Game Reviews PC

Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes Review – To Me My Heroes

Thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, a spiritual successor to a classic Japanese Role Playing Game (JRPG) called Suikoden, we’re blessed with Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes. I have had the pleasure of playing many of the Suikoden games, and I will say that the developers Rabbit and Bear Studios didn’t disappoint me. However, suppose you’ve never played or even heard of Suikoden. In that case, I believe that Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, accommodates new players with its simple-to-grasp combat and a story, that’s emotional and sprawling and, absolutely worth your time.

Our story is beset in a land called Allraan, with the Galdean Empire led by a conniving king called Dux Alric. Whose purpose is to capture the Rune Lenses (powerful magic things) to harness their power for evil. The player is in control of Nowa, a member of a band of generous mercenaries. Nowa gets wrapped in Dux Alric’s evil plans and decides he needs to put a stop to it. To overthrow Dux Alric’s plans, Nowa must travel around Allraan creating an opposing army of powerful heroes, which from what I can tell is actually over 100 heroes.

Nowa sets off on his first adventure.

For me, this game is a clone of the original Final Fantasy 7 in many ways. There are places as blocky bits on a condensed 3D map, which you’ll run between as a titan-sized Nowa avatar to give off the impression you’re covering great distances. As the main story unfolds, it steers you to new places with quest markers, so you’ve always had somewhere to travel. For the most part, exploration sees you progress through regions of Allraan, where you’ll bounce between bustling towns filled with Chinese-inspired architecture, cutesy ice villages, and Shi’arc-infested desert oases.

A huge difference from the FFVII game is that Hundred Heroes pairs 2D-pixel art characters with more detailed 3D backgrounds, and fantastic camera angles bring out the best of both. Now as the story in all RPG games goes, the pattern is the same. Nowa will visit some towns, get involved in that region’s story, and then inevitably find yourself traveling to a dungeon. Here you either navigate some corridors to get from A to B, or you navigate some corridors with bonus puzzling. Hooray!

You are introduced to the puzzles very early in the game. From looping paths in a forest, till you find a way to make it stop the endless cycle. In dungeons, where you’ve got to activate glyphs in certain orders to clear paths or find keys to open colored doors, which at times can be very tedious. I found their combination of empty corridors and traditionalist puzzles a little lacking, thankfully I was interrupted by constant random encounters.

The fighting heads-up is very easy to follow along with.

Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes is meant to be an old school: you’ve got to save at specific points (there’s an autosave feature, although it’s infrequent enough to make me distrustful); you’re forever dragged into fights wherever you go. As an avid JRPG player, I didn’t mind and enjoyed the interrupted void to battle new threats. I prefer random fights for a chance at more gold and loot, than just oh there is a fight I can go around it and continue to the next assignment.

When it comes to the combat itself in the game, there’s a fairly in-depth party behavior system. It allows the player to decide how each of the heroes will act when they engage in an “Auto” battle. You can tell them to only heal, fight cautiously, use a team-up move, and loads more. It’s incredibly versatile. Fights are turn-based, with a bar filled with both friendly and enemy portraits letting you know who’s next. At the start of your turn, you cycle through your party of six and select each of their moves one by one. Click “Finish” and combat commences, with everyone doing their thing; rinse and repeat. It’s clear and easy to grasp, with added strategy in how you position your party members. Three members go at the front, while three go behind them (one extra exists as a support buff that doesn’t fight), so it’s crucial you pop burly lads at the front, for example, while squishier rangers or spellcasters can do their thing from a relatively safe distance.

Being you can only play with the Six fighters, combat is switched up a bit by changing your roster. On your journey across Allraan, you’ll recruit lots of pals, mainly by exploring areas until you bump into a more colorful character model than everyone else around. Some don’t take much persuading, while others demand you fight them or fetch them things. It’s endlessly exciting when you add someone new and rejig your optimal setup. For instance, I have a particular fondness for a female healer, who is very outspoken to people, and as she levels, she is capable of raging, which turns her from a healbot to a battle priest.

Need to change up your team formation, we have a screen for that.

Climactic story moments are often determined by a different sort of turn-based battle that also encompasses your heroes, albeit in a way that’s not all that clear. Things go a bit Fire Emblem in War, a mode set on a grid where you try and anticipate your opponent’s moves by positioning your leader chips in advantageous spots. Once the turn begins, the camera zooms in on an automated battle where you see dinky troops swipe halberds and tussle with fireballs. It’s unclear because despite being able to switch battalion leaders to confer benefits to your soldiers, there’s very little info on how your various other heroes truly contribute to the fight as it’s happening. I find I just kind of move some pieces and the battle resolves itself, or it goes a certain way because the story predetermined it.

Off the battlefield, Heroes find a home in their Castle, which exists as a center point for your army, and a settlement you invest in throughout the game. It’s an enormous thing, a bit like Yakuza’s Dondoko Island, that could have its separate mini-review. But I will say that it’s a lovely place to see your pals get together, an easy way to harvest resources more reliably later on, home to fun minigames (cooking, racing, Beyblade), and its development acts as an embodiment of your progress.

My cooking should have been all 5’s I must do better to become the best.

Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes has some old-school habits, and they can be difficult to live with at first, but once you settle into those quirks, it’s a story you’ll struggle to put down. The sense of journey is magnificent, as you march across snowy valleys, lush jungles, and dusty deserts, sweeping up buds along the way. And you regularly partake in moments that’ll genuinely surprise, forever keeping your quest from getting stale. Expect one-on-one fights, cinematic songs, and races of some description. If you’re a fan of Suikoden, it’s a no-brainer. And if you’re a fan of JRPGs or struggle a bit with old-fashioned things, I’d still urge you to give it a shot. I am enjoying it immensely.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

This review was written based on a PC review code for Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes provided by 505 Games.

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