Title: Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising
Developer: Natsume Atari
Release Date: May 10, 2022
Reviewed On: PC
Publisher: 505 Games
Genre: Action RPG
As a huge fan of the Suikoden series, I was very excited to hear about Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes. After the successful Kickstarter, Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising was revealed as a 2D action game set before the events of Hundred Heroes. Interestingly, this game is not in the same genre as the spiritual successor to Suikoden, but after playing it, I feel like this was a great design decision. However, the slow opening may hinder this overall decent action game.
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising introduces us to CJ, an aspiring “honorable” adventurer with the goal of exploring Runebarrows and finding treasure. However, she quickly finds out that obtaining an Adventure’s License requires her to assist the townspeople of New Nevaeh and collect stamps. So naturally, the townspeople will ask for something, and you adventurer out to find it.
The opening is pretty linear as you move from quest to quest, delivering items to those who requested them. After a few stamps, you’ll get the license, and the real adventure begins. The opening is almost straightforward to a fault. The introduced systems make it seem like you’re on rails through the adventure unlocking little by little in a linear fashion.
For most of the game, this is true. Your main goal is helping the town while on a quest for a rare and powerful Lens, but the two seem to be completed simultaneously. In true Suikoden fashion, you’re tasked with building up the town with every type of shop you can imagine. After about 5 hours, you’ll have a thriving village and a firm understanding of the game’s systems.
However, getting to the good parts of gameplay can be long-winded. You’re stuck with a very basic moveset that evolves with upgrades. The crafting system is heavily leaned on since there isn’t a dedicated Skill Tree, so the shops simply level up after a specific quest is completed. Then, you’ll purchase the stronger weapon or armor and have the option to upgrade the base stats with further funds and materials.
There’s a lot of back and forth in this adventure, making it imperative that you utilize the fast travel options. However, you’ll slowly come to dread the slowness of your character running across town to deliver some stones for a stamp. The entire experience is a glorified fetch quest, but luckily, it’s organized relatively well with hints and markers to let you know the quest items.
There are over 140 Stamps to be collected, so don’t expect every mission to be a fun ride. Some have you talk to a person in town, and that’s it. Others will require some items from a dungeon. It’s a tried and true gameplay loop that you’ll probably gloss over because we’re all used to it by now.
Once in a dungeon, you can fight enemies and collect materials. Over time, you’ll gain access to new areas thanks to weapon upgrades and rune magic. Backtracking is the name of the game here, and it’s encouraged with re-matchable boss battles and materials required to upgrade and craft items.
During exploration, there are three characters to switch between CJ, Garoo, and Isha. CJ will likely be your primary explorer and attacker, but each character can be switched to based on your preference. Enemies may require a specific character skill to defeat, but it’s all rather straightforward.
Fighting becomes more intricate in the later hours of gameplay as you expend your move set. Further, you can add Link Combos to your attack, which allows you to switch to your other party members and cause massive damage. The fighting is responsive, but the gameplay can feel floaty while you get used to the mechanics.
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising was developed on a budget, but you would be hard-pressed to tell given the beautiful environments. It makes re-visiting them not so bad since with gorgeous background and foreground animations across unique dungeons. Things become even more extravagant once you get into the Runebarrows, but that takes some time to unlock.
The best element of Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is its writing. The main quest is really well written as it establishes this world divided by traditionalists and those seeking to expand. The story of CJ is of significance as we learn more about where she’s come from and her goals. On the other hand, Isha must do everything in her power to be a great mayor and win the respect of the citizens.
Some of the weaker moments of gameplay can be found in its difficulty. Bosses can be exceptionally under-leveled if you decide to level grind and use item buffs. There’s even the option to one-cycle them using the Link Combo. Still, they’re fun, but upon future visits, I would have liked the option to rematch instead of the fight just starting.
Towards the conclusion, Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising comes together with a well-constructed battle system as the quests act as markers for your progress. There’s very little depth in the design, though, and I’d say this game can be picked up and enjoyed by anyone, no matter their understanding of the genre. In addition, there are further accessibility options available to make the battles even easier.
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising should be played if you plan on diving into Hundred Heroes next year. Luckily, it’s a straightforward adventure through some beautiful environments and a well-crafted narrative. Furthermore, the very low price of admission for such a charming game made me enjoy it even more, given how far the developers were able to push the presentation. So, in case there was doubt, Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising definitely rose to the occasion.
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