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Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is a charming, side-scrolling RPG

Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is a bit of an odd release. It’s a prewar prequel to developer Rabbit & Bear’s other upcoming game, Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, which had an incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign. It was so successful, in fact, that the developer created Rising with some of the money raised.

It might not be the Suikoden spiritual successor fans were waiting for, but it’s not a throwaway bonus crowdfunding reward either. Seamless, satisfying combat and steady story pacing easily usher newcomers in and immerse them in its world. At least, that’s what I experienced when I played 30 minutes of the game at PAX East 2022.

A side-scrolling RPG

Many characters from Hundred Heroes overlap with Rising, but the protagonists differ. Adventurer CJ is on the way to the town of New Neveah to fulfill a rite of passage as a Scavenger (aka treasure hunter). Unfortunately, CJ learns that all adventurers in town need a permit from the mayor to mine for treasure and also need to pay significant taxes on whatever they find. The “rapacious” Mayor Isha offers her an alternative payment: Complete enough chores for villagers to earn the license. From here, the story unfolds as CJ meets new friends and embarks on a quest beyond what she originally imagined.

CJ slashes at enemy

Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is a side-scrolling action RPG, so those used to multidirectional movement might need time to adjust. It isn’t a platformer, but some of the gameplay resembles one. CJ will often need to hop ledge to ledge and strike flying foes at the right time to avoid damage. Aside from that, those familiar with RPGs should recognize many of the mechanics like health, character stats, and others.

CJ wields an ax and high attack stat that can smash through enemies, and a special ability that is basically a dodge roll (in this case, a dodge dash). As for items, players should expect typical fantasy RPG staples like potions and resources that can be used on different quests. I didn’t have much of a problem defeating the first boss, which was pretty intuitive to figure out, though I felt compelled to use one of the free potions I received to survive the fight. Monster levels scale appropriately enough that, even a half-hour in, higher-level ones popped up to increase difficulty. The story has yet to hook me, but players definitely won’t run out of tasks to do with all the quests offered at the beginning of the game.

CJ fights blob in Eiyuden

I’d like to play more of Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising, if at least to meet more of the characters. The text and cartoonish expressions bring out their charm and make certain moments more comedic than they should be — like when CJ holds up a cat named Yum-Yum by the armpits. I only got to play CJ during the demo, so I didn’t get to experiment with or appraise the character variety. You can play as other characters, such as long-range mage Isha and kangaroo swordsman Garoo, though. No major conflict becomes apparent in the first 30 to 60 minutes. However, it could be more peaceful on purpose considering Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising’s setting.

Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising launches on May 10, 2022 for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Nintendo Switch. Its sequel, Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, will follow next year.

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