Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes Review (PS5)


Every time you boot up Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, you’re met with a dedication that reads: “With our appreciation to all JRPG fans”, which we take as a declaration of intent. Hundred Heroes is a triumphant return to the golden age of esoteric PS1 JRPGs; equipped with a few modern conveniences but designed for an old-school mindset. Visually stunning, with an incredibly vast cast of voiced characters to collect, the game nails the tension of a political thriller and epic of war, but the pace of play, and — at times — lack of direction, can sometimes grate.

From the mind that gave us the Suikoden series, the late Yoshitaka Muriyama, Eiyuden Chronicle is a Kickstarter success story, and the wait has been long for those invested since the onset. Developed at Rabbit & Bear Studios (founded in 2020) and published by 505 Games, it adheres strictly to precepts established in Suikoden and Suikoden II specifically, the titles Muriyama directed. But building on that already strong foundation, the developer has crafted an incredibly confident first effort, delivering on the premise of the project and offering what a particular segment of the audience has been craving.

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Set in the incredibly diverse world of Allraan, the discovery of mysterious objects known as Rune-Lenses brings the simmering tensions between various peoples to the fore. The Galdean Empire, in collaboration with the League of Nations and on the pretext of peace, organises a joint expedition into the mysterious ruins of a lost civilisation known as the Runebarrows, setting in motion a chain of events that will set the world ablaze.

Hundred Heroes is primarily the story of Nowa, a classically heroic young man from a frontier village, but there are plenty of opportunities for the game’s vast cast to come to the fore. Other core characters include an enigmatic Guardian of the Runebarrows, Marisa, and Seign, the second-born scion of House Kesling and a promising graduate from Galdea’s military academy. They each have their parts to play, along with successive tiers of supporting characters — although it’s true that not all are created equal.

Hundred Heroes looks, simply put, stunning. The lavish 2D-pixel character animations lend life to interactions, both in battle and out, and the portraits of each of the more than 100 recruitable party members are singularly great. It’s in the name, of course, but Hundred Heroes does an excellent job of breathing life into each of its scores of characters, giving them, at the very least, a unique voice and gimmick, and the vast ensemble encountered across this sprawling adventure truly steals the show. Some will have significant parts to play in the story; others will be battlefield-focused warriors, wizards, or tacticians. Most are human (our favourite is a pitch-perfect Aussie kangaroo-man), some are children, and more than a few exist to populate the upgradable castle where you keep them all.

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Building this castle is immensely satisfying and occurs throughout a playthrough; players can name it, develop its various functions, and be rewarded appropriately. More than just a gathering of vendors, Hundred Heroes has a surprisingly in-depth regional trade mechanic, and buying resources in one place and selling them in another can be highly lucrative. Various resources will be required to upgrade the castle, as will the specific character needed to operate that addition. Everyone comes together to support the war effort, and seeing Nowa’s adoptive aunt, Martha, happily toiling away to supply food for everybody is strangely somewhat soothing.

While modern (relatively speaking) features like a limited autosave and occasionally giving you a map marker to follow stop this from being a true return to the bad old days, resource management will be essential, and you should expect to wander at times. One early section of the game simply tasks you with finding allies, and it took us several hours of just running from town to town, talking to everyone we could, to find out exactly what the game was demanding.

As another example, dungeons are designed to be quite gruelling — tests of stamina more than strength — and could potentially be frustrating for those unused to the pace it demands. A restriction exists on the number of items that can be carried, and making more room for medicine means less for any potential loot. Casting magic consistently requires a bunch of MP, and staying at inns to restore it is prohibitively expensive. Teleportation is a thing, but you don’t gain access to it for a surprising amount of time. We played on normal difficulty (there is a hard option), but we found the level of challenge to be consistently high, with some proper grinding required.

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Like Suikoden, one-on-one duels and army-on-army engagements occur during specific story moments. Both duels and these climactic battles are an epic and welcome inclusion, even if they lack mechanical depth. Think of them as recurring minigames, which, along with some light fishing and the Bayblade-like battling top game Beigoma, do meaningfully break up what you’re doing.

Combat is largely an automated affair: you can enter each action manually if you like (and at times, it will be essential), but with a party of six active characters and a reasonably high random encounter rate, it’s something you’ll want to streamline. Thankfully, you can get surprisingly granular with how each character acts. Final Fantasy XII fans will appreciate the simplified Gambit system, allowing up to four Priority Actions to be set for each party member, with parameters like healing any character under less than 50 per cent HP or targeting the enemy with the lowest armour.

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This is where the pace of Hundred Heroes really bogs down: in the upkeep of characters. Equipping them with armour and accessories and ensuring every unique weapon is appropriately upgraded is one thing. But then you’ll need to know in what position to place them and what abilities each has and outfit them with runes accordingly. Auto-equip helps, of course, but it’s hardly optimal, and we found ourselves gravitating towards the same characters in a pinch, which didn’t seem in keeping with the theme and occasionally felt like we were somehow playing “wrong”.


Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes is the true spiritual successor to the Suikoden series, capturing what made those games magical and expanding on the premise a hundred-fold. It tells a well-written and verbose tale of courage and endurance, but adherence to some fairly brutal old-school design precepts means it won’t appeal to everyone.

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