Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes review: If you're having friend problems I feel bad for you son

Hundred Heroes is a Suikoden spiritual successor that could easily be a sequel.


It’s been a few years since it was announced, but Suikoden spiritual successor Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes is finally here. The sidescrolling action-RPG prequel Rising gave prospective fans a cheery introduction to this new world, and now it’s time to dive all the way in. It’s a real tragedy that writer, director and Suikoden co-creator Yoshitaka Murayama passed away with the launch right around the corner. While there are plenty of flaws to go over in this review, it’s important to say that if the team’s goal was to create a new, authentic-feeling Suikoden title under a new banner, that goal was cleanly met.

Hundred Heroes has three main characters, but we generally play as Nowa, a naive boy scout type whose earnest meddling lands him in the driver’s seat of a resistance army facing off against an oppressive empire. A classic JRPG setup if I’ve ever seen one, that’s for sure. While taking all the challenging twists and turns dead-on, Nowa’s main goal is to build an army, seeking out notable characters around the world and putting them to work expanding the resistance army’s headquarters and beefing up the A Team’s combat capabilities. There are over 100 characters with some of them missable, so the player’s work is cut out for them!

The vibes are crystal clear

A look at the on-foot environment visuals in Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes
Source: 505 Games

For the most part, Hundred Heroes is unapologetically old school, insistent on being like its ancestor series in every possible way. Polishing efforts we’ve come to call “quality of life updates” are the exception, but you won’t be finding major combat gimmicks or structural oddities here. You run around big world maps, participate in random turn-based battles and spend hours grinding EXP to overcome stat checks. Occasionally there’s a mini game to mix things up, but generally you’re looking at a massive tribute to the first two Suikoden games.

You can even feel it in the visual style, despite its modern conveniences. The early Suikoden games had a distinct style, with tall, lanky character sprites that stood out among their chunkier peers. There’s a blend of 2D characters with 3D environments and enemies here, but it looks good. There’s a lot of cool lighting, and the enemies are a bunch of weirdos that are lavishly animated and bring personality to the table. This is a good-looking game… well, if you’re playing on PC.

It feels like I dodged a bullet here, folks

A look at a combat encounter in Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes
Source: 505 Games

I was fortunate enough to choose the PC version of Hundred Heroes, and have generally had a great experience. I never encountered performance issues or glitches, especially after a patch that was released during the review period. However, while I can’t speak to other platforms directly, I had peers playing on other platforms and none of them had an experience like I did. It seems like the Switch version got the worst of it, unfortunately. There are further updates planned for launch, so this paragraph may end up being more of a time capsule than a warning. Still, for the record it’s definitely necessary to point out which version I played.

Visuals aside, Hundred Heroes is also a lot of fun to play. It moves quickly, and combat has a lot going for it from an active camera to a level of depth that finds a sweet spot between too much and too little. Certain characters have fun synergy that offers special moves, other characters have unique mechanics that can really alter your strategy. Individual battles themselves can also have gimmicks (literally, the game itself calls them gimmicks) that loudly direct your attention in different ways. Some of these gimmicks can be real pains in the ass (like a 50/50 guessing game during a boss fight that made me want to headbutt my expensive hardware), but others can be fun, such as a fight over construction equipment that inevitably drops huge rocks on someone’s head.

While the core combat feels good, I did have a problem with the game’s constant stat checks. EXP allotment from battles scales down, so there’s a clear point where you’re expected to move on. But if you aren’t close enough to that cutoff point, there’s a good chance you will struggle to clear major encounters. Sometimes it even flies in the face of what I consider JRPG Golden Rules. For example, if your combat structure has front and back rows, with clear-cut magic characters, having a boss that simply lasers the whole back row to death if your stats aren’t high enough sucks! There are other moments (tedious dungeon puzzles, undercooked mini games) where Hundred Heroes feels a little under-tuned, some of which are likely compounded significantly by performance issues on other platforms.

Peaks, valleys, and large kangaroo men

A shot from an awesome duel sequence in Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes
Source: 505 Games

While there are bumps in the road, the highs are incredibly high. The most dramatic moments, such as when major characters have one-on-one duels, are pitch-perfect (and appropriately corny) climactic story beats. Shaky camera movement mimicking handycam film and simple diegetic tricks like one-sided HP damage scaling sells the moment (especially the first time it happens). Other moments, like when you discover your new favorite character or get a new milestone on the town-building map, are excellent dopamine bursts that capture the same vibe of classic Suikoden. Or Suikoden Tierkreis, which is the one I played back in the day. That one was better than it gets credit for, dang it!

Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes is a different kind of retro throwback than what I’m used to. Normally a game like this is a mish-mash of genre homage points that encapsulates a broader historical context alongside the individual creators’ more homegrown ideas. Suikoden was already kind of a niche in its heyday, and this is such a laser-targeted visitation that we may as well be looking at a new entry from Konami. The forbidden door has been opened so to speak, and the unthinkable has been thunk. Sure, there are problems that come from the kind of scrappy position a crowdfunded project typically grapples with. But we’re far closer to the Bloodstained side of Kickstarter spiritual successors than the Mighty No. 9. Hopefully some of the bigger pain points get ironed out by launch (or later), but at least on PC I’ve had a respectably solid experience.

Maybe Hundred Heroes doesn’t have me ready to run outside screaming about miracles, but I’m plenty satisfied and ready to go back and fill in some old, classic JRPG blind spots. Well, after I replay Tierkreis.

Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes is available on April 23, 2024 for the PC, PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox Series X|S, and Nintendo Switch. A code for the PC version was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Contributing Editor

Lucas plays a lot of videogames. Sometimes he enjoys one. His favorites include Dragon Quest, SaGa, and Mystery Dungeon. He's far too rattled with ADHD to care about world-building lore but will get lost for days in essays about themes and characters. Holds a journalism degree, which makes conversations about Oxford Commas awkward to say the least. Not a trophy hunter but platinumed Sifu out of sheer spite and got 100 percent in Rondo of Blood because it rules. You can find him on Twitter @HokutoNoLucas being curmudgeonly about Square Enix discourse and occasionally saying positive things about Konami.

  • Immaculate Suikoden vibes
  • Fun characters and systems
  • Cool visuals (on PC!)
  • Lots of technical issues to (hopefully) iron out, especially on other platforms
  • Frequent glaring balance issues, annoying stat check fights
  • Throws lots of punches, plenty of misses among the hits
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