Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is a doozy of a game. On one end, aspects of it are gorgeous while being a relaxing, simple, fun game. Then others make me question, “why was this necessary?” Now, I know many people feel like media has to justify why said media was created, but that’s never been my cup of tea. I don’t even like tea. I believe media can exist because the creator wants to create something. However, Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising feels like it may hinder Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, as it’s supposed to sell you on it. What, with it being its prequel to hold you off on the oh so very long wait of one year.
However, before we rush into the nitty-gritty, let me drop some knowledge on Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising’s creation, information, and what I played it on!
System I Played on: PC (Steam)
How much completed: All Main Missions. 137 out of 160 Side Quests
Hours: 12 Hours
Trophies: 32 out of 50
Memorable Quote: “You Nevaeh shut up…” – Sarita. I love puns such as this in games! Plus, there are so many quotable spots in the game.
Systems: Playstation 4/5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, PC (Epic, Steam, GOG)
Price: $14.99 / €14.99 / £12.99
Rating: T for TEEN
Publisher: 505 Games
Developer: Natsume Atari and R&B
Release Date: May 10th, 2022
More facts! AKA How a Game Was Born
A good note to know about Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising’s history is that it’s a prequel game to the main game, Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, which comes out in 2023. Hundred Heroes had a stupidly successful Kickstarter campaign. Its success makes complete sense when you look at the talent bringing the game to life. Nonetheless, Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising was the final stretch goal for Hundred Heroes, which (as you see) met that goal, and then some. Now, Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising isn’t the same genre as the main title. Instead, it’s supposed to act as a prequel with its own style that’ll invest you into the world. Now, how well does it do that?
One Large Fetch Quest
Okay, so you remember in the last paragraph I said that Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is supposed to help bring the player into the world that we will completely see in next year’s Hundred Heroes? Yeah, well, if that world is anything like this, it’s nothing extraordinary. The world here just doesn’t feel fleshed out or even thought about. We learn things here and there, but absolutely nothing that makes you want to travel there again on your next vacation. Hell, the world could’ve been the back of Denny’s parking lot with a forest, mining, and wilderness area attached. Actually, that sounds more interesting than revisiting this world. If instead of focusing this prequel (I loath to use that word) on one small town and its surrounding, Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising could’ve down a tour of different towns and the problems that each of them face to help engage us in this world.
Towards the end, we are teased about a “huge city” next door and that we need supplies, but we don’t even get to go there. This could’ve easily been a world lore-building moment showing what sets this RPG apart from others and why you even should care. It seems the team wanted to do a prequel that sets up the world, yet at the same time do a small side story that doesn’t show much of the world. Sadly, they weren’t able to mix this cake with all the ingredients. Hell, even having small data drops of the world in the style of notes would’ve helped. But nay, we barely get much world information, and what we do isn’t spectacular.
So the introduction to this world isn’t so hot, check. But, how’s the story? One question.
Does thou like fetch quests?
If you do, great! Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising can be titled Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising and My List of Infitinte Fetch Quests. Okay, is it that bad in spots? Yeah. But on the flip side, the simplicities of the story can be nice; Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising stars CJ, a scavenger (as she says, totally different than a treasure hunter) who hails from a clan of scavengers who, at a young age, leave their household to find a treasure that is even greater than that of their parents. With this goal in mind, she arrives at New Neveah, which has just discovered a runebarrow, the perfect spot to find a bigger Rune-Lense than her father. Along the way, she befriends the townsfolk, with two others joining her on a quest; Isha, the acting town major, and Garoo, an outsider. Although the main quest itself is just a large fetch quest, a sprinkle of danger and evil gets thrown in. But this happens towards the end and never really takes over as the main plot.
Even though the plot is quite simple and nothing to tell your lover about, it really fits the rest of my feelings on Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising. It’s simple. I would’ve loved more stories outside this village and detailing the world more, but it never goes there. Instead, it’s a very focused, simple story; for all the pros and cons. Calling this title a prequel, feels like it hurts Hundred Heroes, as nothing feels like it builds to it. Instead, calling this a side story or companion piece would be a hundred percent correct and a better description.
