Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes Review – A Love Letter To JRPG Fans

Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes is probably one of the most ambitious titles that I have seen in a long while. It attempts to bring back the nostalgic days of RPGs, with the creators of the original Suikoden series, a very popular title on the PS1 wanting to create an experience that would be new, while still going back to the bygone era. So, the question remains: does this title rise above the other myriad RPGs that attempt to fill in the shoes of a legacy series, or does it fall flat?

A World Crafted from Beauty

The thing that sets Eiyuden apart from other series that I have played is the way that the art plays with the 2.5D aesthetic. The camera when in a town or dungeon is in a set perspective, meaning players will have little to no control over what they see. This allows the game to play with perspective in a way that feels engaging.

In most areas, players will notice that a blur effect will be placed upon objects in the distance, having them slowly come into focus as players approach. These small details add a lot to the aspect of discovery as an item would frequently catch my attention from the periphery of my vision inviting me to come closer to see what it is.

This would have me start seeing where each road actually led to for a chance to fight new enemies and maybe find a new ally that I never would have expected.

Come With Me if You Want To Fight

True to the title of Hundred Heroes there are a lot of playable characters littered around the world for players to recruit. Some of which will come from the prequel title Eiyuden Chroncle: Rising. However, players need not fear as playing this title isn’t necessary and will instead just give background information about some of the characters but nothing that would ruin the experience for those who skipped out this prolouge game.

Players will start with Nowa, the newest recruit in the watch, Gar, the captain of the Watch, and Lian, another new recruit, to freely put onto their team. It isn’t long before it is stated that new recruits will need to be added to bolster the ranks of the Watch.

This aspect can be a bit of a mixed bag, the actual recruitment of the characters is fine, and involves anything between a simple conversation to have them join, to a small quest that ends with a boss fight. The issue is that with so many characters there is little interaction between the recruitable characters in cutscenes.

The reason for this is simple enough. It would be too hard to track which members could be part of the team at any given moment to have interactions happen. So, it ends up looking a bit weird once Nowa becomes the face of the party and the other characters just sort of hang around behind him, especially when that character has been shown to be particularly loud in past interactions.

This doesn’t break any immediate immersion but makes some of the characters feel like after you have recruited them, that’s it they’re now done. Which can be sad to see as some of the characters have such an interesting personality that having more interactions outside of combat would have been great.

The Flow of Combat

Speaking of combat, it mostly feels good and responsive. Players will choose the actions of each character while the top will show the order which attacks will be dealt. So a lot of the strategy comes from knowing who will strike when to plan out healing and damage abilities.

This at first can feel strange as in the beginning, a character might have a particularly bad turn and get ambushed by the enemy team before anyone has a chance to go. This makes the characters feel a little frail at first until a few equipment upgrades and level ups makes it easy to blow past an area.

In fact, in the first dungeon, I felt I was overleveled after 30 minutes of exploration, as enemies were starting to die after a few basic attacks. This is where the best modernization of the turn based system comes into play: the auto button.

This system, of course, isn’t new and has been in plenty of RPG series before and in fact Suikoden has had this exact system. The auto battle will simply have characters use abilities and normal attacks when they become available. Saving me from having to simply mash the confirm button when enemies I would easily squash would appear.

However, this doesn’t make battle progress any faster, only saving players time by not having them select skills for each character. A fast forward or rush feature would have been nice to save more time when a random battle would appear that I didn’t need to supervise the combat of. It’s not a big deal but since Auto Battle is here another small time saving feature would have been appreciated.

Isn’t There a Better Gimmick?

An interesting feature of Eiyuden Chronicles: Hundred Heroes’ combat that makes each boss feel different is the introduction of Gimmicks. These are a part of the fight that is specific to this boss. These range from having certain characters hide from a particularly nasty attack, to summoning a giant hammer of Love and Justice to knock the boss down a peg.

These gimmicks will require the character activating the gimmick to use their entire turn, meaning they can’t attack for the turn. This can be interesting as some gimmicks should be used every turn and others have a perfect moment that they need to be used on. It’s a small addition but it helps to keep each boss from feeling like a DPS check to kill them before your healers run out of Magic Points.

Build a New Home

The final bit of gameplay that Eiyuden offers is the ability to build up a town. The process is simple if not sometimes confusing, while players are exploring dungeons and the fields there are gathering points that can be found. These points will give resources like stone, ore and food which can then be used to build up the town or be sold.

The selling mechanic isn’t really brought up but selling these resources is important to build up town funds to further build out the town. However, when first introduced to the system it isn’t really explained how to gather funds and instead relies on the player exploring Watch HQ for the tiny shop that deals with the resources.

However, this system is interesting and relies on players recruiting more people to fill out certain facilities in the town to more reliably gather these resources passively. It also directly ties into the main story with gameplay features rather than just having an NPC tell you that the town is being built up slowly.

I Would Rather Play on the Go

This is a bit of a personal passion for me but I don’t always have access to the TV so I can play. This has made the choice to purchase the Playstation Portal a good one for me. This device is of course simply a streaming device that utilizes the remote play feature from my PlayStation console. So, how does Eiyuden Chronicle play while using the Remote Play feature on the PlayStation Portal?

My experience with it has been mostly positive, there isn’t much to any serious reaction timings where a delay will feel noticeable and instead being able to lay down with this game and still earn trophies has been nice.

So, is this version preferable to any other ways to play this game handheld. Well yes with a strong internet and a PS5 hooked up to an Ethernet Connection this experience has been better than using my steam deck for some titles. However, for those without those conditions a more traditional handheld experience would be better. Either way, Eiyuden is a perfect example of a game that can take advantage of the remote play feature with minimal chance of having it destroy the experience of the title.

So, Should You Buy?

Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes feels like a nostalgic blast from the past without feeling like it’s tethered to an age most would rather see gone for good. There is enough modernization with the use of 2.5D showing off the limits of what Pixel Art can do for a title. 

There is a bit holding it back mostly the fact that after characters are recruited they can feel like a cardboard cutout standing around as Nowa makes all the decisions for the party. However, there is a lot here for fans of classic RPGs and those curious to see how us old timers used to play games.

Joys

  • Auto-battle makes the more repetitive random battles faster
  • Gorgeous visuals that enhance the 2D Pixel Art
  • Creative Boss Battles with Gimmicks that make each boss feel varied

Cons

  • Random Battles can be too numerous at times
  • Easy to over level from just exploring a single dungeon

Eiyuden: Hundred Heroes

8
Great

A return to classic RPGs while modernizing the most important aspects, ensuring that both old and new fans of the Genre will be able to enjoy the title to the fullest.

Estelle Mejia