Trying to play and review Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is a weird experience. Originally conceived as a Kickstarter stretch goal for Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, the next JRPG from Suikoden creator Yoshitaka Murayama this is an Action RPG prequel that has charm, but is essentially a long string of fetch quests.
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is billed as a way to prepare for the full game coming next year, it is created by Natsume Atari with Yoshitaka Murayama in a supervisory role. The game essentially introduces us to some of the characters that will be featured in Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes but is really all about rebuilding the hub town of New Nevaeh.
Centering around an incredibly eager and likable scavenger named CJ the focus of this game is her quest to find a huge magical lens so she can pass her tribes rite of passage. In order to do this she needs approval from the towns acting mayor to explore the runebarrows.
The acting mayor Isha, who we discover is a magic user searching for her lost father, tells CJ she needs a license to explore the ruins and has to pay taxes on all her loot. This kicks of what ends up being an endless series of fetch style sidequests and a loose narrative focused main quest to search for the lens and Isha’s father.
As these fetch quests are completed the town gets expanded, more shops open, the shops get upgraded, the town prospers, more loot is possible to craft and obtain. When I say fetch quests I mean it, there are dozens that require re-visiting areas and gathering materials, finding creatures, fishing at key spots and other standard RPG tropes.
This is literally the first game I have played that completely centers around the mechanics of sidequests and while I ended up skipping much of the dialogue it was somewhat cathartic to do these over and over. The slight saving grace was in how new items kept getting unlocked and stores opened and expanded, I found it compelling and dull all at the same time.
The gameplay starts very basic with a single attack option, but as the other two characters are added to the party swapping between them makes combat very dynamic and fun at times. Upgrading weapons and armor adds some tweaks to their combat and mobility which was actually cool to discover.
A slight metroidvania aspect is also part of the game with certain areas block by physical or elemental barriers that cant be passed till a new elemental lens is found. This made some of the areas inaccessible till late game which kept exploration a little fresh as the fetch quests kept rolling in.
This is a game built in Unity and it does have a charming old school look and feel with some nice environmental effects but the animations are very basic and felt rushed. There is a lot of nice graphical thoughts here, but it ends up feeling like corners were cut to release the game and that is a shame.
I kept coming back to Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising even though I found it boring at times, as there is no voice work and the audio is vanilla I actually played a good chunk without audio which is weird for me. Overall the game has some charm and nice hooks to encourage exploration but ultimately falls flat as a truly enjoyable experience.
More time to tweak the graphics and gameplay, a shift towards showing us a little more of what the main game will offer and some better polish could have helped this title. As it stands it is a pretty average experience that may deter people from Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes when it launches next year.
I was provided an Xbox key to review the game by the publisher and Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is available right now on PC via Steam, Epic Games Store and GoG as well as PlayStation, Nintendo Switch and Xbox platforms.