Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising review

Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is an interesting game. This is very much a prelude to Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes coming next year, but Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising offers up some entertaining fun. It switches things up with the combat, rather than classic JPRG turn-based combat you have real-time action. It may offer up some differences from the main series, but Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is a decent RPG that should be judged on its own merits.

One of our goals in Rising is to rebuild a town called New Neveah, recently destroyed by an earthquake. While the town was ruined, it also unveiled a hidden treasure underground. The player takes on the main protagonist CJ, a scavenger who’s looking for this newly uncovered hidden treasure. We have to help the residents of New Neveah rebuild with some of the materials we find including metal ore, wood and other specialist materials. There’s a certain element of city building here, but you are essentially on rails in terms of what you build and who you speak to.

As you progress through the game you’ll build up your stamp cards, and you’ll earn these by helping residents. Fill out your stamp book and you’ll upgrade it and level up, then you’ll bring more people into the town. More people means more opportunities and growth for the town, plus you can exchange stamps at the trading posts for items later in the game.

Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising takes a Metroidvania approach to exploration, new areas are blocked off until you have a certain item or skill that will allow you through. For example, CJ has a double jump, but you can’t get this until you have improved the armour, given it, needs to be lighter to be able to double jump. In a way, I like the realism, but I’m not really coming to a game like this for the simulation aspect, just gives me the ability. This aside, the progression feels good and on a regular basis, so I didn’t find myself getting bored. Exploration overall is rewarded and you’ll soon be joined by other party members; there’s Isha (the acting Mayor) and Garoo, a Kangeroo mercenary, who’s just after the contracts and the money.

It’s easy to swap between party members, given they are mapped to controller buttons for ease of access. Party members allow you to switch up the gameplay style too. Garoo is tankier being slower but hitting heavier, Isha has more of a ranged magic approach and then CJ has two pickaxes for close up melee attacks. This promotes rotating between party members, and the combat overall feels good and varied. Keep working your way through the game and rune lenses become available, meaning you can attack with elemental damage. This adds a nice strategic dimension, given enemies are weaker to fire, electricity and more. Elemental stones also block your path, so you’ll need to use the rune lenses to unblock ways forward to progress.

At the start, combat feels basic. Single-button attacks are the name of the game, so things can feel a little repetitive to start with. However, push through this and attacks will become more varied and strategic when you improve weapons and armour. You upgrade your items with currency and materials. Rising does feel a little obtuse when it comes to the number of things locked behind upgrades, which doesn’t help the feeling of simplicity in the early parts of the game. With a little tweak here and there with the amount that’s locked, things could open up a lot more and the entertainment factor would massively increase. Combat can also be on the easy side, so it might be worth bumping up the difficulty.

Once you have got into a flow though, it’s not long before New Neveah starts to recover and feel like a living, breathing town once again. You have your classic RPG locations including a Blacksmith, Tavern, and plenty of NPCs to talk to, who offer up their heartfelt thanks. There’s something very rewarding about building back up the town. Quests in the game can feel pretty straightforward. Residents ask for materials, you go out and get them and bring them back. But that sense of rebuilding New Neveah is a very feel-good thing, and heartwarming.

While the game does tug on the heartstrings successfully, unfortunately, the gameplay of the missions can get repetitive quickly. Main missions feel like a string of fetch quests and side quests can move into the mind-numbing territory. CJ has to constantly go out and get resources, while there is a fast travel option, it still doesn’t make it feel less repetitive, just quicker.

One saving grace is that the game isn’t very long, coming in at around 10-15 hours. Considering its a JRPG, that’s a neat little contained package. It isn’t too surprising considering this is a prelude game, which leads up to the main event next year with Hundred Heroes, which will no doubt go back to its JRPG roots for a multiple 10s of hours worth of gameplay. While repetitive, the game never overstayed its welcome. It’s also a nice build-up to the next game with Hundred Heroes continuing the story of CJ, Isha and Garoo.

Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is a nice change from the regular gameplay template from the series. It does a good job building up the anticipation for Hundred Heroes coming out next year, plus it’s a nice introduction to new players of the franchise. It’s a decent adventure that manages to tug on the heartstrings, even though the gameplay can feel a little repetitive at times.

Developer: NatsumeAtari, Natsume, Rabbit & Bear Studios
Publisher: 505 Games
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4/5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC (reviewed on PC via Game Pass)
Release Date: 10 May 2022