Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes

Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes

The spiritual successor to the Suikoden series is finally here, and we're happy to report that the magic is still there.

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There are few games I have ever looked forward to as much as Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes. Suikoden II is in my opinion the best game ever made and when it was announced that a bunch of old developers of the series would make a spiritual sequel, I got all warm inside. It was like Christmas, especially since Konami seems to have completely forgotten the series exists.

Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes
There are many memorable characters. My favourite is the land shark Yuferius.

And there was no doubt at all where the inspiration came from when I first sat down to enjoy the journey. A journey that was a bit of a slow start for its own sake, which had more to do with me personally than the quality of the game. The start is slow and it takes about eight hours before anything interesting actually happens. During this time I started to find little things that I didn't like, mostly because I always compared it to Suikoden II. Once I let go of that thought and took the game for what it is, a game of its own, it became a very nice journey instead.

Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes
The battles are in classic JRPG style.
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Nowa, a young boy from a small village (what else?), has just arrived at The Watch, a small group similar to a militia. It's not long before he becomes a key figure in trying to save the world, in a very Japanese role-playing game-like fashion. If you've played the side game Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising, the characters from which appear here too, the basis of the conflict in Hundred Heroes will not be entirely unfamiliar. It's about Rune Lenses, things that give people magic-like properties. And when the League of Nations, which is a collection of good nations, stumbles upon a very powerful rune, called the Primal Lens, The Empire (as all the bad guys are called) sees its chance to steal it. This, of course, leads to a war, despite the fact that the two sides recently shook hands on a peace treaty. The war begins with some foul play by the game's antagonist, Dux Aldric, who is a copy of Luca Blight from Suikoden II. Unfortunately, one of the few problems I have with Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes is that Aldric is nowhere near as evil as I think the developers wanted him to be. While Luca Blight is burning cities, making the inhabitants mimic pigs to live, and then chopping them down, Aldric does all his terrible things off-screen. He does really, really bad things, but we never get to see them, which takes away from the sense that this is supposed to be a big, strong, dangerous maniac.

Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes
Unfortunately, the game's bad guy isn't bad enough. All the bad stuff happens off-screen.

The war is in full swing and Nowa has somehow become the leader of the entire alliance whose base is now an abandoned fortress. To compare again with Suikoden II, this is the place that you will build up yourself with upgrades by recruiting folk from miners to a cook to someone who sells weapons. These people are what the game's title Hundred Heroes implies. It's a crazy number of characters, all with different personalities and voice recorded dialogue, and some are recruited and can be used in battles while others are recruited to help the city grow. On top of the well-written story, finding all the different characters in the world is almost addictive. Unlike the game I always use as a reference, there is no time pressure on when different characters can meet. Some do show up at later times, but they then stay there until you've done what they want before packing a bag for the fortress. They may need anything from bringing them certain materials, beating them in a fight, or having a certain character in your group. Then there are others that are very hard to figure out, some of which I'm still struggling with today.

Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes
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Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred HeroesEiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes
The base is not a five-star hotel, but with a few upgrades, it will become more lively and beautiful.

Once you've chosen your six favourite characters, plus a support that gives you various bonuses, you head into battles that are classic role-playing. The usual attacks and defences are there, of course, but there are also two different types of magic. One is the aforementioned runes, which characters are either born with or get hammered into their weapons or accessories. These are magical attacks that cost different amounts of SP, and if the character does not use this particular type of attack, the meter fills up one step to a maximum of five allowing you to use better ones. Then there are characters who actually use regular magic as well, and therefore there is also MP, which these attacks cost a certain amount of.

The difference with regular turn-based games is that you have to choose all actions at once before the whole round of actions is played out. This means you have to be extra tactical. The turn order is shown at the top of the screen, so if you need to restore health before the next enemy attack, you need to cast either magic or healing on someone who is earlier in the turn order than the enemy. Similarly, you can also just attack and then use a slow healer to make everyone feel better after an enemy attack, if you're sure everyone will survive. I wouldn't say the game is hard on the normal difficulty, at least I've never seen the game over screen, but one or more of my characters have died in battles multiple times before, mostly since they usually can't survive multiple hits in the same round.

Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred HeroesEiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes
Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred HeroesEiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes
There are plenty of mini-games, of course.

What strikes me most when playing Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes is how much love and material the developers Rabbit & Bear Studios have for this game. It all started as a Kickstarter campaign, which crushed all of its goals. They have chosen to have 60,000 recorded lines of dialogue, including all recruitable characters, as well as non-playable characters in various scenes. There is a very strong soundtrack and a look that suits this type of game perfectly, as well as several mini-games, such as fishing, card games, Beyblade (by another name), and chef duels (a personal favourite). Plus there are different types of battles, such as large-scale wars on battlefields where units are moved around on a grid pattern, and even duels where the two choices are to attack or counter an attack. For duels, you have to pay attention to the dialogue, as if an opponent says: "Now you will die!" you have to defend yourself, otherwise your health will disappear faster than you can say the game's title.

Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes
There are also other types of combat, such as on large battlefields.

This is undoubtedly a game for a niche group of players, but if you have Game Pass, give it a chance because it's actually included from day one. For all of us who loved games like Suikoden, Breath of Fire, Chrono Trigger, and other similar games from the mid-90s, I think you will enjoy this game very much, as it's a reminder of a bygone era in role-playing history. I doubt any game will be able to match Suikoden II for me, but with Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, Rabbit & Bear Studios has made a very good attempt, especially for the studio's first game. The most tragic thing is how one of these founders, Yoshitaka Murayama, passed away just two months ago without seeing his dream of releasing this game come true. I'm sure he was very proud of this game, and he had every right to be. He helped write and produce a fantastic title.

09 Gamereactor UK
9 / 10
Strong characters. Lots of well-recorded dialogue. Music is great. Interesting story. Base building and recruitment can be massively engaging.
Somewhat weak antagonist.
overall score
is our network score. What's yours? The network score is the average of every country's score

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