Eiyuden Chronicles: Hundred Heroes (Switch)

Let me start by getting this out of the way nice and early, I have zero history with the Suikoden series but I wasn’t going to let a little thing like that stop me from taking on this 90s-inspired spiritual successor, especially after how much I had enjoyed the world building in Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising, homage or has old become new again? Grab a potion, build a party, and join me on this journey. 

Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes starts you off as young “meddler” Nowa who’s on his first day on the job as a member of “The Watch”, a mercenary group who do odd jobs for the country, on this day he and his band do a joint operation with members of the Imperial Empire in hopes of creating an alliance, bonding over finding an ancient artifact of power because we all know that’ll work well! 

While that job goes off without a hitch, things don’t quite seem to have quelled with the states and time passes with Nowa becoming quite a prominent member of The Watch it isn’t long before after a routine Bandit eviction job that the seeds of betrayal bare fruit and Nowa’s hometown is turned to ash as part of the conspiracy to see the Empire take even more of the country for themselves.

The story starts quite slow as you learn about the world and the current political climate, slowly allowing the personal tale of Nowa to build before it kicks off and puts you in the direction you’ll be going for the next 50-odd hours, it’s also worth noting that Nowa isn’t quite the center of this universe as there are another 2 protagonists that the story jumps between creating an interesting story if not one that takes quite a while to hit its stride. 

Personally speaking, I loved the slow build as I sank into the comfy, nostalgia-driven arms of a narrative speed that was reminiscent of the PSX era, it doesn’t need flash and constant spelling out for you, nor does it need some quirky obtuse way of telling the story, instead the game relies on true and tested methods and it pays off.

Visually Eiyuden Chronicles: Hundred Heroes really leans into the retro aesthetic of the 90s JRPG and in fact, without the heavy reliance on 3D effects in the world it really would look like a lost gem from the time, the way the lighting works with the character sprites creates some genuinely beautiful images and completely enthralled me into the title.

While the dungeons and towns look quite beautiful, the world map does have quite a bland empty look to it sadly, while it doesn’t impact the game greatly it does somewhat create a contrast between these beautiful areas and then this rather barren and almost Unity Asset looking world map, fortunately, these are drowned out by the absolutely gorgeous art on hand and some amazing looking character sprites. 

There is an amazing amount of voice lines in this title, something I really wasn’t expecting at all, and for the most part, none of them felt cringy or out of place, a rather well-done voice track throughout the game and of course, the music is suitably epic and fantasy with some beautifully composed tracks kicking in when the feels started to build. 

So Eiyuden Chronicles by its own developer’s admission is a love letter to RPGs of the 90s, it just so happens that the development team consists of people who have worked on the very ’90s RPG Suikoden, despite a lot of press to say this isn’t a new Suikoden, it very much looks and feels like at the very least a strong spiritual successor from what little I have played of Suikoden 1 for research during this review. 

If you have played any traditional RPG, you’ll have a fantastic idea of what’s on offer here. You’ll be running around cities, abandoned mines, forests, and all other styles of dungeon or hub areas, talking to NPCs, upgrading your equipment, adding to your party, solving puzzles, and taking place in almost mind-numbing amounts of random encounters. 

Eiyuden Chronicles: Hundred Heroes excels in creating an overly familiar nostalgia trip instead of reinventing the wheel, everything works as intended and is consistent as of the referred time, random battles are in fact random and not shown on the map, side quests are pretty much just fetch quests and aside from two modes I’ll touch on in a second, you’ve done everything here, elsewhere but it’s done not only intentionally but its been done by some of the greatest talents of the genre.

Combat is a turn-based affair using a timeline of actions, you can see where each character will take an action allowing you to strategize who to take on first to minimize your damage taken, everything is transparent and simple to get to grips with, and this works with the huge amount of party members you can take on that lets you really get into creating the ideal party that works for you.  

Outside of your traditional turn-based battles, there are one on one duels that play like the most intense version of Rock, Paper, Scissors or the Skirmish battles which play like large-scale RTS but lack a lot of depth, fun little distractions from the main battles but not quite enough to make the other ways to battle feel special. 

Throughout the adventure you can recruit a massive amount of characters to your party, while you can only have 6 at any time there are over a hundred as the name implies, some of these are added to your party, others are support units and some add to the castle town you occupy and build up over the run of the game. 

The castle building is a mixed affair, it’s quite hands-off but requires you to do a lot of work on the outside to get it built up, you’ll have to find materials around the world to allow you to build in your town giving you access to better shops and other features such as an addictive card mini game, alongside the materials you need someone to man these locations and that is where the bulk of the “Hundred Heroes” comes in, finding these allies in the wild will unlock more upgrades for your castle and rewards you for talking to every NPC and putting the work in to explore the world. 

Now I know from what I’ve said and what little I have played of Suikoden and heard about it throughout the years that this sounds an awful lot like at least the first two games, with this having the same dev teams down to the director this is almost to be expected but it is more than worth noting that anyone who has any nostalgia for titles from the 90s/00s in the JRPG genre will feel a great warm towards the title even if they aren’t initially familiar with the “Spiritual beginnings” of this game.

Ideally, I would love to now just slap the game with a near-perfect score and be on my way but I chose to review the title on the Nintendo Switch and this turned out to not have been a wise choice, the performance issues run rampant on the Nintendo Switch and while the developer has said they are diligently working towards fixing the issues, I can only report on what I witnessed during my 50 hours with this title and I’ll be perfectly transparent in that the game has improved since I initially got my mitts on it. 

While I never experienced any crashes I have heard from other people playing this is an issue so it’s worth knowing about, myself I came across insane amounts of lag when opening a menu which at the time of writing is still around 4-5 seconds, the frame rate is all over the place only really being smooth inside smaller buildings and one of the most egregious parts is the 15 second loading times for every random battle, it really takes it out of you, especially in the larger dungeons. 

Despite all the performance issues I had, I still really loved my time with Eiyuden Chronicles and hope that there is more to come outside of the season pass content, it’s a love letter to an era of JRPG that I personally don’t think has been topped and would highly suggest any fan of the genre take their time to get invested in the world that is built and track down all of those elusive heroes, here’s hoping we see a sequel that decides to take on the PS2 era of the JRPG genre. 



A near perfect time capsule for the best of 90s JRPG, as long as you don’t play it on Switch

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