Here’s the thing, this game is more of a small prequel to a larger game: Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes. This is an important thing to note when going into this as it’s not really designed to be a full adventure, but rather set up the stage for the main dish coming in 2023. But still, does Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising do a good job of setting the stage? After all, sometimes first impressions last a lifetime.
…a little more “action” than “RPG”…
If you expected this to be an RPG, you’re only partially correct. It’s more of a 2D side-scroller action RPG, and that’s an important distinction. The combat is purely based on your own direct inputs. The good news is that it works great. And while a little more “action” than “RPG”, if you’ve spent any time in the good ol’ days of 2D action games, you’ll adapt rather quickly. This also factors into the exploration and navigation: it’s more of a light platformer than anything else. Unfortunately, it’s platforming elements pale in comparison to the actual genre which means this game’s left rather light on the RPG part. So light, in fact, that you’ll only spend brief moments looking at your stats, changing gear, or even upgrading it for that matter. Not that too much time spent doing that is good, either, but these are still important things to know going into this. So you have intense action combat, light platforming, and very little time spent building your characters. What’s left, then? Well, you might not like the answer: side quests. Yes, I said SIDE quests. Not the main quests, but the side quests, just wanted to say that a third time to be clear.
…the game relies so heavily on side quests…
I saw the credits roll in a little over 11 hours. That sounds pretty ample for such a low budget game, right? Unfortunately, here’s where the game hits its major flaw: with such limited overall real estate, the game relies so heavily on side quests and backtracking that the majority of this game’s content is, indeed, side quests. Those stamps at the top of your screen? Each of those is a sidequest, and there are 160 of them. I completed 105 just for you to know this… yup, 105 side quests. Some can be completed with little more effort than breathing, but it’s just too much backtracking to feel worth it. I get that it’s likely setting up this town for the main game, but it’s a pretty big oof when the majority of your content is meaningless errands.
…there’s quite a lot of depth and visual flourish.
It’s all good news from here, fortunately. The graphics are better than you think they are, and I found myself actually impressed by the work done on the backgrounds. For a 2D side scroller, there’s quite a lot of depth and visual flourish. Naturally, they save on the characters which are purely 2D pixels, but it all works out rather well and ends up having just the right amount of modern and classic style combined. Could there be a little more animation in the characters? Sure, but that’s a minor gripe in a clearly low-cost game and the work on the environments more than makes up for it. In fact, it’s likely that the animation budget is going towards the main game and Rising makes it very clear it’s just a stage set up. The characters and story don’t develop very far, but not in a bad way: they do a good job of making me care just enough about the world lore that I’m curious how this all ties into the upcoming Hundred Heroes.
…a good budget prequel…
This is a bite-size game, and it’s supposed to be. Its competent in its adaptations of 2D action combat and light platforming in lieu of being an RPG, though this may come as a surprise to some given it’s a prequel to a more classic RPG formula. Unfortunately, it burdens itself with meaningless side quests to the point where they are instead the main dish, a ratio that really isn’t favorable. But the presentation values, on the other hand, provide a properly balanced ratio between modern and classic. All-in-all, it’s a good budget prequel that wisely chooses not to bite off more than it can chew because it’s only here to set up for something bigger.