The Suikoden series remains dormant and it’s unlikely that we will ever get a new game. Thankfully, its creators – Yoshitaka Murayama (of Suikoden 1 and 2 fame) and Junko Kawano (who worked on Suikoden 1 and 4) – are working on a spiritual successor in Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes. It’s out in 2023 but in the meantime, there’s Natsume Atari’s Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising, a side-scrolling 2.5D action title set in the same universe. Releasing on May 10th for Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch, let’s take a look at 10 things you need to know before jumping in.
The story of Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising focuses on the unassuming town of New Nevaeh in the remote reach of Allraan. One day, an earthquake hits and reveals some Runebarrows located beneath the town. This attracts the attention of all and sundry, from adventurers to merchants, as they seek treasure and fortune. However, there’s also an artifact called the Rune Lens that our heroes are after for their own reasons. Your goal is to find it and ideally not die in the process. What caused the earthquake? What is the history behind the Runebarrows? It’s up to the player to find out.
Prequel to Hundred Heroes
That being said, there is a connection between Rising and Hundred Heroes (outside of the name, of course). Developer Natsume Atari promises that the events will be the catalyst for “a dark conspiracy that will shake the world and plant seeds that carry over into the main story of Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes.” This means that Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is a prequel of sorts and while it’s unknown exactly when Hundred Heroes will take place, we will see some characters from Rising appearing in the strategy RPG (perhaps as recruitable party members). Said conspiracy also apparently has “shocking ramifications” for the series’ universe so it should be interesting to see exactly what terrible events our heroes unwittingly set into motion.
Setting and Locations
As revealed in the 28 minute developer gameplay video with IGN, New Nevaeh serves as your “base”, providing all kinds of facilities like a Smithy, Armor Shop, Weapon Shop and an Inn for taking baths (which can provide different temporary buffs like five percent increased attack strength or defense). You can talk to different NPCs and listen to their requests, check the Bulletin Board or venture out to the farm to harvest crops.
Along with various Lanes and Districts in the town, there’s the Runebarrows to explore along with The Great Forest (where a tree boss awaits) and a large snowy mountain, starting from the ascent all the way to its peak. All kinds of threats await though so it’s advised to choose your potions and buffs carefully before setting out.
You won’t be recruiting one hundred heroes to your cause here – the main cast is composed of three playable characters. There’s CJ, a scavenger who’s fairly respected and has a strong sense of honor; Garoo, a Beastman who works as a Mercenary and can be fairly headstrong; and Isha, the level-headed deputy mayor of New Nevaeh.
CJ and Garoo are after the Rune Lens for their own reasons (though the latter seems to have a hidden agenda) while Isha hopes to rebuild the town after the destruction wrought by the earthquake. And though you can’t add any more party members, other characters – like the magical girl Mellore who also pursues the Rune Lens – have fairly significant roles and provide some humorous interactions.
At its core, Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is an action RPG. There are RPG elements like earning XP and leveling up to improve your stats; a 2.5D side-scrolling perspective with hack and slash elements. Certain characters lend themselves well to exploration – CJ, for instance, can use her dual climbing axes to clamber up on platforms while Isha can teleport to certain areas that are out of your reach.
There are also environmental interactions, like setting traps (though you also need to avoid hazards like lava). With the variety of foes available, there plenty of materials to collect all throughout.
Character Switching and Link Attacks
Each character has their own unique combat style, though combat in general looks fairly straightforward. CJ can attack quickly with her dual climbing axes; Garoo possesses a giant sword that deals heavy damage; and Isha can cast magic from medium range. It’s the ability to switch between each character during combat where things get interesting.
Though they can be switched manually based on the situation (like when switching to Garoo to deal more damage to shields or dealing with magical foes as Isha), scoring a Critical hit will start a Link Attack combo which can deal hefty amounts of damage.
Resource Gathering and Town Upgrades
Along with collecting Gold, nearly every defeated enemy drops some kind of material. Chilli Peppers, Red Slimejelly, Gold Ores, Ancient Trinkets, Fire Magic Vestiges, the list goes on. You’ll need to use resources to restore and upgrade the town, improving the effects of certain facilities (like strengthening the buffs from the Inn’s baths). But how you go about the process remains to be seen – can you use resources to craft items and upgrade weapons, for instance. Regardless, there should be plenty of reasons to revisit the various dungeons.
Xbox Game Pass
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising retails for $15, which isn’t an awfully high price of entry. Nevertheless, if you’re subscribed to Game Pass, then it will be available on day one for PC and Xbox consoles (as will Hundred Heroes when it launches next year). Whether you’re just trying it out or eager to collect and unlock everything, it’s a pretty good deal.
For PC players, the minimum requirements are pretty forgiving. An Intel Core i3-3210 or AMD FX-4350, 4 GB of RAM and either an Nvidia GeForce GTX 750 or AMD Radeon R7 260X with 2 GB VRAM should be sufficient for running the game at 1280×720 resolution and 30 FPS at Low settings. Recommended requirements for playing in 1920×1080 resolution and 60 FPS at Standard to Very High settings include a Core i7-4770S or Ryzen 5 1700, 6 GB RAM and either a GTX 1060 with 6 GB VRAM or an RX 470 with 4 GB VRAM.
In both cases, 20 GB of installation space is required. Interestingly, 4K resolution is also supported though exact requirements for playing at this resolution at 60 FPS have yet to be revealed.
Though described as a “companion prequel” to the main course that is Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, there are several items like special cosmetics, equipment and trade goods that can be transferred over from Rising to Hundred Heroes. You can also name certain weapons and dishes that will seemingly carry. Overall, these are decent touches and offer some incentive for getting invested in the universe. Who knows, you may end up creating a bizarre dish in Rising that becomes a major culinary hit in Hundred Heroes.