Eiyuden Chronicles: Hundred Heroes - PS5 Review

Eiyuden Chronicles: Hundred Heroes by developer Rabbit & Bear Studios and publisher 505 GamesSony PlayStation 5 review written by Pierre-Yves with a copy provided by the publisher. 

Estimated Reading Time: 10 minutes. 

With our appreciation to all JRPG fans

- Eiyuden Chronicles: Hundred Heroes 

I don't think there were better words to lead into this adventure. I have waited a long, long time for what is essentially the spiritual successor to the Suikoden series by no other than those that made those original incredible journeys possible. 

I also want to thank Rabbit & Bear Studios for their work, especially the late Yoshitaka Murayama who passed away in early February. Their work will forever mean the world to me. It was hard to not tear up starting off this adventure and knowing they wouldn't get to hear just how much I, and I'm certain hundreds (ok thousands, but it's Hundred Heroes) of others, loved their latest work and are extremely grateful for it's experience. Thank you for all of these incredible adventures. 

Now that I’ve managed to wipe away a few more tears, between writing this and going through the epilogue and the credits, what do you need to know before getting started? Not much actually. While I strongly recommend playing the prequel Eiyuden Chronicles: Rising, because it’s fun, it's not necessary to fully understand everything going on in Hundred Heroes. What is worth mentioning is that if you do, you'll get a better understanding of certain characters and get a few small bonuses for importing your save data.

Otherwise? This is a complete love letter to JRPGs of old and new. It was hard to not keep smiling throughout and it has a feeling of coming home. Other than a few good adventures in the last few years like Chained Echoes and Rise of the Third Power? “They don’t make them like they used to”. Likable and detestable characters? Check. Mini games? Check. Fishing? Check. Larger dungeon maps with save points right before things are about to get real? Check. Castle Town to rebuild from the ground up? Better Believe it! 

Hundred Heroes has everything a classic Suikoden would have had and then some. Where Hundred Heroes really shines though is in how it takes that classic JRPG feeling from the PS1 era and makes it feel at home all the way over in 2024. It's smooth. It has quality of life features that are unlocked as time goes by. Not everything is just given to you, you'll have to explore and go out of your way for some of these. 

Starting off with the story, while conceptually nothing new, it is well told through the variety of characters that join up with our main protagonists. The “Evil” empire comes to lay claim to the land and a band of meddling heroes rise up to fight them. It gives you focus, it gives you directions, and with a hundred heroes to uncover? Plenty of different perspectives and motivations!

If you've played through Rising, then some of the names will ring a bell. For returning potential recruits, it's nice to see how far they've come or what they’ve been up to in between. For returning bad guys, it just makes you want to show them just what the forces of good are made of. And by that I mean a good old fashioned butt kicking. Our main protagonists however, are solely from Hundred Heroes. Nowa, Seign and Marisa. CJ, Isha and Garoo from Rising are present among so many others, but only one has a bit of a front row seat. The others are yours to discover. 

Of our three protagonists, you'll mainly be in control of Nowa and his journey. From the first day on the job as a member of a local watch to leader of an entire resistance turned alliance against the forces of the empire, it's a wild ride with ups, downs, laughs and tears. It's not to say that Seign and Marisa do not get their own limelight and specific scenarios that are theirs and theirs alone, but unlike Suikoden 3 where there's an even split of the three protagonists and their chapters, plus the castle building interludes with its own side protagonist, this is Nowa’s show. 

For the show itself, there's a set curtain rise and fall. Everything in-between depends on how much effort you put in. At a few strategic points, you'll be told to go explore and recruit more allies. Whether you recruit one or six, it doesn't matter. It's really up to you. Obviously you'll want to recruit them all, or you should want to recruit them all, but if you want to play on hard mode and limit your options, that's a choice as well.

What's neat about those you can recruit is how they are going to be useful to you. Can they participate in battle? Are they more of a support role? Or are they simply there for base operations? Each character has their strong points and what I truly appreciated was that just because you recruited someone in the opening hours doesn't mean they become useless in the final ones. I had a party member from start to finish just because of how seriously hard they can kick the enemies. And I literally mean kick! 

To get from curtain to curtain, you'll need to cross roads, forests, towns, cities, mountains, caves and enemy encampments. Each of these have their secrets so it's always worth looking absolutely everywhere as you're never quite sure what you can find. New equipment is nice, but speed shoes or an ally that boosts your movement speed by double? That will really help you get moving. Best part? And what a lot of other developers can learn from, faster movement speed does not mean more battles. It just means more ground covered between battles. THANK YOU! 

As for battles, there are a few varieties. Normal battles, the ones you'll spend most of your time with, play out in an initiative turned based affair. Split between a front and a back row of three participants, enemies included, those with the fastest speed will go first unless an action dictates otherwise. From there, characters fall into three classes, short, medium or long range attacks. Short range should be the front, long in the back, medium wherever they are best deemed for action.

