Bringing You the Daily Dispatch

Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes review – rip-roaring adventure from the late Yoshitaka Murayama
Culture Games

Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes review – rip-roaring adventure from the late Yoshitaka Murayama

While the joyously flexible role-playing game Baldur’s Gate 3 dominated this year’s Bafta game awards, winning the award for best game, there remains a strong nostalgic appetite for plainer, more traditional RPGs. Conceived by Yoshitaka Murayama, a writer-director who made his name during the original PlayStation years, Eiyuden Chronicleraised £3.6m on Kickstarter in 2020 to become the third highest-funded video game ever on the crowdfunding site. It’s a sequel to Murayama’s classic Suikoden series in all but name: a rip-roaring adventure featuring a group of mostly young people tangled in the friction and chaos of two warring neighbouring states.

As with Murayama’s work from the 90s, follows a familiar pattern as you guide your party from settlement to dungeon, your progress regularly interrupted by capricious random battles through which your characters become incrementally more powerful. After a pedestrian prologue, the game unfurls deliciously. Its gimmick is its Pokémon-esque meta-quest: to woo and recruit each of the 100 or so titular heroes to your cause. They begin as a tiny party, then develop into a squadron, to finally become a makeshift army. Every warrior, healer and member of support staff has a name, a personality and an arc. Recruits are encountered across the world. Some enrol the moment you approach; others require cajoling. But the thrill of completing the collection turbo-charges the game’s more conservative, dated appeal, as the recruits can each be slotted into your main six-person team, and directly controlled in battle.

The dialogue is warm and chatty, and while the storyline and voice-acting have the unsophisticated quality of a Saturday morning cartoon, this only compounds its evocative PlayStation-era appeal. Murayama, who fell ill during the final stages of the game’s development, did not live to see its release, dying in February this year, aged 55. Eiyuden Chronicle stands as a monument to his singular design sensibilities, and a testament to the power of a determined community, both within the game’s fiction, and by its very existence.

Source: theguardian.com