Nearly 2 years ago, Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes blasted through its Kickstarter stretch goals, making it the third most successful game on the crowdfunding site. One of its stretch goals was a companion game in partnership with Natsume Atari, now entitled Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising.
Not to be confused with each other, Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is an action RPG set in the same world as the turn-based RPG Hundred Heroes that offers a rich and exciting glimpse into the epic scope and complexity of the Eiyuden gaming world. There’s a big possibility that many may gloss over it because it isn’t the “Suikoden Spiritual Successor” they were expecting, but it would be a mistake to do so.
Despite being just a companion game, Rising is anything but, and it feels just as fleshed out and polished as some games out there. Following a 28-minute gameplay debut last week, we got to try out a preview build of the upcoming game and we have nothing but good things to say about it.
Eiyuden Chronicle: Town Builder
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is basically a side-scrolling action RPG that plays like one of those classic beat-em-ups from the NES / SNES era. You move around the world in a straight line, no background or foreground, with a simple one-button attack / jump / skill layout that can easily be picked up by anyone. If fact, I can easily compare this to a “recent” PS4 release, Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir, but with a slower pace and much simpler controls and combo mechanics.
The build we got to play let us preview 2 boss encounters and 2 levels but enough to show how the main flow of the game will basically work, which is quite straightforward. The core loop of the game is to take on quests from the villagers, gather materials from various dungeons, and turn them in to start rebuilding the town of New Naveah. You collect “Stamps” for each quest you finish, signifying the amount of help you’ve provided the town in its rebuilding efforts.
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising will feature 3 characters, but in the preview build we only got to play with 2 – CJ and Garoo. Each character has their own attacks and timings that give them distinct differences. Garoo is slow but packs a punch with his heavy sword while CJ makes quick attacks with her pickaxes. Isha, as seen from the gameplay reveal up top, is the resident spellcaster of the group.
Time attacks properly and you can combo them with each party member, leading to a link attack that deals more damage than usual. The timing is generally loose, and at times it’ll feel like you’re just button mashing, so you can choose to change settings in the options menu to something that offers a bit more control. In general, movement around the dungeon feels a bit slower than we’d like, so it would have been great if there was a run or dash button thrown in there for good measure.
Topping this off is Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising’s use of fantastic visuals and nostalgic audio, making it feel like you were playing a memorable old-school RPG. This really gives the game a great feel to it that will surely be appreciated by fans of the genre, with fantastic character designs and crisp visual effects that are satisfying to see in action.
Eiyuden Chronicle: Fetch Quest Simulator
The story is pretty simple as well, at least from what we saw, where CJ stumbles upon the town of New Naveah to complete her family’s rite of passage and scrounge up some treasure, consequently going on errands to help the town in its rebuilding efforts which are done through fetch quests that ask you to basically gather certain materials in exchange for a reward.
When it all comes down to, Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is a fetch quest-filled game with a very linear progression system that opens up more areas and branching paths in the dungeons the further you get in the game. Characters don’t have skill trees nor do they have complex equipment settings so the experience is very old-school in this sense.
Apart from building the town structure by structure, the bigger reward is that Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising opens up new exploration possibilities as you level up and acquire new equipment and upgrades. For example, building the armor shop will allow you to upgrade your armor set, unlocking the air-stepping (double jump) ability for CJ that lets you reach previously unexplorable places.
This entices repeat entries into dungeons that you’ve already explored, uncovering more secrets and enemies (and resources!) that you’ll need to finish up more quests. As mentioned earlier, the core loop of the game is rather simple and straightforward but is kept fun by the lighthearted conversations between CJ and the different personalities involved.
Overall, although this is just a companion app, it bears saying that the amount of detail that the developers have poured into this gives us hope for what Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes will look like when it is released. The team clearly has the talent to create Suikoden’s spiritual successor and Rising has pretty much sold us on the promise, making it a game that you should put on your watch list in case you haven’t yet.
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising will launch in Spring 2022 for the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Switch, and PC.