In terms of actions, characters can simply attack, defend, shield up or dodge, use skills or magic. Skills and magic come from the combination of permanent and optional runes that can be equipped for all sorts of various functions. Armor piercing attacks, wide spread fire or darkness attacks, healing winds and water, stacking up your own armor or HP valudes. Runes can basically do it all, the only limit is how many a character can equip and the level of the rune that can be equipped. 

If this wasn’t already enough, and there is a long list of possibilities as the adventure moves forward, there are also gimmicks that can appear. What’s a gimmick? Gimmicks can be anything from a treasure chest with an item that can be opened to a game of whack a mole against a boss. It could be hitting a level to let the water out of a room and use a harpoon that was just hidden under the waves. Or? It can be a set of icicles that form above your heads giving you the opportunity to defend yourself before they drop for a decent amount of damage. 

Once you win? Experience points! Oh, so glorious experience points. Again making me smile, Hundred Heroes uses the classic 1k exp limit from Suikoden. Every level requires 1k exp to be accumulated. The higher the level? The less you get. The lower the level, the faster that they can be caught up as long as they survive the fight. I always enjoyed this system and was happy to see it back as it makes it very easy to keep track of numbers, especially when there are so many characters to choose from.

If this wasn’t enough, you’ll also have to go through war scenarios. United under important characters in the story, each squad or legion will again have its own strengths and weaknesses. Each legion also has its own abilities that can be used in order to turn the tides in your favor. Increasing strength, boosting defense, provoking enemy legions to turn towards a specific one instead of their initial target. While very limited in use, these are worth saving for when you think the moment is right. Sometimes? That moment is right out of the gate! 

Finally, there are duels which I was also very happy to see return. Duels are… dicey. Each character has a health bar and three actions. Attack, Counter, Break. Attack is basically throwing caution to the wind and going for it. Counter is to try to take as little damage as possible when you know an attack is coming. Breaks, unlike the other 2, are only available once a gauge has been built up and ready for use. It’s also possible to screw this one up so just make sure that it’s the right time to use it. 

Outside of all of these exploration and story plot elements, there are all, and I mean alllllllllll the distractions that you could want. And then some as I finished Hundred Heroes and still haven’t unlocked them all. Card games, its own spin on Beyblade known as Beigoma, fishing and more. Seriously, not only is there a ton of mainline and side quest content, there are all of these options on top making you wonder, just what else can you find once you explore further into the world?

Some of these are completely off the beaten path. Others are literally where you’ve already walked before, you just need to walk there again. And some are quite literally at your front door. You never know where things will come from which is what makes this really neat. Walking, running, moving twice as fast or teleporting, exploring the world isn’t just a one time thing and plenty opens up as you move forward in the adventure. 

So it’s a bit here that I have one of my biggest issues. I CAN’T FIND THE DAMNED WHEEL-EYE BREAM TO GET THE FISHERMAN TO JOIN. I don’t know if this fish is luck based, or if I’ve just seriously not found its fishing location yet, BUT WHERE IS IT!? Because of that, I have at the time of this writing, three or five people to recruit that need that one fish to be given to this one person so that I can set up this one node in my castle town. I have everything else after that, but without this one key random fish? I can’t move that forward. 

Short of these small blocks in progress, which can also affect the exploration of certain areas, everything else is damned near solid. Do I wish the speed of battle was a bit faster? Yes. Do I wish that the auto-dialog could be toggled on and off as needed instead of through a menu? Yes. And, do I wish that item transfers would be batch instead of one by one, again, yes, but, these are all very small things that you can just accept and move on.

So on a final note, I hope you’re ready for just how much love and care has been put into Eiyuden Chronicles: Hundred Heroes. The music as the kids nowadays call it slaps. Battle musics, epic scores, exploration softness, it has it all. To top all of that off, every, single, character has a voice. I did not expect this going in, but everyone, regardless of how big of a role they play, has a voice and it just makes the adventure that much more awesome to experience and have the emotions carry over. 

Eiyuden Chronicles: Hundred Heroes is truly a love letter to JRPG fans. Whether you’re just getting to experience this style of adventure now, or you’ve been around long enough like some of us who could happily call this Suikoden VI, this is for you. Awesome story telling, great dialog, amazing music and plenty of gameplay options, there is no reason not to dive into Rabbit & Bear Studios' excellently penned love letter. 

Score: 8.5 / 10



Post a Comment

Random posts

Our Streamers

Susan "Jagtress" N.

S.M. Carrière

Louis aka Esefine



JenEricDesigns – Coffee that ships to the US and Canada

JenEricDesigns – Coffee that ships to the US and Canada
Light, Medium and Dark Roast Coffee available.

Blog Archive