Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising – Review
Follow Genre: Action-adventure game, RPG
Developer: NatsumeAtari, Rabbit & Bear Studios
Publisher: 505 Games
Platform: Switch, PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
Tested on: Switch

Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising – Review

Site Score
Good: Accessible combat system
Bad: Side quests could've used more variety
User Score
(2 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.5/10 (2 votes cast)

Two years ago, developer Rabbit & Bear Studios ran a Kickstarter for Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, a JRPG helmed by game director Yoshitaka Murayama, who is best known for the Suikoden series as well as The Alliance Alive. The Kickstarter was a huge success, but unfortunately, Hundred Heroes suffered some delays and the game is still in development. Enter Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising, a spin-off title that serves as an appetiser for Hundred Heroes’ main course. Developed by NatsumeAtari (of Harvest Moon fame), Rising isn’t a traditional JRPG like Hundred Heroes is supposed to be, but a side-scrolling action adventure that also incorporates town building sim elements. So how does it size up?


Our story begins with our main heroine, CJ, aiding an anthropomorphic lizard merchant as he is waylaid by bandits. After rescuing the unlucky reptile, he introduces himself as Hogan, and he takes CJ to New Nevaeh, a small town that will serve as the game’s hub area down the line. The inhabitants of New Nevaeh are more than happy to provide CJ with all sorts of jobs, and eventually, our heroine runs into and befriends Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising’s other two main characters: Isha, a young girl with magical powers -who also happens to be New Nevaeh’s mayor- and Garoo, a mercenary kangaroo. This unlikely trio sets out to discover the secrets of the Runebarrows, the ancient ruins beneath the town, which are filled with treasure as well as monsters. Of course, this is easier said than done, and although we won’t spoil the secrets of the Runebarrows here, rest assured that you’re getting an excellently written adventure here, filled with genuinely endearing characters. As Rising serves as a prequel to Hundred Heroes, it’s clear that anyone that is interested in the main title should take a look at Rising, as it sets up certain plot points that we cannot wait to see play out when Hundred Heroes comes out next year.


Juxtaposing 2D character sprites against 3D environments is a stylistic choice that is gradually becoming a more common sight. We’ve seen something like this with Square Enix’s so-called “2D-HD” art style in games like Octopath Traveler and Triangle Strategy. Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising uses a similar approach to its art direction, albeit with hand-drawn character sprites rather than pixelated ones. The similarities don’t end there either: character designs also felt very reminiscent of what you’d see in a Square Enix title. The end result looks great, although resorting to sprites rather than actually animating character attacks makes the movement of the cast look like they’re paper dolls rather than creatures of flesh and blood. We also noticed that the Switch version of the game looked slightly blurry throughout, though it didn’t bother us enough to really detract from our enjoyment of the gameplay.


The main highlight in Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising’s soundscape is the fantastic OST, which evokes an atmosphere similar to the Mana series. While we absolutely loved the music, it is pretty much the only good thing about Rising in terms of audio though, as sound effects are generic and there is a frustrating lack of voice work. This is one game that really could have benefited from some voice acting to breathe life into the wonderful menagerie of anthropomorphic NPCs.


As we mentioned in the intro, Rising isn’t a classic JRPG like the highly anticipated Hundred Heroes, but a 2.5D side-scrolling action-adventure RPG instead. Players take control of CJ, and eventually her allies, as they venture into the Runebarrows, which are dungeon-esque areas filled with treasure but also a variety of enemies and bosses. The main story is a very linear experience, with the ultimate goal being of course to explore the entirety of the Runebarrows and develop the town of New Neavah into a bustling metropolis. You don’t have to worry about planning out your city or how to dedicate your resources, as this is handled automatically for you. The only influence you have on the way the town develops is by taking on specific side quests, which can be done at your leisure.

We cannot understate how much of this game is focused on combat, so it’s a good thing that the combat system is incredibly satisfying, especially when you’re a couple of hours into the game. Everything starts out deceptively simplistic, with Rising giving you ample time to get used to each of the three heroes’ fighting styles. CJ performs quick attacks using her twin axes, Garoo delivers massive damage with his sword but is a lot slower to attack, and Isha can fire off ranged magical attacks. You can switch between your heroes at the push of a button, and this is essential to performing well in combat as the trio’s attacks can be linked together to create combos, dealing large amounts of damage.

As you progress through the game, the treasure you gather will be used to turn New Nevaeh from a quiet town into a bustling city, with new buildings that in turn can be used to improve your heroes and equip them with all sorts of handy items. Buildings can also be upgraded, unlocking even more new toys for your party to play with, and there is a real sense of growth, both when it comes to your characters and to the way New Nevaeh presents itself. A major factor here is the game’s pacing: Rising is a slow burn, perhaps a bit too slow. It’s a fairly short game, clocking in at around 15 hours or so, but it doesn’t really get going after roughly halfway through the game. If you’re looking for a quick adrenaline rush, this isn’t the game for you, but we found this approach surprisingly refreshing as it meant we didn’t have to wrap our head around an overload of mechanics. Not that there isn’t any complexity to these mechanics, as mastering link attacks and combos are the keys to beating the bosses.

If there’s one issue we had with Rising‘s gameplay, then it would be the side quests. New Nevaeh’s villagers request the help of our trio fairly often, but there simply isn’t enough variety here to make things interesting: every side quest is a simple fetch quest, which grows really old really fast. The rewards are definitely worth it, as completed quest objectives typically are the catalyst to upgrading New Nevaeh’s buildings, which in turn grants bonuses to your party. If the quests themselves had been more interesting though, our experience would’ve been more enjoyable and we would’ve taken them on because we actually wanted to and not out of a misplaced sense of obligation.

Granted, Rising isn’t a game you’re going to want to rush through or play for hours on end, because no matter how satisfying the combat system is, the game can feel quite repetitive after a while. There is a lot of backtracking here, with areas being blocked off until you get the right tools to get past any barriers that stand in your way. To avoid Rising becoming tedious, this is a game that is most enjoyable if you’re playing it in bursts of an hour or so. The inherent simplicity of the mechanics means that even if you put the game aside for a few weeks, you won’t have any issues jumping straight back in without having to worry about how everything worked again.


While Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising isn’t without its flaws, it’s a fantastic little game that really made us eager to revisit this world when Hundred Heroes releases next year. It’s a game that’s best savored and tackled in short single-dungeon bursts rather than rushed through, and we would’ve loved more sidequest variety. The easy-to-learn combat system and excellent writing more than make up for that, however. The relatively low price point makes this a title you should definitely consider adding to your library.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.5/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising - Review, 9.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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