However, let’s get into one of the best aspects…
I Wish I Had Friends and Neighbors Like This!
Now the world and story did nothing to tickle that itch, but by jolly, Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising character writing is some of the most fun I’ve had in a video game recently. I did plenty of side quests, most boring as hell, but do you want to know what kept me coming back? The characters! As tedious as the side quests felt, I wanted to keep doing them just to read the character interactions; now that’s a damn good compliment!
Not only does each character in Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising feel unique and refreshing, they all have vastly different personalities that play incredibly well off of one another. There were quite a few moments that had me generally laughing out loud. Yet a good character isn’t just defined by their ability to make me laugh, even though that’s a big plus. A good character needs to be well-rounded, with many layers to them, like an onion. Well, Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising’s characters are some pretty damn good onions. Each layer is interesting and tasty to bite into. Even some of the more “minor” characters that are just shop-keeping NPCs have a depth to them and even inner-city conflict. For how simple everything else is, it seems a lot of time was spent with these characters. It makes it feel like the simple plot was on the backburner for this to just be more of a character-driven story, which it excels at.
Honestly, I would even say that the characters of Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising are the highlight. Even with the gameplay being fun and addictive at times, I saw myself logging back on just to catch up with all my buds. I still have a few side quests left, yet the thing is, I want to hop on to see what they’re up to. If this trend of well-written characters follows into Hundred Heroes, that will be a big positive, what with this being one of my favorite cast of video game characters lately. Yes, even better than my beefy chaos-killing boy Jack from Stranger of Paradise.
Wow, What Pretty Backgrounds You Have
There I was, reviewer extraordinaire Jason Jeffords Jr, in my PJs playing. All of a sudden, my wife arrives home, looks into my reviewing room (well, my comic room), and says, “Oh, that has nice graphics!” I turn to my lovely wife, who I care about very much, and say, “Yep.” A riveting scene, right? My life commentary aside. Yes! Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising has some beautiful art, but as with much of this new game, there’s a catch!
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is categorized as a 2.5D game, with its background 3D and the characters and most foreground objects 2D. To get it out of the way: the use of 3D backgrounds is phenomenal. Between the town, forest area, mining location, snowcaps, and volcano, to name a few, I was blown away with how majestic they all look. Each location’s background is highly detailed, making them stand out in amazing ways. As someone who loves snow-covered areas (thanks, Alaska,) I was amazed by the quality of the snowcaps. At times the background looks like a mix of a diorama and 3D art. Much like the fantastically written characters, the 3D background really stands out. Sadly, I can’t say the same for the foreground.
Now, the 2D pixel-esque foregrounds aren’t terrible. However, when you compare them to the gorgeous backgrounds, well, you have a problem. At times the simplistic 2D matched with the insanely detailed 3D fight instead of working as one. Here instead of a PB&J, you have a PB&mayonnaise. What could work together (look at HD-2D Games such as Octopath Traveler or Triangle Strategy) just doesn’t. You end up having a bad mix that makes the foreground stand out in a not so pretty way. Yet, when movement happens, you have the blemishes come to life even worse.
At times the character movements in Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising are stiff or just awkward to look at, especially the walking animations. The only walking animation that doesn’t look like it comes from the Ministry of Silly Walks is Garoo’s, and that’s because he hops, that actually works with this style. However, CJ’s, and even more so, Isha’s walk animation looks stiff and awkward due to the artstyle. During other scenes towards the end (sorry, no spoilers here,) a character has what I’ll call funky “dance” moves with their arms. During these scenes, the animation looks laughable with how stiff they are. Weirdly enough, watching the short trailer for Hundred Heroes, it seems like the animations there aren’t as stiff as in this game. So, here’s to hoping.
