm of video games, particularly within the genre of JRPGs there emerges every so often a title that perfectly captures the essence of nostalgia. Right now, this is none other than the highly anticipated Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, a spiritual successor to the original Suikoden games. Developed by Rabbit and Bear Studios, founded by the late Yoshitaka Murayama, who worked on the original Suikoden titles, this beautiful 2.5D pixel art experience pays loving homage to Murayama’s legacy.

The story unfolds in the diverse world of Allraan, a land woven together by a rich tapestry of nations, each with its unique culture and values. You are thrust into a war-torn world where the use of magical objects known as rune-lenses has shaped the history through alliances and aggressions among humans, beastmen, elves, and desert people. The central narrative revolves around the Galdean Empire’s quest to amplify the rune-lenses’ magic and their search for an artifact that will expand their power even further.

At the heart of the game is the interaction between two characters: Seign Kesling, a talented imperial officer, and Nowa, a boy from a remote village. Their friendship and the subsequent twist of fate that leads them into the fires of war serve as a catalyst for your journey through the game’s overarching plot. 

The world is filled with secret nooks and crannies that reward you for exploration. There is an overworld map that you traverse on, which can trigger random battle encounters. Combat is turn-based and played out with 6 party members, 3 in the front and 3 in the back. Each character is either short, medium, or long range, so how you place your characters matters. You can refer to the turn order timeline to see when each party member goes and when enemies attack. Party planning is crucial here, especially considering the game’s overall difficulty. 

For starters, auto-saving is not reliable, so be sure to save at save points. However, save points do not heal you or allow you to change parties or runes as you need to go back to town to do that. You can probably already imagine how gruesome some of the dungeons can be if you are ill-prepared. Then there’s no fast forwarding in battle but there is an auto-battle functionality. You also can’t skip battle animations so you’ll be seeing the same attacks over and over. The game is not easy as it contains some difficult puzzles and incredibly challenging combat encounters. Get ready to grind and farm up for your characters. 

From the above, you can probably deduce that there are no modern quality of life features. Heck, there’s no fast travel until a dozen hours or so into the game. At its very core, Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes remains a JRPG experience from the PS2-era, and that isn’t inherently a bad thing. Just know what type of game you are getting yourself into.

What’s cool is that the game boasts over 100 playable characters, each with their own backstory and abilities, who you can recruit and lead through the game’s challenges. This vast array of characters is reminiscent of the “108 Stars of Destiny” from the Suikoden series, but this game expands this number even further to 120 characters, adding depth and variety to your army. You’ll see this come into play in the game’s war mode which features large scale battles. You command and control troops by raising morale to lead your team to victory.

After a few hours into the game, you’ll unlock the castle, which is an entirely different gameplay mechanic. It’s a town building and management system that has you build up funds and upgrade parts of your castle. It’s pretty neat that you get to grow your economy and see the town flourish through developing functions and gathering resources. A nice change of pace if I must say so myself.

Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes features a visual style that combines beautifully rendered 3D backgrounds with sprite-based characters, creating a visually stunning and immersive experience. Voice acting is available in both English and Japanese, both of which are excellent. This is also not to mention the game’s flawless performance on PlayStation 5. It takes a mere 1 second to load in with frame rates that hover in the mid 50s. Unfortunately there are no accessibility settings but you can make the difficulty harder by forcing double mana consumption, disabling escapes, and enabling hyperinflation.

Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes is a remarkable addition to the JRPG genre that serves as a bridge between the past and the present, offering a game that is both familiar and innovative. If you’re a fan of the genre or the old Suikoden games, then this game is a journey worth taking, filled with adventure, strategy, and a story that captures the imagination, but just know that it stakes its roots a little too much in nostalgia.

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