played on personal computer
We first heard about Eiyuden Chronicle in 2020 when we launched on Kickstarter Fundraiser. And the authors finally collected two games at once. The main project, Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, a tactical role-playing game by the authors of Suikoden, will be released sometime in 2023. And in the near future, Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising will be on sale – a sort of prologue in the format of a side-view RPG action-platformer. Its demo and fell into my hands.
Help a neighbor – get a stamp
Tina (originally CJ, but the localizers have spoken) is a young treasure hunter who arrives in the city of New Navia. Ancient ruins have recently been discovered here, attracting adventurers from all surrounding countries with artifacts. But it is not that easy. The city itself was badly hit by the earthquake, thanks to the disaster, the ruins were actually found, only to gain access to them, all adventurers must first work for the benefit of Navii.
Tina was no exception. Treasures will have to wait – first you must help the locals. Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising starts out as a naïve fantasy anime – simple dialogue, deliberately stereotypical characters, silly situations. The girl asks to find a stray cat, the mischievous old man sends for a tree to fix the house, the merchant offers to go around the neighborhood and find out from the residents which shop is better to open.
Commands don’t even try to disguise themselves as anything other than “go and fetch”. The situation is smoothed out by convenient and easy movement around the world. Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising looks like an arcade platformer but lives more like a jRPG. Instead of an entire world – a series of locations that you can teleport between at any time, all you have to do is open the map. Extras wander through peaceful zones, and characters important for quests are marked with icons.
Aside are the dungeons, which are more like miniature Metroidvanias. Such zones are swarming with monsters and only here, in principle, you can fight. The combat system of the first hour consists of literally two buttons: Tina can strike with axes and ricochet off enemy blows. Here the possibilities end. The most uncomplicated action that tires in ten minutes.
Playing Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is tiring for the first half hour, and only the style saves. Although the chosen design direction is definitely amateur, it is based on Japanese animation, implemented partly through pixel art and partly through three-dimensional graphics. Sprite characters run through the 3D world and even cast realistic shadows. The approach is rare but not innovative, similar to Octopath Traveler.
The fighting intensifies as Tina teams up with Garu, a tough kangaroo fighter with a huge two-handed sword. You can switch between characters instantly, and changing alter egos during a battle combo is accompanied by a powerful move. The Garou strikes slowly but hard, and can block enemy attacks. There are no other companions in the demo, but at least the magician Aisha will join the heroes on release.
Characters level up, but it only affects stats like health and damage. But with better equipment, new opportunities arise – for example, Tina can double jump in more comfortable clothes, and Garou with an improved sword can gather strength for a powerful blow. I would like to hope that as Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising progresses, more and more such additional nuances will reveal themselves.
To gain access to the best gear, you’ll need to help rebuild the city – literally. Although the game can hardly be called a city building simulator, the elements of it were promised by the authors. Everything is quite trivial: we find a potential owner of the company, help him find the necessary resources, and now a new institution is open, be it an inn, hotel or blacksmith shop.
Resources that can be mined in the dungeons. The source is either the environment (we cut down trees for firewood, smash ore from stone, etc.) or monsters. For some reason a limit was added to the game for the maximum amount of resources you can bring back from a hike. It doesn’t make any practical sense. Sometimes, moving around the location, you will come across teleporters, thanks to which you can return to the entrance, hand over the loot to the warehouse and immediately return. These are a few extra steps for ten seconds.
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So far, Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising feels like a passing arcade RPG, with all components extremely superficial. It wasn’t until the end of the second hour that at least some hints of a change showed up, but that’s where the demo ended. As the combat system continues to add additional nuances, the player will have more influence over the development of New Navia, and the storyline will still acquire at least a modicum of seriousness and scope (which is a fairly common situation with jRPGs – they take time for overclocking), then the project has a chance to attract the public.