A lot of the designs in Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising are great and help the main cast stand out, but they fall into the usual JRPG or even the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure problem. You absolutely know who the enemy stand user is because they have the outfit with five jackets on, twenty zippers, and somehow still have a midriff. It’s the usual over-detailed main characters. Thing is, the characters here are well designed, with them standing out apart from one another, and their outfits absolutely showcasing the personality of their character. But when you compare it to the normal villagers, you see a pattern. And that pattern is how basic everyone not important is. They damn near look the same.
Gameplay Deja Vu All Over Again
Here’s a great tagline; Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising baby’s first action Metroidvania, RPG with easy town-building mechanics! As usual, yes, there are pros and cons. But gameplay-wise, the P’s and C’s are more inconsistent than the other departments, especially with how simple the game can be at times. Plainly put, Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising’s gameplay feels like a simple Metroidvania for cell phones. Why is this? Well, that’s why I’m here. So let’s get into it.
Phone games have the nature to be addictive to keep you coming back over simple to do objectives. For our game here, this is seen in the – at most times – mindless sub-quests. 90% of the time, they are, “Go there, grab this many sticks.” It’s that easy. Then, when you get back to the village, you receive quite a lot. The amount of money and XP you get are generous for sub-quests; I can’t dog them on that. However, damn near all of them feel the same, like dailies you’d find on your phone game. One was so hilariously bad that it saw me walking between two characters who couldn’t find each other, yet they were literally right next each other! The main missions can get the same fetch quests in the same manners, but for these, they do change it up quite often, so it isn’t as bad. Plus, each time you visit a place with a new upgrade to explore more, it is fun as hell.
Quests and missions out of the way, how does the playing of the game feel? Well, that’s another place that feels….off. Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising can be played with in two different ways.
Simple – One button to attack and one button to switch characters with combos happening whenever AI wants.
Action – One button for each character attack with combos to the player’s discretion.
I tried Simple, and it’s great for those that have never played a game such as this and need help. However, I played the majority on Action, which was more enjoyable for me. This method of controlling characters is one of the huge fun factors and, as I noted, one of the so-called “pros” for the simple control/gameplay. Each character corresponding to a face button works amazing and is simple, fun, and smart for this gameplay style and amount of characters. Plus, each character plays differently, with CJ as a speedy rogue, Garoo as a meaty tank, and Isha as a fragile long-range. However, our gameplay problems lie elsewhere now.
The combat is bare-bones, don’t go in expecting it to be like other games in the Metroidvania genre. One of the worse offenders of this is there is no action canceling on enemies. This means I can hack and slash all I want on an enemy, and if they start attacking, there is no way for me to stop their attack, so you need to get out of the way. This makes combat feel off because if an enemy is winding up an attack, I should be able to cancel it by smashing their damned brains in. Nonetheless, it’s not possible. However, there is something even worse. They can absolutely do this to you! And for such simple combat that, for the most part, I blazed right through, there were a few areas where I got ambushed with multiple enemies that would freeze me then just go ham on me like I took their lunch money.
On the notion of me being the creature killer, towards the beginning of Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising, the action is insanely simple because you barely have anything unlocked. Be that as it may, once you do unlock abilities and the such, you legit feel like a god punishing the ants beneath them. As simple as the combat feels, once you get the rhythm, it does get quite addicting and makes you feel stupid and powerful.
I know a lot of this can be taken as a negative, so I want it to be known that even though I may have been sounding like an ass, Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising’s gameplay is mindless fun even though it has its problems. Honestly, once you get the rhythm, it really does become stupidly addicting.
Honey Where Are My Hearing Aids, and How Catchy A Tune!
