Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes Review – An Old Star Rises

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    “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” A little kid in a legitimately distinct Sailor Moon costume blurts out this little phrase at me about an hour into Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, the rabbit-and-bear Suikoden successor. I’m not sure when I realized that the saying applied to the Hundred Heroes itself as much as it did to the kid the kid was talking about. I might have met a cleric whose vices included violence and profanity. But every time it did, it encouraged me to ignore the misgivings that poor first impressions of Hundred Heroes had instilled in me, and there were more. So Hero follows outdated design conventions a little too closely, but the strength of its writing and characters make up for its lack of vision.

    Rabbit and Bear were serious when they made a promise like a modern sucodone. You play as Nova, a member of the Eltisweiss Watch mercenary corps dedicated to keeping the peace. What begins as a small series of errands for nearby villages soon turns into something more serious as Nova and the Watch become embroiled in conflicts that threaten their beliefs and the world at large. . Also, like Suikoden, Hundred Heroes splits its time between world exploration, where you explore and find new characters, battles, and dungeon crawls, the latter of which is basically an excuse for more battles.

    So Heroes is also pretty close to Suikoden 2’s combat with some refreshing expansions. Your team consists of six active characters whose skills you can augment with runes, which grant different abilities and buffs, and each character gets several rune slots that allow for extensive customization. . The system is satisfying on its own, but once you start combining character attacks and creating unique combos, it comes into its own.

    As the name suggests, recruiting the game’s 100+ heroes plays a major role. Some are included automatically, but the more interesting ones have a quest associated with them that gives a bit more insight into their personality and place in the world. After that they often play a minor role in the story, but their detailed sprite animations and voice lines still make them feel part of the story and not an afterthought.

    The setup sounds very familiar, but despite author Yoshitaka Murayama taking clear inspiration from his previous works, Hundred Heroes never feels derivative and ultimately transcends its source material. Much of its personality rests on a strong cast of brilliantly written characters and a willingness to embrace humor and absurdity to go deep with serious themes of autonomy and equality.

    They also save the hundred heroes from themselves. Slow pacing, an empty world map, and tedious dungeons make Hundred Heroes more frustrating than it should be, but the promise of a new character appearance or more plot development always keeps me going. It was enough.

    Hundred Heroes expands on the base building feature of Suikoden with new guilds and groups for your party members. At first glance, it looks like busy work, and it is. But it also represents something deeper. Your castle is a microcosm of the themes of Hundred Heroes, a small society of people who look, act and think nothing alike but who respect each other and live freely without hatred. Fight for the right.

    In battle, a robust AI system lets you program commands and let your party deal with weaker enemies based on how you’ve customized their runes. The boss battles are complex enough to demand your full attention, though, thanks in part to the trick feature. These live up to their name, for better and for worse, such as making you guess where an enemy will move or forcing you to attack a certain object. They are a nice change of pace at first but quickly outstay their welcome.

    Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes is a good reminder of why the RPG genre has left parts of its golden age behind. It’s also a testament to what makes the genre special and the power of good storytelling to move and inspire. Admittedly, the strict adherence to archaic structure makes it hard to look past those first impressions, but a creative battle system, extensive party customization, and top-notch writing make up for the retro junk.

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