Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes Review – The Suikoden Successor

Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes Review

Spiritual successors are a tricky business. If you change too much, you lose that critical connection to the old game(s). But changing too little is equally risky. You don’t want it to feel like a re-hash, you know? Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes is more than a JRPG. It’s a long, detailed love letter to the Suikoden series. The devs at Rabbit & Bear have used their time with the Suikoden games to make as perfect an homage as possible. Did they keep too much from those games, or not enough? Either way, the end result is fun, enormous, and totally endearing.

I have a tiny bit of experience with the Suikoden games, but I’m still more or less new to the franchise. Even so, I’m not totally lost here. The basic narrative and mechanical threads feel familiar enough. You’re at the head of a rag-tag band of rebel fighters looking to overthrow the empire. Along the way, you’ll round up roughly a hundred companions. It’s enough of a labor/fighting force that you’ll be starting your own kingdom as you topple the evil one. I appreciated the relative complexity of the larger plot beats. Not everyone in the empire is beyond redemption, which was a pleasant surprise. Of course, the minor details are still pretty straightforward.

Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes Review

This isn’t to say I hated the story or anything. I just found the smaller stories to be somewhat smooth and predictable. It makes sense that recruiting new people gets pretty rote. But I wanted a bit more variety in their acquisition, a bit more often. There are a few too many people who come to your team the moment they meet you. Either that, or they want an item in the immediate vicinity. I’d just appreciate more frequent variety, that’s all. Speaking of variety, how about that combat?

Tale As Old As Time

For the most part, Hundred Heroes keeps things fresh in the fights department. You’ve got a wide cast of characters to choose from, and they all have a ton of moves to mess around with. Even so, the regular battles felt like background noise at times. The biggest challenge I faced was making sure my healing supplies were adequate. And even this was a fairly simple task. Not the boss fights, though. Those were an altogether different beast.

Boss battles in this game were the only times I sat up straight and paid real attention to what was happening. The other fights are a breeze by comparison. You’ve got to manage six peoples’ health, SP, MP, and turn order. It’s a lot to keep track of! On the other hand, said boss battles feel super long. Maybe I was just under-leveled, but every boss fight was practically endless. I understand that major battles need more substance. I get that ‘substance’ in this case means time spent battling. On paper, it should add up perfectly. But somehow, a lot of the boss fights in Hundred Heroes felt a bit too long for my tastes. Otherwise, they’re all pretty fun! You bust out some sweet special moves, maybe a few Hero Combos, and you’re in business. It’s only the pacing that suffers.

Some Pacing Problems

I felt this pacing problem pop up in several areas, to be honest. It isn’t something I can easily pin down, but it plagued me nevertheless. Exploration drags as well, especially if you’re doing any backtracking. I would have loved a fast travel option. Sure, I can gather a ton of resources along the way. The trip isn’t totally wasted time, but it still feels super long. Your characters even feel a bit sluggish when they move. Normally this doesn’t bug me much. But seeing them zip around in cutscenes at a pace the gameplay can’t match? That’s not great. It feels like the devs wanted an authentic old-school JRPG experience. And they’ve succeeded, but maybe it’s too much?

Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes Review

Take the inventory limits, for instance. This feels like an old-school mechanic. You’re forced to make hard decisions about what to keep and what to delete while you’re travelling. Which sounds great, but you have a warehouse at home with no size limit. So it’s not ‘what do I keep,’ it’s more like ‘what do I keep at home.’ This is less of a consequential mechanic and more of an inconvenient one. By combining the old-school system with a modern one, you’ve undercut the need for the old-school mechanic to exist in the first place.

Inventory Laments

On the other hand, there are tons of cool systems in Hundred Heroes. The massive War Mode battles make large-scale fights feel more impactful. Pixel art JRPGs have always struggled with depictions of massive engagements. War Mode presents a cool solution to the problem that gives you agency at the same time. Duels are another battle alternative on a smaller scale, though I found them slightly more frustrating. There’s also a trading system that I barely grazed. If you were so inclined, I’m certain you could make tons of money moving products around the market. I appreciate the inclusion of a Rune equipment system, but it’s very limited for a lot of your playthrough. Too many slots are locked for too many characters. Also, the weapon upgrade system is pure busywork. You could excise it from the game completely and it would change nothing.

Though the story didn’t resonate with me as much, I still really enjoyed the writing in this game. The dialogue is clever and well-written, and the voice acting is terrific as well. So many of these Hundred Heroes are unusual, fascinating characters. It hardly makes sense for there to be a Magical Girl archetype in your party, but I’m delighted all the same. The three protagonists are captivating and cool, and even the villains have some standout lines. I even stuck with the English voice track the entire time, which is an unusual achievement for me.

Being a pixel art game, Hundred Heroes runs beautifully on a wider range of PCs. My i7-13620H has no trouble with the game, for example. And these pixels look excellent. The character models are expressive, colorful, and smooth. Boss sprites look massive and properly crisp. The backgrounds and environments are fine, but nothing to write home about. You can tell that the devs spent all their effort on the characters, which is fine by me.

A True Homage

As far as homages go, Hundred Heroes is an exceptional one. That old-school sensibility is captured perfectly, almost to its detriment. The sprite art is exceptional, the voice work is fantastic, and the character designs are excellent. I wish the pacing was more modern, though. And I’d be fine with an updated approach to inventory management. But all that is what makes this such a faithful successor to the Suikoden series. Well, that and the establishment of your own kingdom full of heroes. If you’re looking for the next Suikoden game, this is it! Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes is a worthy ascendant to the Suikoden throne.

***A Steam key was provided by the publisher***

The Good

  • Tons of cool characters
  • Excellent voice acting
  • Sprite art is nice and crisp

The Bad

  • Some outdated mechanics
  • Easy to get lost
  • Breezy regular battles