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Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes Review

Ben Chard
21, Apr, 2024, 15:00 GMT
Reviewed On Steam


  • Beautiful graphical style blends classic pixel characters with modern CG environments
  • Fantastic voice work
  • Developing the HQ is engaging


  • Simplistic plot
  • Some frame rate issues
  • Slow to start, but gains momentum
  • Sluggish menu system

Final Verdict

Read Final Verdict

The Suikoden franchise launched back in December 1995 and immediately captured fans’ hearts with its endearing characters, politically-charged storytelling, focus on different regions (much like Falcom series The Legend of Heroes) and - perhaps its most unique selling point - the ability to recruit a huge 108 characters to your cause. This lofty number was not taken at random, as it reflects the 108 Stars of Destiny featured in the legendary Chinese text The Water Margin.

Unfortunately, due to publisher Konami’s absence from the video game market in recent years, the 2006 release of Suikoden V on the PlayStation 2 is the last time we’ve seen a mainline game in this beloved adventure franchise. Fortunately for fans, Suikoden creator Yoshitaka Murayama kept the flame alive, announcing a Kickstarter in July 2020 for a similarly themed successor of sorts, Eidyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes. This crowdfunding campaign was a huge success and would go on to meet its goals in just four hours.

Following the initial campaign, every stretch goal was met, which would result in the creation of a companion game in Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising as well as future DLC. It’s clear that the world was ready for a new entry in the Suikoden series, even if it’s to be under the guise of a new name. Sadly, Murayama himself would pass in February of this year, though we can take heart that his desire to see this project come to fruition was fulfilled.

And so, our tale begins. A tale of three heroes on a path to stop a ruthless empire hellbent on taking over the continent. It’s time to raise the resistance!

Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes sees protagonists Nowa and Seign on opposing forces!

The story centers on Nowa, a new recruit of the Watch, a local militia for The League of Nations. The League is an Alliance comprised of smaller nations on the continent, shared between the power-hungry Imperial Empire. In the spirit of cooperation, the League and the Empire have agreed to a joint venture into the local Runebarrows. These mysterious ruins house the secrets of the Rune-Lenses, artifacts that let their wielder use magic, among all other manner of everyday conveniences.

Joining Nowa on this expedition is fellow protagonist Seign Kesling, the young heir to one of the Empire’s most prestigious houses and his retinue. What they discover during their excavation of the Runebarrow will go on to stoke the flames of war, an event that will see both Nowa and Seign forced onto opposing sides as battles rages across the continent - all parties in the pursuit of the secrets of the mysterious and powerful Primal Rune-Lens!

The story starts promisingly enough, and fans of Suikoden II may be excused into thinking that the storyline between Nowa and Seign echoes that of classic fan favorites Riou and Jowy. But unfortunately, after this promising start, the narrative takes a very different turn, relegating Seign as Nowa captures more of the limelight as the central protagonist. Indeed,an additional protagonist, Marisa, is given even less focus than the others which is a bit of a letdown, especially after how the Suikoden series is renowned for smartly handling multiple protagonists.

There are no deeper meanings or philosophical takes to be had in Eiyuden Chronicle. For better or worse, it’s your typical Good vs. Evil tale. If you were to compare it to a title in the Suikoden series, it’s probably closest to the original game. The chief antagonist, Dux Aldric, has some similarities to fan favorite Luca Blight and his personality boosted by an excellent vocal performance. Every scene with Dux is always interesting and fun to watch.

(1 of 2) There is a huge cast of characters to recruit for your army

There is a huge cast of characters to recruit for your army (left), The environments are quite beautiful at times (right)

Where Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes shines, however, is with some of the more personal moments between its huge cast of characters. While Nowa himself may be very “by-the-numbers”, the rest of the cast involved in the story play off each other well, earning a sense of history between some of them. You’ll even have some of your optional recruits playing bit parts in some scenes, which affords them a little more character. This is a strong feature as there’s such a large cast that every player will have their own focus on their personal favorite side characters.

Eiyuden Chronicle, after all, is all about the characters - with a staggering 120 companions to recruit during the course of your adventure. Not all of these are optional, with 46 recruited automatically over the course of the story, leaving plenty for the player to track down themselves. What’s more, there are also variations in the story itself if you manage to recruit everyone available, adding even more incentive.

Characters are assigned one of three roles when recruited, Battle, Support, or Other. If they’re assigned a Battle role, that means you can use them in combat, freely changing their equipment, Rune-Lens, and tactics. Support characters can only be assigned to a singular Support slot in your party, where they offer buffs and other services - such as being able to change your party at a save point. There are some great abilities here so it’s a shame that there’s only one slot to make use of them. Finally, recruits that are not in either of these two classes make up the Other class, which is usually reserved for characters that perform roles at your Headquarters.

While the sheer number of characters available can be daunting to manage, a massive bonus in battle EXP is awarded should your squad be at a significantly lower level than the enemies in a given area. This makes it much easier to experiment with more characters as it doesn’t take long to catch them up to your mainstays. Unfortunately, this does contribute to a balance problem in the late game once you unlock a facility filled with battles intended for end-game. Should you manage to win the first round in this area, you’ll be awarded a huge EXP drop that will cause your army to massively out-level the final areas of the story.

