When Suikoden came out on the PSX it wasn’t a massive hit, but over time it became a major cult classic. With several games to its name, it was praised for its camera in combat, and its storytelling at the time. However, the last game was released on the PS2 back in 2006. Since then fans wondered if we ever would get another. That’s where our Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising review comes in.
Acting as a prequel to one of the most successful Kickstarter games of all time, Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, it has a lot to live up to. Coming from the original creators of Suikoden it has a lot to live up to. However, rising was made by another team while the main team prepares for the release of Hundred Heroes. So does Rising live up to the expectations or does it fall short? Keep reading to find out in our Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising review.
WARNING, there will be light Spoilers ahead. So read at your own risk.
This setup for the story is a rather basic one. A common tale of adventure following our young heroine, CJ, a member of a clan of scavengers on her rite of passage quest. Along her journey to the town of New Neveah, a hotspot of treasure activity, she meets a man-beast named Hogan under attack by some bandits.
After quickly dispatching the villainous cretins, she speaks with Hogan, who is also on his way to New Neveah. After a short journey and introduction, we get introduced to the acting mayor, Isha. She is a young girl leading the town in her missing father’s stead.
Here we are told if we want to get into the Barrows to go hunting for rune-lenses, a treasure quite rare, we would have to help the denizens of the town and get them to stamp our card for an adventurers license.
And that is the entire setup for the game. While simple it does slowly grow, as more things get uncovered the deeper into dungeons you go. But the story itself seems rather run-of-the-mill. Now that’s not to say it’s not great, but it could have so much more to draw in. Now where the game really shines is in the writing between characters, because there is A LOT of them. From NPCs, you will speak to and help often and the party themselves.
And there is definitely a sense of mystery to the story, but it takes a while to get going. Fans of JRPGs may be used to the slow burn and cannot wait to uncover things hours into a game. But for newer fans or those not accustomed to slow burns, the story needs to grab from the get-go; and that’s where I feel that Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising struggles. While I did get progressively more interested and found myself laughing at the personality of the characters. It does take a while sometimes more than a few hours to really pick up. And for those who want to be grabbed early on this may not keep them long enough.
The visuals in Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising are absolutely awesome. For a game that embraces that classic pixelated style of visuals with beautifully rendered backgrounds. The thing that makes the art stand out is the fact that the characters are very expressive even with their 64-bit style.
Alongside this having caricatures of all the NPCs having very lively faces and using emojis help to add to the depth of the art. Layer this with realistic lighting, shadows, and particle effects the game simply pops. With the push for hyper-realism in many games, it is refreshing when a game does something different. Having an almost beautiful painted world, expressive non-3D characters and wonderful visuals that draw you in just makes the game stand out.
That is the beauty of games that embrace pixel art and do it well. We have seen this very same style in games like Octopath Traveler where the game has a pixelated style. But its visuals matched with fantastic particle effects and realistic lighting can make it feel very alive.
When it comes to any JRPG-style game music always plays a large part. And in Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising it isn’t any different. The sound design is quite minimalistic but also Wonderfully well done. The sound of each area helps to create an ambiance that matches.
From the lively catchy sound of a bustling little town to the melodic sounds of wind and strings as you journey through a forest. From the hard pounding drums of being deep in the underground Runebarrows to the very calming and soft sounds of being in the snow-covered peaks.
Each sound gives a uniqueness to the region and dungeon, almost making it feel real. That sound of nature has created its own personality in the areas. Mix this with wonderful sounds to match combat, from CJ’s fast swinging axes to Garoo’s powerful crushing greatsword, and Isha’s mystical magical abilities it makes for powerful tones.
Sometimes sound doesn’t need to be over the top, but it definitely needs to set a mood and a feeling and that is a strong point for where Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising shines brightly. While the ambiance stands out greatly for its use of background music, I feel that there could have been a touch more done to combat. While there are some audio cues, they tend to be lost in the myriad of sounds happening in combat between the player and enemy attacks going off. If it wasn’t for some visual clues I’d have missed out on some very important abilities in combat.
I digress this is but a small issue that can be easily overcome. However, the beauty of the soundtrack is still to be enjoyed.
Now, the gameplay is where I feel that for some people Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising will either be a hit or miss. For my Suikoden fans out there this is not the turn-based many of us are used to; and at least in this title, there are only 3 main characters for the party.
First combat plays out in the more common ARPG style we are seeing become more prevalent with a small Metroidvania feel. This is because as you explore a dungeon, there are some areas that you may not be able to access. Either because the player doesn’t have a certain element to break a barrier, or they may not have a certain traversal technique. With the story continuing, you can gain new abilities to be able to explore older areas.
Now the way you gain these new abilities is also vastly different. The game’s core concept focuses on a big part of town building. Introducing new NPCs and shops helps to teach the player about all the mechanics of the game; while also showing the importance of side quests and helping the denizens of New Neveah.
