Eiyuden Chonicle: Hundred Heroes has compelling combat and spectacular visuals | Hands-on preview

by on March 20, 2024

Over the years crowdfunding has enabled a whole host of cracking games to be created with great success. Those early years of Double Fine funding a classic adventure game and Playtonic bringing back collectathon 3D platforming back in the form of Yooka Laylee felt like such a wild time, but there are still plenty of video games that use Kickstarter and the like to fund their creation. Back in 2020 one such success story was Eiyuden Chonicle: Hundred Heroes, when legendary JRPG creators Yoshitaka Murayama and Junko Kawano joined forces to make a throwback to the golden ages of the genre.

Both well known for their work on the Suikoden series, Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes wears its inspiration on its sleeve. Featuring one hundred different characters to recruit and an epic adventure through a war torn land, Hundred Heroes tells a story full of powerful magic, humanoid animals and a kind hearted boy called Nowa.

A screenshot of Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes

I was able to play the first five hours of Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes for this preview, which started with Nowa joining The League of Nations. This group of like-minded individuals aim to help out the citizens of Allraan by any means necessary, which suits lovely Nowa perfectly. You’ll immediately start meeting a host of other heroes looking to make the world a better place, like the grizzled veteran wolfman Garr and the ever excitable fighter Lian. Every character you meet in the early hours of the game is just so immediately charming, and the fantastic voice acting helps with this.

Once you’ve met your allies, you’re sent on a mission to investigate an ancient ruin that’s been discovered nearby that might be housing a powerful magical artefact. It’s a simple enough quest, but one that gets you out into the world and fighting off random encounters with your various weapons and magic.

The combat in Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes is classic turn-based stuff, with each member of your party attacking, defending or using a powerful skill or magic attack when their turn comes around. RPG fans will feel immediately at home slicing their way through lizards and egg monsters in battle, but the snappiness of combat really elevates it above those traditional games. Once you’ve selected the moves your party will make they dive one after the other into the fray, and because of that you aren’t stuck watching slow animations that get old fast.

A screenshot of Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes

The skills each character can use are based on runes you can equip to them, which have a variety of effects. Some runes just give you stat boosts, but others give you access to magic and abilities you otherwise wouldn’t be able to use. You unlock more rune slots as you level up, but in the preview I only really had a couple of them to play around with.

Once you’ve got the hang of leading your team of heroes to victory, you might find basic encounters a bit more trivial and less exciting. Well that’s where the auto battle function comes in, which features a whole host of settings for you to play with to ensure your team acts how you want them to. You can set maximum amounts of SP usage for each character, give them a list of priorities of what abilities to use and even ensure they target the enemy you’d prefer them to. For a game that will likely (we’d guess) last over fifty hours it’s a really lovely feature, and one that I’ll be making liberal use of.

Fighting monsters is one thing, but the real hook of Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes is recruiting new members to the team. All over Allraan you’ll find characters willing to team up with you in combat, making exploration essential. Some will just require a quick chat to recruit, others might want you to go and prove your strength by beating up some wild boar over at the nearby mountain. I was able to gather up ten teammates in this preview build of the game, and they were all so likable that I struggled to choose which six I’d take into battle with me.

A screenshot of Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes

No preview of Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes could be complete without talking about the visuals, which are simply breath-taking. The 2.5D aesthetic is used wonderfully here, with much more detailed and vibrant sprites than most other games that use the style. I honestly can’t remember the last time I was this impressed by how a game looks: it’s just incredible.

I really loved the time I got to spend with Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, and can’t wait to check out the full game closer to release. The game just feels like such a throwback to those legendary JRPGs of the past, with compelling combat and spectacular visuals that are bound to keep me hooked for the long haul. If you’ve been playing RPGs for years and have fond memories of the classics then Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes is a game that should be firmly on your radar.

Eiyuden Chonicle: Hundred Heroes is coming to PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch on April 23rd.