When it comes to games, having enough content to enjoy is certainly desirable. You put money down for something, so you clearly want to get a fair amount of enjoyment out of it. Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising knows this, but doesn’t go about it in a great way. The game is peppered with an enormous amount of fetch quests that take little time to become horribly dull. That being said, Eiyuden Chronicle‘s visuals are quite lovely, if generic. And it has some decently entertaining combat and exploration, even if things are on the simple side and there’s probably a bit too much dialogue. If a side-scrolling action RPG with an emphasis on tedious upgrades and colorful worlds intrigues you, you can have fun. But your patience may wear out in the meantime.
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is a sort of prequel to the Kickstarted game, Eiyuden Chronicle, which is planned for release in the future. It’s set in the same world, but has totally different gameplay. Rising tells the story of a teenage adventurer named CJ, who sets off on a journey. She’s a scavenger, and can’t return to her people until she finds an item more impressive than the one her father found when he was her age. That obviously doesn’t sound like a sustainable rite of passage, does it?
Along the way, CJ meets Isha, the town’s acting mayor, and a talking kangaroo mercenary simply called Garoo (clever). The three join up to explore the mysterious ruins while searching for Isha’s father. As the game goes on, the three journey through a series of very familiar fantasy locations, including a forest, a snowy peak, and lava ruins filled with enemies that burn you. It’s all trite stuff, but it gets the job done. There’s a ton of dialogue and it’s competently written, even if the story isn’t all that interesting.
What is intriguing about Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is that three of the face buttons control each of the three characters, with the jump button allowing all of them to jump. Pressing a button will swap to another character, letting you change between them on the fly. They have different attacks and special abilities. CJ is absolutely the best, as she’s quick and can dash and double jump. Garoo is obnoxiously slow, but has the ability to block enemy attacks with the right timing. Isha shoots magic orbs, but they recharge very slowly, plus she can teleport a short distance and slow her descent while falling.
Characters can only be swapped and abilities can only be used out in adventure areas, however. You’ll spend a lot of time exploring, sure, but you take just as much time in town, where you can only control CJ — minus the double jumping and dashing.
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising has 150 or so side quests that are always popping up. Completing these gives you a stamp. The more stamps you have, the better items you can acquire at the trading post. However, it takes a ton of stamps to get access to noteworthy items. To put it bluntly, the sidequests are of the fetch variety. Go grab this item here and go back. Go talk to this person. Many of them take seconds to complete.They’re pure busy work and stop being fun fairly quickly.
Another central hook in the game is that questing allows CJ to the town, building or upgrading new establishments. I was intrigued by this, because I thought it might be somewhat similar to the Dark Cloud series. But here it’s rudimentary, and not all that satisfying. At least the shopkeepers tend to need suspiciously few materials, but this is mostly to keep the game from getting too grindy.
Necessary materials are all found in the adventure fields by hitting harvest points or defeating certain enemies. There are a great many things to buy in town, so much that it’s almost annoying. You can upgrade each character’s weapons and armor at the smithy, but there are additional weapon and armor upgrades at the weapon and armor shops. CJ’s two bags are also upgradeable, along with character elemental abilities. There’s a lot. And even if you do every sidequest you come across, you’ll run out of money and either have to sell unneeded items or wait until later to buy more upgrades. There are way too many weapon and armor upgrades, unfortunately.
Combat is fine, though I wish it was more immediate. You can chain the three character attacks together, which allows you to teleport another character into position to follow up the previous character’s attack. Enemies are fairly generic, but variable enough. Again, you’ll mostly be using CJ due to how limited Isha and Garoo are, but she is the main character, after all.
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising thankfully makes getting around extremely easy. You can freely warp to any part of town or the entrance to the adventure fields whenever you’re not in an adventure field. While in said field, though, have to fast travel to signposts, of which there are a great many. It can be a bit confusing to pick where you want to go due to the number of them, but the quest descriptions typically make it fairly straightforward. Following the main quest is similarly easy to understand. Exclamation points on a map lead you to where to go, or there’ll be a blank spot you have yet to visit. There are even crystals blocking your path that you’ll be able to come back to later once you get the right item to break them.
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is an enjoyable game overall. But the familiarity and grind can get boring, especially if you want to gun through sidequests for stamps. Regardless, this is a colorful, well-made RPG with detailed 3D backgrounds and vibrant character artwork, even if the chibi nature of the designs can feel somewhat wanting. Still, the game does a solid job of entertaining most of the time and whets the appetite for Eiyuden Chronicles: Hundred Heroes itself, which will be developed by people behind the Suikoden games.