Eiyuden Chronicle Hundred Heroes Review: A Classic JRPG All the Way

Written by Chad

April 22, 2024

After a long wait, the highly anticipated Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes is finally released to multiple platforms. A tribute to the classic JRPGs from the original team behind the Suikoden series, Eiyuden Chronicle aims to recapture the things that made the classic genre memorable to the modern audience.

 

 

As someone who loves the JRPG genre from classic to modern, I had this worry that developer Rabbit & Bear Studios might have overpromised a lot of features from their Kickstarter campaign, and they might have played it safe when it comes to providing a whole new experience for fans of the Suikoden and even classic JRPGs. Though the development team assured that Hundred Heroes is more of a tribute to the classic genre instead of trying to revolutionize it for modern audiences, it’s something that fans can appreciate and newcomers have a chance to experience what makes the genre memorable.

Although I never played much of the early Suikoden titles, I’m still excited about the chance to try the game and discover what made the classic franchise become legendary to fans and see how the team will move forward in the future.

 

Production (4 out of 5)

The setting in the game is quite familiar and screams a lot of influence from Suikoden. A large conflict from the Empire brought the main protagonists Nowa and Seign into a tight situation where they must fight against one another for the sake of their respective nations, while the third character Marissa will also be dragged into the conflict despite having a different purpose. The story is well-paced it gives enough development for the main characters to see their agendas and how they intertwine with each other on how they can face the conflict, such as with Nowa with his big responsibility as commander of the Alliance on how he can unite the nations to fend off against the Empire.

 

 

The game goes for the 2D character sprites and full 3D environments still worked well in showing a rich world of Hundred Heroes, even the dungeons and forests have a distinct feel to them. The lighting effect on the characters provides that high-definition feel as well as having a depth of field, however, there are some minor graphical issues such as a blur effect on the surroundings around your character that can be noticeable in some areas when you move around. The over a hundred characters that you will recruit have distinct appearances that make them easy to recognize, from shark men to samurai to dwarves with bazookas, they are eye candy when you form them for your party.

 

 

The soundtrack offers a hint of nostalgia thanks to composers Motoi Sakuraba and Michiko Naruke, who both are known for creating music for JRPGs from Wild Arms to Star Ocean to the Tales of Series. Their battle music is very catchy with its use of flute instruments that you won’t get tired of hearing over and over. The characters are voiced in either English or Japanese and both have good performances that you can’t go wrong on which language you choose for your playthrough.

 

 

The only thing I didn’t like in terms of presentation is the main menu layout, which followed the designs from Open World or modern games where you use your trigger buttons the navigate different tabs. I would still go with the classic list layout from older JRPGs where you pick an option with your directional button to save time, no need to cycle through each tab just to reach the Equipment or Party menu where each tab still needs to load up for a second before you can move to the next one. Speaking of layout, dialogue windows for NPCs tend to close or proceed to the next page of dialogue whenever you press a button, instead of the usual revealing the entire dialogue when you press a button. There’s no option to change the speed of the scrolling text for dialogues either, which is annoying when you must wait for the entire dialogue line to complete.

 

Mechanics (5 out of 5)

 

 

Going for the turn-based combat formula, you have a 6-man party that has front and rear placements that add another layer of strategy on how you can have a well-composed team. You will be able to determine your plan of attack with a graph above the screen displaying which units will be performing their actions in each turn. You have your standard attack and defend with certain characters having different effects when defending, you earn SP each turn that you can accumulate to perform skill attacks or spend your magic points or MP to cast magic spells, and you can perform Hero Combos if you have specific characters that can perform together with another character for a devastating team attack. There is a bug on the PC version that reduces the encounter rate by a significant amount if you have a high refresh rate monitor and the game is set at 60 fps, this is an annoying issue as there are instances where you don’t encounter any monsters in a dungeon unless you try to run around in one area for a couple of minutes and can make succeeding battles difficult unless you invest more time than the usual to level your party with a lower encounter rate. The developers were aware of the bug and will be doing a fix which hopefully make it on Day 1.

 

 

The game offers an interesting take on the system. You have a non-combatant support character to bring to your party that offers special perks from double the money earned to special attack buffs to extra SP at the start of battle, this can become handy when grinding for materials or levels for your characters, you can think of it as another accessory slot but as a character. Another is the Attendant slot where you can bring up to three characters that are a requirement to bring on a story quest, but you do not want to use them during battles without sacrificing the slots for the main party, the catch here is that they can’t earn any experience. The features weren’t that groundbreaking but it’s something that improves the quality of life when battling, and with a hundred characters to choose for your party, there’s a chance that you already have an optimal team prepared that you don’t want to be dismantled.

 

 

The fun part of battles is the ones involving fighting against bosses. Each boss has a special mechanic or gimmick that can give you an advantage, these instances can be from hiding on a wall to activating a trap to deal massive damage or stunning them and cancel their incoming attack. There are even situations where it becomes by chance that if you execute it correctly, it makes the battle less difficult. But for those that are up to the challenge, they can ignore the mechanics and fight the bosses normally, so these gimmicks are not mandatory but are nice additions if you choose to utilize them.