Do you hear that? That’s the sound of no voice acting. Now, I do write that while wearing a smirk, as that’s not a bad thing. It’s just that in our year of the Lord (Lord Ultraman that is) 2022, I always find it fascinating when games don’t have any, literal zero voice acting. Especially when some super indie or phone games have it, although they aren’t always the best. Cue Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising, which has no voice acting. This is completely subjective, but hell, you’re reading my words, and JRPGs with absolutely no voice acting always kill me. We’re talking about a genre that can sometimes read like a novel. Yes, I graduated from my reading, writing, and math classes. But, if I want to read a shit ton of dialogue I’ll go read a manga, a comic, or a novel!
Now is this lack of voice bad? No! Is it an annoyance to our dear and lovely reviewer? Yes. But that doesn’t dock points (if we’re going off points, that is), but anytime I pick my next game, I love the prior knowledge of knowing this fact. Yet, the worse problem with this is, as I stated earlier, I really liked a lot of the dialogue! The characters are fun and lively, which would’ve had a bigger impact if it had been spoken. But alas, they have no mouth and must scream.
Now I bet you’re asking, “Well, dear and lovely reviewer, does it have music?” Yes. Each area has its own music that stands out. Hell, each area’s music is good enough that if you were to close your eyes and play (no idea why,) you could tell where you were. However, one aspect of the music stands out that was a nice touch. With the stamp side quests system, each time you finish a stamp card, the village gets more lively and changes. However, not only does the visuals change, but the music does! Twice that I’ve seen! This small touch really adds to the game and makes the music feel that much livelier. It’s honestly a swell change. Nonetheless, each area’s music never gets annoying, nor did I find myself turning the audio off due to the sounds.
General Musings Before The End, A.K.A. No Idea Where These Go!
Let me start off with Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising’s ending: Holy shit, is it abrupt! The last three missions felt so quick and abrupt, like they just got tired and wanted it to end. Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising isn’t the pinnacle for fantastic pacing, but the end was so damn quick I wish I was recording myself because I had to stop and question if it was truly the end. This is especially so after the final boss. It’s damn near one of those freeze frames in a film saying what happened to the characters. Premature happenings aside, there was one thing I appreciated that had no reason for being this cool, or even existing. Once you get your weapon’s first upgrade, you get to rename them! Granted, it’s predetermined words, and it seems like it changes absolutely nothing, but it was a welcome surprise. Plus, this happens other times with naming stuff as well.
Now, a few musings.
- Yes, there is the ability to skip “cutscenes”.
- No, you can’t have the dialogue auto advance.
- Yes, all control settings are changeable!
- With high settings, it was a smooth 60fps experience with only a few drops of 1-3 frames after loading in.
- There is jewelry to buy, but you honestly find most of what you’ll use.
- The Armer/Weapon leveling is just finding the right items for crafting. Easy, but would be nice to have an item list so I know where to go.
Damn, is Your Writing As Long As The Game?
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is the video game version of “this could have been an email.” Is that a tad harsh? It could certainly be considered so. But despite enjoying a lot of the game, at no time does it feel like it’ll improve someone’s hype for the upcoming main game, Hundred Heroes. Instead, it might kill it. Not only that, but this is the type of game that will easily be a one and done, never touched again. It’s just the most peculiar thing; the simple nature of almost everything is the game’s strength, but its weakness, that and it being titled a so-called prequel when it doesn’t feel as such. Not only that, but as someone who recently put more time into mobile games, this feels like a mobile game. The action, world-building, lack of voice acting, some addictive activities, and simplicities make Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising come off as a mobile game. Granted, a high quility, fun mobile game.
However, there is a fun time to be had in the game. With amazing characters, gameplay that’s generally fun at points, an easy town-building mechanic, and just relaxed vibes, it can be worth it for someone looking for a game to bang out quick. Hell, the cheap selling price is a huge positive in my book of positives. I don’t think this will do what the studio thinks and excite people for Hundred Heroes, but instead, it may just be the quick, easy, fun RPG that you play in the meantime.
My PC Specs:
Processer: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-8700K CPU @ 3.70GHz
Installed RAM: 16GB
64 BIT OPERATING SYSTEM
NVIDIA GeoForceRTX 2080