Trailer footage of the three main characters of Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes

I Backed Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes – Here’s Why I Dropped It After A Week

When I backed Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes in 2020, I had high hopes for the game. Not astronomically high hopes, as I had never played any game in the series that directly inspired it, Suikoden. But given the pedigree of the team behind it, as well as my desire for a classic JRPG experience, I decided to back the game.

Recommended Videos

So for the past four years, I received updates about the game and occasionally voted in the character polls presented to backers. I won’t say I was actively engaged with the game’s development, but when an email popped into my inbox updating me about the game, I would casually read through it. As we got closer and closer to the game’s release and the reality that it was actually coming out was beginning to dawn on me, I started to get excited, especially when I got the game a week early thanks to me donating enough for a physical version of the game.

Here I was, with a brand new JRPG from a proven development team that has created games many fans of the genre would consider classics, and I had it before everyone else. I could trek into this world and explore it entirely on my own. No feedback, no guides, no nothing. Just talking with the other Escapist team members who received the game early as we all went through the game blind. So I spent the better part of the week going through the game. It was at a casual pace, especially given how I dislocated my thumb during that week, but as I slowly began to plug away at the game, I realized that it wasn’t clicking with me. Not only that, but after a little over a dozen hours, I wasn’t motivated to keep going. Despite waiting four years for this game, it took me less than a week to drop it. 

Screenshot of fighting a Phantombird in Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes.
Screenshot by The Escapist

I’m no stranger to JRPGs so it’s not like I was put off due to the antiquated mechanics harkening back to the PS1 era of JRPGs. In fact, I liked that old-school turn-based approach. Deciding each of my party member’s actions and understanding the intricacies of the Weapon Range system made me genuinely think about party placement in a way that most other JRPGs don’t. The steeper difficulty also was somewhat refreshing since it kept me involved with the combat and my moment to moment decisions rather than just turn on auto-battle or mash the X button and call it a day. 

No, what turned me off of the game was its glacial pacing. Again, I’m no stranger to having slow-burn narratives where our plucky JRPG protagonist starts off with small conflicts and working their way up to massive, fate of the world battles, but Eiyuden Chronicle is too slow for its own good. The first 15 hours of the game have you peddling about slowly observing that the obviously evil Empire is finding a way to justify their aggressive expansion to control the continent. So when we see the pieces slowly being placed on the board, I find myself waiting for the game to just pull the trigger and get its plot moving rather than prolong the inevitable reveal.

For most of the early hours, the game kept me on a tight path, sending me on small missions here and there and defeating whatever foes I may come across. There are some sidequests you can engage with, ones that will net you new party members, but I rarely felt inclined to actually recruit any of them. Sometimes it was because I simply didn’t care about the character I could potentially recruit while other times it was from a much larger, systemic issue I had with the core premise of Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes. 

Screenshot of Mellore.
Screenshot by The Escapist

None of these characters I interacted with were particularly interesting, which is somewhat of a problem when the game advertises that it has over 100 heroes to bring into your party. While Nowa is a fairly inoffensive lead, the rest of the characters he interacts with in the early hours of the game don’t really do much of anything for me. They’re either annoyingly over-the-top, like Lian, who is a forced comic relief character that wore out her welcome in a few minutes, or are aggressively boring with little developed character traits, which nearly every other party member falls into. The only characters I can say I liked in the early hours of the game were Ymir for his cynical and sardonic outlook on your actions, and Francesca for her consistently entertaining Jekyll and Hyde persona. The rest are completely interchangeable. 

And when so many party members feel completely superfluous and lack any impact, it makes me disinclined to recruit them. Why would I want to engage in a lengthy sidequest where the reward is just another party member I’m going to bench right away? Because that’s what it came across as in those early hours. Whenever I earned a new party member, I just immediately placed them in my reserves and continued with a core group that I had a good strategy with. Occasionally I would swap out some party members if the plot required it or if I wanted to focus more on magic for a particular story sequence, but those instances were only to vary up what was a pretty status strategy I developed.