And this is where it can be polarizing for some. As many may not want to invest in the town building and that is understandable. However, doing so is a big hindrance as to upgrade all your equipment you will need to invest in this. And this entails doing the side quests for the denizens to collect stamps. As some of the side quests will be for the shop owners to expand their inventory. This becomes crucial if you end up hitting the upgrade limit for a particular weapon or armor. As well as, buying new weapon upgrades unlocks new abilities and combos, and new armor unlocks traversal.
Build Your Town:
Now for stamps, this is essentially your quest & sidequest counter. And to be honest the sidequests are nothing fancy. They are your run-of-the-mill fetch quests. Go bring this number of materials, which you may already have, and go kill this specific enemy in a dungeon for X reason. Or an NPC needs you to talk to another NPC and deliver an item or talk to another NPC then go back. And that’s it, while it isn’t exciting the character banter did make me laugh as each NPC does show personality. And with completing each request players will receive a stamp on their stamp card. The stamp card also levels up once the play maxes out their card. Players will be able to get special rewards for every 10 stamps they get.
The city building and side quests all tie into the very heavy grind of JRPGs. This will have players going through specific dungeons farming certain materials for upgrades. And unlike other games, there is an “economy” for selling rare loot you find. Initially early on you find out there is a 30 percent tax on good sold in the town as an Explorers tax. But, depending on how far along in the story players are this Jumps up to 60 percent.
This can be hard on players especially since upgrades can become quite expensive, real fast. Now, this does eventually go back down, but it does last for quite some time and can be a hurdle for some as it will make the early grind very long and time-consuming. Can it be rewarding, absolutely, it not only helps your exploration abilities but helps to make combat significantly easier and more manageable and flexible.
Now combat can be fun and absolutely insane, but it can also be clunky. And this is partly due to the need to expand your combat skills by upgrading the town. But also that each character is on their own button. So let’s break that down then.
CJ’s playstyle is that of a fast mobile attacker. Her unique skill is that she can dash forward through enemies to get behind big attacks or back up to give space. She can also be the most mobile when she unlocks her aerial abilities from being able to attack up and down, as well as air dash. She has the fastest and highest combos of the party. Utilizing her to get in and out fast.
Garoo’s playstyle is that of your heavy hitter. Being able to fill your tank role, his wide-reaching greatsword is slower than CJ’s axes. However, he doesn’t have a dodge like CJ. His skill, when unlocked, allows for a parry, of sorts. Mainly he can block and negate all damage during his “parry.” but more importantly he is actually able to return some enemy projectiles. They will be noticeable with arrows around them. If Garoo hits these, he can send them flying back towards the enemy.
Isha is the mage of the team utilizing magic-based attacks. This also gives players the ability to have a long-range attack and not be forced to always be in close quarters. And this helps to play a big part when facing airborne and magic enemies. Her base magic has no elements, but her attacks actually change greatly compared to others with imbuing with an elemental rune lens. As her attacks become that element and change. Such as when she imbues it with earth, she launches heavy boulders, compared to when she uses water, her spells become ice bolts.
Elemental Lens & Link Attacks:
Now on the aspect of rune-lens, they become important later. As you start to not only fight enemies with elemental attributes, but also for unlocking more areas to explore. And taking advantage of elemental weaknesses and resistances becomes a major necessity as time goes on. It will allow you to take down enemies faster.
Mix this with the fact that there is also a team link attack. Where you can actually combo each party member into a heavy-hitting combo, immediately after hitting an enemy. This allows for major mix-ups with combos as each party member has a different attack depending but also, allows the ability to put out high damage fast.
And when you add in more and more combo extensions from upgrades, aerial combat abilities, and charged attacks; this leads to major depth for the combat system. And it is highly experimental between link orders and elements.
With all these systems, there is so much depth to what Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising has to offer when it comes to gameplay. Yes, there will be a grind to really get the most out of it, and for some players, it will feel like a slog. But, when you really get deep into the combat capabilities the game shines greatly. It is just best to take into account there will be a lot and I mean a lot of quick short quests that can feel like time wasters.
Overall my time with Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising was an absolute blast. From the beautiful colors and Pixel art to the deep town building system and combat. The game has so much to offer for fans of the original Suikoden and new fans alike.
Now again this does not have the large party or amount of characters most fans will be used to, but that is coming with Hundred Heroes. This acting as a prequel to set up for that title was a nice surprise. And the fact that this was actually a stretch goal for the original Kickstarter, only adds to the hype of what the actual game will be.
The game is absolutely a blast and I do recommend it for JRPG fans who enjoy that 2D exploration / Metroidvania style feel in an ARPG package. And we hope you enjoyed our Eiyuden: Chronicle review and that it helped you to understand the game more.
You can get Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, On PC through Steam and the game is also available on Day One on Xbox Gamepass. You can also check out other reviews we’ve done in the past.
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