Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes – Game Review


Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes

(available for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X, S, One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Xbox Series X version used for review)

Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes has been the long-awaited successor to Suikoden, created now by new studio; Rabbit and Bear Studio, which does have some Suikoden staff working on it.

Suikoden is a rather obscure but well-loved RPG, and if you’re familiar with that game, you’ll be familiar with this one. Unlike most RPGs, it involves recruiting a lot of characters, you’re going to be doing a battle system with 6 characters at a time, and you’ll have to keep an eye on the sequence because you enter your commands before they happen- so you have to pick all of your character’s actions ahead of time, creating another layer of strategy.

If you like a good turn-based RPG but you haven’t played Suikoden, this one will probably still be a good starting point for you, because it doesn’t change up too much from other RPGs. What you might not like is the sheer number of characters you have to recruit. The game’s title is no understatement, Hundred Heroes is correct! You have a total of 120 characters to recruit if you want to- though some will be story-specific, others are completely optional. Though it’s impossible to get all 120 heroes if you don’t put a lot of effort into it. For example, the final hero is only recruitable if you have collected all other 119 heroes in the game. As such, I would say that this is a bit of a guide game, especially if you want to collect all of the heroes- though I’ll get into that later.

As for its RPG mechanics, if you’re worried about managing that- don’t. You can only improve a character’s current weapons, you don’t have to buy a ton of weapons, and armour and shield upgrades are handed out pretty liberally. You can also choose to only level up certain characters. If some characters are required for story elements but you don’t want to use them in battle because they’re not up to a certain level or you like your current combination, you can put them in what is known as Attendant Slots, they don’t level up but they are still there for story missions, which I thought was a pretty good mechanic.

With all that being said, you’re not going to be using every single character in combat. Some of their work is in multiple faculties,  but you’ll also get support characters, who can aid you in certain ways, such as giving you a strength booster mid-battle, or letting you swap out party members at save points, something you can’t do unless you visit an Inn, in normal gameplay. I don’t think the game does a very good job explaining that Inns are, also save points when I initially played the game.

You’ll also want to recruit characters to run facilities at the home base, for example, Kurt doesn’t go onto the battlefield, but he does run the cooking facility, and he unlocks one of the mini games (I’ve got a bit to say about the mini games, too).

But how does the whole package hold up? Overall, really well, with a few bumps along the way.

PROS

  • Graphics

This game looks amazing. It uses a lot of 3D backdrops with 2D character sprites to give the classic feel with a modern twist. For the record, while I did finish the game on the Xbox Series X, I did play the first chapter on the PC since I had heard that the PC version did have slightly better imagery, and I’ll agree with that- the game does look best on PC and has the best framerate.

If you have a good PC, in terms of imagery and frame rate, that’s the version I’d recommend- but the Xbox version has a pretty consistent frame rate and looks pretty good too. I’m aware the Switch version has pretty significant frame rate issues, so I won’t recommend that, which is a massive shame because there are a lot of classic RPG fans who use the Switch and would love this.

The wide variety of environments also do well together, for example, there is a sand-sailing segment, some brilliant ice caves, and while the characters are 2D sprites, they all look like they fit in with the world design and don’t really stick out too much.

  • Combat Gameplay

There are really three kinds of combat in this game- and there’s one I’m not so hot on which is the dual combat where you have to decide whether you want to attack or counter, based on what the opponents dialogue is. They’re quite good from a narrative standpoint, but I didn’t like the trial-and-error aspect of it.

The classic RPG combat is fantastic. I really enjoyed the level of strategy that they added to this, and it works fantastically. I loved having to pick character’s positions based on their type of weaponry, and picking out the combos was really interesting, because some of the characters’ have what’s known as hero combos- meaning that if you can charge up their SP, you can pair them up for even more powerful combos.

Annoyingly, the game doesn’t exactly tell you what they are, and on a couple of occasions they will force certain party members together to teach you said combos. For example, when you get together with the party that made up the prequel game that was released as part of the Kickstarter campaign, those characters will have a hero combination between them.

That being said, there is another form of combat. You are recruiting all of these heroes, but those are for big battles. These feel like they have a little bit more strategy, but you won’t see until later the ability to swap out commanders that have different abilities- most of them are rather fixed over what units are going to be appearing on the big battlefield.

They do actually have pretty good strategy; I will say that the majority of the time they hold out until something interesting happens in the narrative. They also have forced loss battles which I’m not a fan of. Gameplay wise, they’re still very enjoyable.

  • Story

While I don’t think that the storyline is anything extraordinary or reaches the same levels of something like the Octopath Traveller games, I do think that the storyline is, for the most part, very interesting. The only issue I found is that it peaks sort of early on.

The story centres around the main character, Nowa, leading a rebellion against an empire that is slowly conquering other kingdoms. It’s really about three people and their companions that have all been torn apart by what is basically an unjust war.

Other main characters include Seign, from the Empire, and Marisa, who leads the Guardians. There will be a few times that you have to split off their parties, with them taking different characters for their missions. Hence why I think you should probably do a bit of grinding with the characters, so you at least have a few good ones in the back.

