Calum Petrie reviews Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising…
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is a charming throwback to the early JRPGs, while blending the pixel art sprites with some gorgeous 2.5D backgrounds. Starting life as a Kickstarter campaign stretch goal, this game is actually a prequel/companion game to the upcoming Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes. Though to call it a companion game is a little bit insulting as this is a proper full adventure itself, which is just the right length and size to pull me in and keep me entertained. So with that intro out of the way, let us get into my review of Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising.
This wonderful little title was developed by Rabbit and Bear Studios, a new studio that has a long heritage of JRPG titles and values at its heart. The game starts focused on CJ, a scavenger girl who has grand dreams of becoming a world class treasure hunter. Sent to the mining town of New Nevah, her rite of passage is tied to her finding a relic known as a “Humungous Lens”; which is a device that can channel magic and allow it to be wielded by ordinary people.
Turning up at the town, you find the place has seen better days and new treasure hunters are tasked with helping to restore the town to its former glory. Recently being hit with localised earthquakes you have to put CJ to good use to rebuild the town, then to go forth and in search of the Humungous Lens.
My first impressions of this game were not the greatest to be fair. I am coming off the back of Elden Ring and have been plagued with choice and open world exploration and customisation to pull me in for a couple of months now, so a very linear story was not the most appealing. I found the early stages of the game to be extremely repetitive, then to top it all off my character was given a stamp card to fill out; I nearly gave up there and then.
The first couple of hours was a lot, and I do mean a lot, of back-and-forth fetch quests; this was mind numbing for me and it involved so much running back and forth covering the same 6 or 7 screens over and over again. It was not until I came back to it a day or two later that I discovered the fast travel mechanic that by pressing the “Select” button (or whatever Xbox call their equivalent of that) I can instantly travel to anywhere as long it is outside of the dungeons. This sped up the gameplay tenfold and I ended up putting in a 5-hour sitting in one session. The gameplay became a lot more enjoyable when I took the monotony out of the travel time.
Something to note, I was given a code for the Xbox Series edition of the game, so I split my playthrough over Xbox Series X, Xbox One X and Game Pass Cloud Streaming (using a Razer Kishi). The game did differ slightly on each platform, I found the smoothest version of the game was definitely on the Xbox Series X, the most modern and quickest of the lot.
The Xbox One X edition did play the game very well though on occasions I encountered some sound skipping and slight flicking with the graphics. The game does run extremely well via cloud streaming but this boils down to your internet connection and what device you are playing it on. Overall the game handled all three platforms very well and if you are playing via cloud streaming, the stamp card side quest to the game is excellent for short burst of gameplay.
Passing the 6-hour mark of Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising finally saw it flourish into the style of game I was expecting from the get go. The player gets to control 3 different characters with the respective X, Y and B buttons in combat. The just means that the three characters CJ, Garoo and Isha all have unique combat styles, though these essentially boil down to quick attack, heavy attack and magic attack with one character delivering a specific style. The game certainly has an introduction to the core mechanics and you will not be getting handed everything within the first hour. I will say, that if this is a prequel game to the yet unreleased Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes I better not be made to sit through half of these tutorials again.
The game’s soundtrack is ridiculously cute and upbeat, matching the character of CJ. It almost has a catchy head bop element to the soundtrack. The games graphics are absolutely beautiful though, with the pixel art characters and painfully handcrafted backgrounds it blends together wonderfully to create a visual spectacle. If you do not appreciate the games story, music or characters then you have to tilt your proverbial hat to the games art direction. It is simply a project of passion and sheer dedication to create something so wonderful from hand.
So wrapping up, my journey with this title might have been slow and hard to get into, but I put that down to the previous titles I had been playing. Coming back to a simple and straight forward JRPG has been a lovely pallet cleanser. Eiyuden Chronicles: Rising is not a genre breaking title that I am saying is a must buy, but if you have an Xbox Game Pass subscription you can certainly have fun and spend a good 8 – 12 hours with this game depending on what level of completionist you are attempting to be. Step back to a game that is not overly complicated, and charms you with its characters, setting and story.
Rating – 7/10
You can follow me on Twitter – @Cetrie