Back to Reviews

Review | Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes

"How often do we get spiritual successors of our favourite franchises? For all Suikoden fans out there – Eiyuden is here, and it is truly what we’ve been all waiting for, minus some hiccups here and there."

by Foggy, 20-05-2024,

I remember the day when they’ve announced Eiyuden Chronicle – it was a dream come true. Having an original Suikoden cast on the new project after all these years is more than I've hoped for. The Kickstarted project was funded days after the start (to be more accurate, the initial goal was fulfilled within 4 hours), and the story even got a prequel with the name “Rising” due to the stretch goal.

Unfortunately, Yoshitaka Murayama (the father and the creator of Suikoden I and II, and both Eiyuden games) passed away in February 2024 at the age of 55, leaving this project before he could witness the release day. It’s a sad day for all gamers our there as we all know how much love and care was put into the first two Suikoden games, and how this legacy is important.

Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes is an old-school turn-based JRPG that can be played on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S – from 23.4.2024. The worst port is the Switch one, so you better wait for some patches – otherwise, the game runs solid on other platforms, PS5 being the most-polished and stable platform.

Um... Yeah, welcome! This is Suikoden VI (the closest we will get). Enter the game full of joy and beautiful melodies (too bad the story and plot isn't for a mature audience).

I must admit, I’ve started my journey with high expectations. These expectations were justified partially, but unfortunately, not everything in this game is great. I will talk about all that in this review of course, but I just wanted to say that even though I’m disappointed with some of the game segments – the game is still fun, it brings back the light on some elements that are completely lost in many modern titles.

The biggest lack in terms on quality is the story-writing and the cast of characters. Maybe that is a rough thing to say – and I don’t want to give you the wrong impression, but after such an impactful storytelling in Suikoden games, including a memorable cast, I wanted at least that level of writing. That never happens. The main plot is convoluted with weak plot-twists and villain that never stud out as one. I don’t dislike Noah (the protagonist), nor the characters you meet on your journey – I simply have problems with pacing and the story itself. The reason why villain wants to rule over the country is heard and seen so many times. Additionaly, the events which lead to separation and how Noah just took over the army and built the castle with allies to oppose the other side… It was “ok, I will handle it”. I miss more impactful moments. Maybe the biggest problem is that the game is obviously written for younger audience, it lacks more mature tone. Still, there are some great moments which constantly gives you a reason to continue playing and see the story to its end.

There are certain story moments when you will cherish everything this studio has done. On the other hand, there is much to be improved. The final product is decent, with some flaws and ups and downs.

120 heroes, you got that right! The best thing in Suikoden was when you capture a place which you will call your castle and recruiting 108 stars of destiny. They inhabit the castle, open shops; they make the place dynamic and like home.  All of that is present here (apart from having 120 recruitable allies instead of 108). For me, that was the best part of the game – recruiting people to help you set up the perfect opposition and the plan in the upcoming war of tyranny.

Unfortunately, not many allies will give you a more dynamic story. Most of them fit well in some scenes, but usually they just say their 1 line and that is it. I expected more, you know, since you constantly have a different party, I’ve expected that something will change, but not much really changes. The character development is too shallow, you never get to bond or memorize most of your crew (apart from some awesome allies). I think the characters lack soul and are under-developed. It’s still fun to listen to some of them (and all of them are voiced – wow, that is a huge chunk of voice acting for 120 people). Francesca for example – that girl has a bad mouth!

Overall, solid, but not awesome. Voice acting fills a bit off, but it’s not that bad. I praise the voiced protagonist; I don’t like mute ones.

I've really liked the cast, but I just miss more lore around them and more when it comes to their story-involvement. I never had the feeling that we are raising a comunity to win the war; a whole town basically. I had some laughs though, just not as much as I wanted.

So, story was ok-ish, the characters as well… What about the fight and levelling up, skills etc? Fights are simple for the most of what they are. The runes (called lens here) are the biggest letdown – the magic is in general weak, only near the end of the game when you got stronger characters and better lens you can finally utilize your mages. Even then it feels a bit weak, with MP being the problem as you often run out of it.

You enter a battle with a party of 6 – it works as you’d expect. Map your moves, check the order when you will hit or get hit, confirm.

As you progress (with level up system being that you level more when you’re weak and beat stronger enemies, meaning you can level up fast with your new characters), you unlock more lens slots where you can fit different skills or buffs to your characters. Some characters come with just a few slots, making them completely useless later. There are also armors to equip and weapons to sharpen, but for the most part – that is it! I do like the Auto option for the fights – you can set the strategy per character and use auto-combat when you don’t want to map your moves every turn.

Even though the combat feels simplistic, it’s still fun, especially during boss fights (they even come with gimmick type of option where you can use terrain to your advantage).

I miss the challenge, but using different allies during the journey made this part cool. Hero attacks (combined attacks when you have certain party members at the same time) feels underwhelming though – the animations are cool, but that is it. Maybe the battles lack special effects, but I don't mind that, I mind the lack of challenge.

There is much to combine when you have such a huge rooster of allies, and 6 allies per battle. It's rather simplistic to its core, but still, it's fun to setup different strategies using different heroes, which comes with different skills...

When it comes to technical performance and QOL features, don’t expect much. PS5 version is great, I had 0 problems, but the Switch still struggles with loading times and stability (plus constant crashes).

The graphics are awesome, I love the pixeled art style in retro games like this one. I loved the scenery during battles depending where the fight is initiated. The soundtrack is… The soundtrack of the year! Melodies that come with this game are what upgrades the experience by almost 1 level. I can’t remember when I’ve heard such a wonderful soundtrack last time. Awesome stuff!

QOL – this is what drove most of the reviewers to the negative side of the writing. You can’t save where you want (only via save points), you can’t teleport freely (fast travel is unlocked later), you can’t easily switch party members, you can’t easily change equipment, there are random encounters, you need to exit dungeons to use fast travel… I don’t really mind for all of that, but if you want that and can’t live without such features – just give it some time until they patch things up a bit.

I can’t really praise the locations or dungeons in the game for the same reasons – they are a bit outdated and very linear. Still, exploration and world map were a plus on my list because I miss unique landscapes and I dislike the open world with huge empty locations. Here, everything is art. There is nothing close to generated dungeons, everything here is unique in terms of variety.

Enjoy while upgrading the settlement that will prove to be just that pinch of resistance leading light in this world.

The side content is probably the worst part, I never completed everything there is, the cooking killed my will, I just couldn’t go on with other mini games in the game. They feel a bit grindy. When something is not fun, it doens't make a lot of sense to do it. 

I hope we will get a sequel, and I sure hope they will fix all of what I’ve mentioned, plus think about the tone of the game.

This game is fun, and even though I had some major complaints, it still holds its own. The duels and strategic battles are awesome (but I wanted more, and for them to be more challenging, maybe even with the death factor like in Suikoden games). Even with everything said, I still wanted to play, and I’ve enjoyed my 70h with this retro gem. Don’t expect much but expect a retro turn-based JRPG that will put a smile on your face with bringing all we’ve all forgotten in this genre – a soul and a hope for more turn-based games to come.

"A wonderful retro experience that comes close to Suikoden quality but lacks in all comparable segments. With one of the best soundtracks of this year, do not let this one pass you (if you want that recipe of old-school PS1 JRPGs)."
Leave a comment
Please Log in to leave a comment

No comments available!