The story itself might not be extraordinary, but when you start it out and see Nowa and Seign becoming friends only to be torn apart by the war, you are kind of begging for things to go back to the way they were, it feels unfair that they are torn apart by the conflict.

The one thing that I think this game needed was; I think that the villains needed a more complex motivation. There’s also a side villain in this which isn’t completely explored, but I think they’re being saved for a follow-up game.

MIXED

  • Getting the 120 Heroes

For the most part, the recruitment process is fine. For the purposes of this review, I wanted to get all 120 heroes, and there were a few instances where I was prepared to drop that goal. Some of them are fine, you do a side quest for them, and it’s fine. A character like CJ, for example, works- the only prerequisite for getting her was you had to have two other particular characters in your party. Some require a certain amount of money or having a character in the party with a certain MP level.

Some of them, however, are AWFUL to recruit. Hogan, for example, is the character centred around the trading mini game. You basically have to buy up items and trade them up to get a profit. Doesn’t sound too bad- but after the conversation with him (not prior) you have to make 50 GRAND in profit! It is awful to do, this one nearly made me give up. I had to follow a YouTube guide to solve this one. Basically, you have to transport yourself, buy some items in a particular place, and sell them off when the trade price is good enough. This one can take a long time because you have to wait a while for the prices to get good.

Clarke is another bad one, he’s a playwright, and he needs a particular item to inspire him. Problem is, the item only has a 30% chance of appearing in one shop, and if it’s not there you have to wait 30 minutes of real-world time for it to have another chance of showing up. That one was really annoying.

There are a few characters that are like that, and there’s a large portion of characters that join up by just doing the story, but some of them are just so annoying, and I don’t think I would have been able to figure out what I was doing without a guide. If you’re going for all 120 characters, I really recommend having a guide open at all times. I do think that you want to get all 120 heroes since it’s the way that you’ll get the most out of the game; there are certain points where having all of them is really beneficial. I would recommend getting the fast travel character as soon as possible, she really helps out, big time, and gets through some of my issues that I have with the travel in this game. I do think it was a mistake for the game to hold out on fast travel for as long as they did.

  • Mini Games

The mini games were a large part of the stretch goals on the Kickstarter, and they vary in quality. Fishing, for example, isn’t that interesting, but you only have to do it once for a recruit. The cooking battle mini game, which also has a character locked behind it, isn’t a great one in my opinion, it’s a bit cryptic. The guide I was using actually gave me a cheat I needed- you just do the exact same dishes every time and I ended up winning the whole thing.

There are two mini games which mix the gamut. There’s a spinning game, which is basically Beyblade. This one is quite fun, but you’ll want to start it early on and then finish up later, since you can’t buy new Beyblades, they only come as enemy drops. Again, I really recommend a guide on this one. I did like the mini game, but trying to get all of the Beyblades I needed was a struggle.

The standout is the card mini game! It’s actually really clever and challenges your strategy. To unlock it, you have to be a certain character with certain points and build a card shop at your home base. I’d say to buy a lot of cards because the game is fun! No characters are locked behind beating a certain number of opponents, but one character is locked behind collecting 120 of the cards, so spending a bit of money at the shop is definitely worth it. The game proved to be extremely good fun; I even got the achievement of beating all of the characters at the card game! I might even like it more than the card game in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth.

CONS

  • Bugs

This game has a few bugs, including one that stops you from getting all 120 heroes. I don’t know if this has been patched out because there were a few patches for the game, but there’s a hero in one of the villages who is a blonde girl in a kimono called Lam. Under any circumstances, don’t speak to her until you get the old man with the spear in your party. If you talk to her before that, there is a bug that prevents you from ever recruiting her. Again, this might have been patched out, but I wouldn’t risk it at this point.

The game did have a few issues on the Xbox version. I am aware that enemy encounters are affected by framerate, and the Xbox Resume feature failed on me repeatedly- including sometimes where it killed all of the sound when I resumed, or it just straight up crashed. As a result, I didn’t put down the game until I got to a save point. Obviously, that feature only affects the Xbox version, but I felt I should put it out there.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I might sound quite mixed on Eiyuden Chronicles, but I actually really liked this game. The battle system is excellent, I liked the various characters you could recruit, I wish they had a different villain, but I still liked the story, and I liked the world design. It’s not perfect, recruiting the heroes was a bit annoying at points, and I do think you need a guide to complete the game properly, but as a whole, I really enjoyed my time with this game.

I didn’t even mention how good the soundtrack is, and it was fantastic! For a Kickstarter game that promised a lot, it certainly delivered. If you’re not into turn-based RPGs, this won’t do anything for you, but if you are, there’s something here.

You can play a shorter campaign and just get the heroes that you want and have a breezier experience, but despite how difficult it is, I do think you get the most of this game by recruiting all of the heroes. Just give it a go!

FINAL SCORE: 9/10

Calvin
Director of Axia ASD Ltd.
Self-proclaimed Nerd Consultant
and Head of Axia’s Film Society.

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The Next Axia10th July 2024
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