(1 of 2) War battles make a return from Suikoden

War battles make a return from Suikoden (left), Boss battles often have gimmicks you can make use of (right)

Battles themselves are played out with a party of six, (three in the front and three in the rear), while enemies themselves can be in one of two rows. Each battle character has a range on their weapon, be it Short, Medium, or Long, and where you place them in your formation impacts what row of enemies you can hit. As a general rule, most recruits that have Short range usually have higher defense, making them a much better fit for the front row. You can also equip shields to give them Armor, ranging from “D” (lowest) to “S” (highest). This stat will cause them to take less damage from attacks until broken with “blunt damage” attacks.

Outside of this, each character can use their “Rune-Lens” which play almost the same role as Runes from Suikoden. As a character levels up, they’ll unlock more Rune Slots but usually, they come in the form of a max rarity and type. These are Skill (attacking-based skills), Magic (elemental magic that can attack, buff, or heal), Enhancement (raises your attributes), and Passive (powerful Rune-Lens that can make a huge difference). This is where a character’s unique skills and abilities come in handy, it’s no good having a mage that cannot cast spells, after all.

The final option available to you in battles is the Hero Combos, special unite attacks that involve two or more characters. These are a mixed bunch, as the cost to use the majority of them is not worth taking up the turn of more than one recruit. There are many Hero Combos to choose from and they can make a difference in the heat of battle.

While on the subject of battles, both the War strategy encounters and Duels make a return from Suikoden, and although Wars have changed a fair bit, Duels are almost the same. If you’re a fan of Suikoden, you’ll know what to expect when it comes to Duels but the game unfortunately fails to tell newer players how they work fully. Wars, on the other hand, feel a bit underbaked as we never truly felt like we were in danger of losing one. More often or not, most objectives require you to make the enemy commander flee, rather than outright win. Still, both of these different types of battles will occur a few times throughout the story and are a welcome distraction from the central campaign.

Rabbit & Bear studios have made no secret about how Eiyuden Chronicle is influenced by the classic JRPGs of yore and it’s especially true of the opening stages of the adventure. It takes a good 10 hours to gain its momentum, but once you get control of your Headquarters, gameplay starts to open up a little more. If you’re a fan of tinkering around with bases, developing new facilities, and unlocking minigames, you’ll be right at home here. The HQ feature is arguably my favorite element of the whole game.

Dungeons have puzzles you need to solve in order to explore further

There are various levels to your HQ, each requiring rare materials that are gated behind the main story, and with each upgrade, you’ll unlock the possibility for more features beyond just the look of the castle and town. For example, you’ll be able to build your very own Trade House, with armor, items, rune-lens, and appraisal shops for you to use. There is a catch, however, as not only will you need the required materials and HQ funds, but also need to recruit the character that will run the facility. The Blueprint menu is great for seeing all of this at a glance and I found a lot of fun in seeking out the characters and materials to build my HQ.

The HQ is also where you will have access to the majority of Eiyuden Chronicle’s minigames, of which there are plenty to contend for your time. There is a card game with over 120 cards to collect. There is also Beigoma - a Beyblade-like minigame that sees you compete against other players using spinning tops. You’ll be able to breed and race Eggfoots, take part in cooking battles to take down a syndicate, and even take the stage to act out plays from scripts you find. There are plenty of entertaining activities to take up your time when not on the battlefield. What’s more, the vast majority of them often result in supplying you with new recruits, offering further incentive.

Visually, Eiyuden Chronicle is a great-looking game. Its chosen style - blending 2D pixelated characters with 3DCG environments - looks great, and both the level design and the environments themselves are impressive. Unfortunately, once it all starts moving, there were times when we noticed frame drops, especially in the latter stages of the adventure, but it was never truly bad enough to dissuade us from playing further. We also ran into a bug at the time of writing that caused a character to become unrecruitable, but 505 Games has noted that this should be fixed by launch day.

The sound design is exceptional. The entire cast delivers a fantastic performance, which truly elevates the personality and chemistry between the huge cast of characters. As mentioned above, I was a big fan of villain Dux Aldrich, with a performance that made every scene engaging. Emotional melodies playing during important story beats, engaging battle music that fires you up for difficult encounters, and the HQ theme changing as the stakes raise, the music never overstayed its welcome.

There are lots of minigames to get stuck into, such as Beyblade-alike Beigoma

It took us around 60 hours to complete the adventure while recruiting all but two characters (due to the aforementioned bug). If you were to focus on the main story alone, this could be achieved in 40 hours but completionists and those with an eye for explorations will get many more hours ot of this adventure. In addition, a lot of the minigames have depth and longevity to them, while the Hero’s Trials offer an end-game challenge much akin to a boss rush.

Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes may not live up to the lofty highs of some of its more iconic Suikoden brethren, but it’s a great first step into establishing a new world, as well as a welcome return to this style after it being absent for so long. Some sluggishness in menus and battle, along with a by-the-numbers good vs evil story let it down, unfortunately, but I still wanted to see the tale through to the end.

This review is based on a pre-release build of the game provided by the publisher.

Final Verdict

Vive la Résistance

Eiyuden Chronicle is a fantastic first entry from Rabbit & Bear Studios , recalling its iconic Suikoden origins. While the by-the-numbers plot prevents it from achieving true greatness, a strong cast of characters and exciting base-building mechanics make this a must-play for classic RPG fans.









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Ben has been working at Gamer Guides since 2018. Prior to Gamer Guides, he worked at Piggyback Interactive Ltd for four years working on paperback official strategy guides.
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