Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising began life as a Kickstarter goal for the Suikoden spiritual sequel Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes. Launching as somewhat of a taster of the world, let’s dive into this Metroidvania-style adventure and see if it’s a chronicle worth experiencing.
Let Me Spin You A Yarn
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising stars treasure hunter CJ. She’s a feisty young girl who aims to plunge into a cave full of goodies hoping to find the big one and save her village.
The mayor of a recently destroyed village that houses said cave imposes a licensing scheme on all would-be Treasure Hunters. CJ, unfortunately, doesn’t have the money upfront to afford this.
Fortunately, the other option is to fill out a handy stamp card where any assistance you offer the citizens of this mess of a village is rewarded with a stamp. Fill up the card and you’re given a license.
This is the basis for your time in Eiyuden Chronicles: Rising. Through aiding the people, you’ll meet the other characters. This includes Garoo the bounty hunter and badass Kangaroo. Later on, you’ll also meet another playable character who I won’t spoil.
The story here is almost glacial in how slow it moves and small in scope it is. This continues until the final hours of the game when it starts to branch out with the promise of it linking into greater things.
Instead, you’re given a glimpse at the world-building and smaller character developments. While charming, it does make me question how much this title will eventually land with Eiyuden Chronicles: Hundred Heroes.
What’s an Adventure without Exploration?
As mentioned, the gameplay in Eiyuden Chronicles: Rising is that of the “Metroidvania ” genre. It’s a 2D Action Platformer with a heavy reliance on exploration, backtracking, and the odd bit of puzzle-solving.
The combat here is quite basic and painfully you are unable to cancel moves so it has an awkward clunky feeling to it. It does improve a little later on with more characters giving it a somewhat “combo” based approach, but it’s a far cry from titles such as Indivisible.
You’ll mostly hammer the attack button then press the other attack button at the right time to continue your combo as Garoo and the third character. It doesn’t provide much more depth than that and while it’s no worse than the genre standard, the lack of move canceling does hold it back somewhat.
Exploration is mostly hampered by the story. Rather than naturally holding you back with a lack of abilities, it brings you to a halt with dialogue suggesting you shouldn’t go to that area yet.
A Main Meal Made of Sides
The bulk of the game is made up of the 100+ side quests to earn stamps. These usually involve you finding X amount of items or fighting certain enemies in an area.
While nothing to write home about, a lot of the abilities and equipment you need to get through the game are tied to the side quest progression. As you help build the village back up, you will gain access to blacksmiths and other quest necessities.
This begs the question, is it a side quest when progression at points is locked behind them? I’d say no, but they tend to hold as much water as a thimble in terms of content. It’s hard to call them anything but that.
While you can knock off a few side quests in a row such as an item gathering, some side quests lock areas. This means that you can stray too far and they often require you to go backward and forwards to the village. Once again, this hampers the overall pace of the game.
Disjointed and Disappointed
There is a main hub area where you accept quests, chat to the residents and upgrade abilities and equipment, and the usual. Outside of that, the actual exploration stages are broken up by paths from the village making the world feel a little more disjointed than other titles such as Metroid Dread or the like.
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is around 12 hours and change if you want to knock off most stuff – A little more should you want to 100% the title. It’s a decent amount of time but feels so painfully padded out. So much that I honestly didn’t enjoy the title until the very latter part of the game. It felt more like a chore and blocking the exploration in such a jarring way kills the allure of exploration at the expense of fulfilling a narrative that isn’t that engaging anyway.
Not All That Glitters Is Gold
In terms of presentation Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising does a fantastic job of painting an interesting world steeped in fantasy tropes. One that evokes the very spirit of the 16-Bit golden years of JRPGs.
The lighting and use of colors bring the world to life and the distinctive areas such as the forest you start in, the ever-growing village, and the other lands around really make you curious about how the world will pan out in Eiyuden Chronicles: Hundred Heroes.
The character models have a really strange, almost puppet-like animation quality to them which never sat well with me. It’s very similar to the latest Ghosts N Goblins Resurrection or if you’re as old as I am, Angela Anaconda!
The music ranges from beautifully crafted pieces to the irritating hub noises that assault your ears far too often due to repeat visits. Considering that’s the song you hear the most, it’s surprising that the best of the music was not brought out here.
It’s hard to say that Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising isn’t worth the small asking price of £12.99 when it feels more like an indie Metroidvania than a taster of what’s to come in Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising – at least from a world-building aspect.
On the other hand, I just didn’t find too much of the game enjoyable. It mostly boils down to inane tasks held together with weak combat and shallow exploration, along with very light city-building aspects.
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising manages to land firmly as a middle-of-the-road title for me. While not a horrible game by any standard, it just did nothing to convert me to its cause. Unless you’re extremely hyped for the main event, it might be worth picking up on a sale out of curiosity at best.
WAIT FOR SALE ON EIYUDEN CHRONICLE: RISING
Many thanks go to 505 Games for a Nintendo Switch review code for this title.
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