 

 

Now speaking of characters, the main feature of Eiyuden Chronicle Hundred Heroes is of course recruiting a ton of characters for your army, so it’s always going to be a gotta catch ‘em all in this game. You will be able to recruit new characters as you progress through the story, with some joining your team automatically, but the fun ones require some searching and completing their tasks. Some characters may have some requirements such as completing their fetch quests or joining them in a side quest to defeat a boss or some may require another character to be in your party. This makes collecting much fun as you try to find all possible clues and return to previous dungeons and towns for a possible encounter with the new character, it’s like doing a treasure hunt but with people. Each character plays differently, may it be a different stat build or having a unique skill they can only possess, so every time you acquire a new character, you will eventually try to update your party lineup to see if it works, it would’ve been a nice addition to have a party preset option available so you can save a specific lineup that you like for later use without the hassle of reconfiguring the entire party all over. And with a ton of characters to collect, the game does not have a tracker to list down which characters are you currently recruiting and to remind you what objectives are needed to accomplish, there will be instances where you are recruiting multiple characters and there’s a chance you might forget you are completing a requirement for a certain character that can waste so much time backtracking. It doesn’t need to give any hints on the objectives but rather have a reminder on which objectives you need to accomplish.

 

 

There’s a level of customization for your characters, you can equip runes that can add new skills, provide passive abilities, or enhance the stats. Specific characters can equip a certain amount and specific runes to things balanced and still encourage you to experiment with different party compositions. You can perform auto battles and you can adjust the behavior of your party members on how they act during a battle. It feels like a lite version of the gambit system where you can adjust the conditions on when they can perform skills or heal at a certain percentage or perform attacks without spending any MP. But the system is far from perfect as some characters don’t respond properly where one character would just defend the whole time despite having offensive skills as its high priority.

 

Content (4.0 out of 5)

 

 

Having a hundred characters for your army requires a base of operations, and you have a fortress to manage. Base management in the game allows you to unlock structures that can aid you in your playthrough, from item storage to equipment upgrades, it will become your go-to place in restocking your supplies and resting. You will be able to encounter recruitable characters as you upgrade your base. Upgrading your base works in a grid-like function that unlocks more nodes whenever you complete an upgrade, with some requiring materials that you find in dungeons, while some require a certain character to be recruited. Seeing your base develop is very fulfilling not just in appearance but also makes battles easier and managing it gets you hooked in investing more time on it, which also encourages you to recruit all the characters to unlock more features for your base.

 

 

There is also a war simulation mode in key parts of the story where you battle with an army. You issue a command per turn on where your platoons move or activate platoon skills that can buff your army or perform special skills like moving to an adjacent zone instantly, any enemy army approaching your platform, or your army engaging a nearby enemy will initiate a battle. All battles will run automatically, and you can trigger special abilities when the meter fills up after dealing or receiving damage. Most of the sequences in this simulation are all automated yet there’s no option to speed up the battle or skip the cutscenes to make the skirmish short, which can be tedious if you retry the same skirmish. It’s a fun feature but gets tiring after a couple of battles since you have little control over the battles.

 

 

Eiyuden Chronicle has a ton of minigames that are simple to play, which are either fun or annoying. Some of the minigames are automated and rely on the stats and rarity of the gear you’ve used. Some of the fun games that I enjoyed were the card game, sand racing, and even fishing, despite just pressing a button when a fish grabs your lure kind of thing since these games offer more interaction than the rest of the minigames available. Though not one of my favorites, Beigoma is a funny take on top battle games, but given a Pokemon and Beyblade level of treatment, just like in any top battles, you have less involvement in combat. These minigames can be fun to take a break from all the battles and you still get rewarded for performing well, but some felt like they were only added just for the sake of having more minigames than something that any involvement with the narrative.

 

Feature (4.0 out of 5)

 

 

There are quite a few options for customizing the game, the lack of text scroll speed and battle speed can make some sequences and battles longer and tiring. You also cannot save on the overworld, which is bizarre to not have that feature in a JRPG. These are more quality-of-life problems and I think they can add this as a new feature through a patch update.

Completing the game will unlock the New Game+ that lets you choose to retain all the recruited characters, gear and level or start a new one, though there was no mention if there any secret dungeons or bosses that you can tackle on NG+ so there’s no real purpose to start a new game again.

DLCs for the game were already planned with 3 character story chapters expected to become available in the future. If you played the Eiyuden Chronicle Rising game on the same platform, you will be prompted to receive special items and cosmetics when you start Hundred Heroes for the first time.

Some major bugs can hinder your play experience aside from the encounter rate bug mentioned earlier. There is one issue that prevents you from recruiting a character if you interact with it without bringing a specific character to your party, and the only way to fix the bug is by loading a save file that puts you back in the time when you haven’t interacted with that character. It’s not a game-breaking bug, but it still prevents you from completing the entire roster on your playthrough.

 

Conclusion

 

 

Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes despite the bugs and lack of quality of life improvements, still managed to achieve their goal of bringing a nostalgic JRPG that is a great game to play whether you’re a fan of the Suikoden series or RPGs. It maintains the simplicity of the old times with a turn-based battle system, along with game features that have depth such as the base management and the thrill of collecting with over a hundred characters to recruit.

It’s very hard not to compare the game with the Suikoden franchise as the developers were also involved with the franchise, though it saddens me that this is Yoshitaka Murayama’s final game, it’s safe to say that its legacy will continue. It doesn’t need to be reinvented to make it unique right now, as there are a ton of similarities that mirror other early Suikoden titles, but what matters for Hundred Heroes is to remind everyone what makes the classic franchise memorable to the fans and a great opportunity to introduce a new game to newer audiences.

 

 

Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes gets a score of 4 out of 5

The review was played on the Steam version and it is also available on PlayStation, Xbox consoles and Nintendo Switch

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