While we wait for the highly anticipated Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, we got a sneak peek at their spinoff game that sets in the same world but in a different kind of experience.
Rabbit and Bear Studios are cooking up a spiritual successor to the classic Suikoden series with Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Hero, and with the large support from the fans along with a successful Kickstarter campaign, it is finally taking shape. But while we wait for its proper release, they also announced a spinoff game called Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising that offers completely different gameplay. 505 Games has invited us to try the preview version of Rising and you can finally see our impressions right here.
Please do take note that the preview version of Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising only features the first two dungeons and a small portion of the opening part of the story, so expect the final version to have changed once it arrives later this year.
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is a side-scrolling action RPG that takes place in the events before the Hundred Heroes’ story, you get to play as CJ; a young scavenger who starts off her adventure in finding the rarest treasures, after some encounter, you head on to the small town called New Neveah to kickstart the adventure. You’ll be able to recruit other characters during the preview such as the mercenary-turned-adventurer Garoo and the acting mayor Aisha
Rising mixes the 2D and 3D aesthetics well that makes them feel more natural, the backgrounds feature a lot of details and ambiance that make them feel more alive, especially in dungeons that give them that added eerie atmosphere as you explore the area. 2D sprites are well-drawn though some of the main characters’ animations seem limited it’s possible that it was intentional since this is after all a preview build.
The combat gameplay in Rising gets its influence from side-scroll RPGs from the likes of Valkyrie Profile and Indivisible where each attack button corresponds to a specific character and allows you to chain combos with different characters at the right time to execute Link Attacks that deals massive damage and staggers enemies. What differentiates Rising from its inspirations is that it happens in real-time instead of the standard turn-based format, but from the simplistic control scheme (it also features an easier Simple mode for the control setup where you only have one attack input and a switch command to toggle to other characters), it’s easy to get used to the gameplay. Another inspiration comes from Metroidvania games in exploring dungeons where you will encounter inaccessible areas that require special items and skills as you progress further in the game. Each character has their unique skills that can be executed with the right trigger (R2) button, from CJ’s dash action to Garoo’s blocking command that will be helping in dealing with some sticky situations in your battles. Carrying consumables is limited to a few slots, healing potions and other stat enhancing items don’t stack and will occupy each slot per item, this encourages players to plan on which consumable they should bring in certain dungeons, as your life will not replenish even after returning to town, you either consume food at the tavern, take a bath at the Inn or rest at your apartment.
Later you can harvest materials during your dungeon runs by acquiring specific tools, instead of using tools to acquire raw materials, you just attack any destructible objects such as trees, ore and crystal deposits to harvest them. However, you only have limited carrying capacity when gathering materials, which will prompt you to return to town to move all your loot to the storehouse, it is unsure if you can upgrade your carrying limit in the full version, but it can be troublesome when farming for crafting materials as you venture deeper in dungeons.
Judging from the initial setup in the preview version, New Neveah will be your go-to hub for your treasure hunting, and that means you will be developing the town for it to grow. Early in the game, you will be accepting quests to open new shops that allow you to sell your wares, upgrade weapons and armors, or eat at the tavern to restore life and earn stat boosts. You take on quests to progress to the story along with the usual offerings of side quests, completing some side quests requires multiple returns to dungeons, as some of them can unlock new areas for players to venture deeper to acquire more materials or experience points. The neat quality of life that was implemented was fast travel, it allows moving to different areas in the town without the hassle of navigating around different sections. This also works when traveling to dungeon entrances, though fast traveling around dungeons requires accessing waypoints.
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising maybe a spinoff game, but it shows some promises to have heavy content to keep players occupied and prepares them with additional lore and story background. The preview may only show some tidbits of the full game but the initial gameplay that I experienced, already makes me excited about what more content the full version has to offer that could add more depth to the gameplay and other possible surprises that are waiting for us.
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising will be available on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch and PC later this year.