It all fed into a loop that I felt like I wasn’t playing the game right. By not switching out my party members, I felt like I would somehow be unprepared for whatever the game may throw at me. I knew I had a core group I could rely on, but in the event the game forced me with a party I wasn’t prepared with, then I would be out of luck. And with over 100 heroes to manage, some of whom could be in your party while others were merely support character, the feeling that I was somehow doing things wrong only intensified. And with how slowly the game was introducing its mechanics and its halfhearted characters, the harder it was for me to stay engaged. 

Screenshot of the Town Development menu in Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes.
Screenshot by The Escapist

At about the 10 hour mark, I finally felt like the game was opening up. I had unlocked the headquarters, which was advertised as a major moment not only in the game’s narrative but unlocked an entire new gameplay system, which felt exciting. Then once I realized that I could barely do anything to build my base at the moment, I felt immediately deflated. It took another handful of hours to unlock fast traveling, but that only made it easier to comb previous towns to find new party members that I could add to my increasing rosters. To some, this pacing does offer a gradual and believable progression from a ragtag mercenary group to an army that I’m sure pays off in the endgame. To me, it just made me doubt how much progress I was actually making in the game.

Things had certainly happened in the plot, but the moment to moment gameplay still made me feel like nothing of real value happened. I barely had the 100 heroes the game advertised. I had a base, but it was being upgraded at a pathetically slow pace. A story was happening, but I felt like Nowa and his team were stumbling their way into minor conflicts instead of being proactive and attempting to stop the Empire’s advances. Every little bit of progress I made felt too insignificant for me to get worked up. By the time I reached 15 hours and I felt like I barely did anything meaningful, I decided to throw in the towel. I gave Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes a fair chance and I went into it with the best of intentions, but it just didn’t pan out.

Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes is another case of a game where its intro is going to be the biggest hurdle getting newcomers into it. Like Kingdom Hearts II, Final Fantasy XIII, and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, the laborious pace of the intro hurts what is, conceptually, an interesting game. Again, the moment to moment battles are perfectly fine and better than the standard JRPG that I’m sure only becomes better as the game goes on, but after giving it 15 hours of my time, that’s not even a surefire guarantee. I don’t care if it becomes a 10/10 masterpiece, which it doesn’t seem like it is, but if I feel unimpressed by what I’m playing, why would I keep playing?

Eiyuden Chronicle Game Pass

It’s a shame too because I was optimistic towards Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes. I believed in it and I gave it a shot, both with my money and my time. It didn’t impress me and that’s perfectly fine. I don’t feel betrayed or burned by my lack of interest and the overwhelming sensation that I was playing the game wrong. Instead I just accepted that and moved onto other games that did pique my curiosity. It’s unfortunate, but that’s the way it is sometimes. Sometimes games that you’re looking forward to just aren’t able to grip you and you drop them before you feel like you wasted your time.

Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes is available now.


The Escapist is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article The Most Expensive Pokemon Cards (You Might Actually Have)
Image of many Pokemon cards spread out over the background, with an increasing stock symbol in front
Read Article Solo Leveling Arise Needs to Be Better About Not Wasting the Player’s Time
Read Article Magic Was Always Part of the Star Wars Universe
The Nightsister coven in Ahsoka Season 1
Related Content
Read Article The Most Expensive Pokemon Cards (You Might Actually Have)
Image of many Pokemon cards spread out over the background, with an increasing stock symbol in front
Read Article Solo Leveling Arise Needs to Be Better About Not Wasting the Player’s Time
Read Article Magic Was Always Part of the Star Wars Universe
The Nightsister coven in Ahsoka Season 1
Author
Jesse Lab
Jesse Lab is a freelance writer for The Escapist and has been a part of the site since 2019. He currently writes the Frame Jump column, where he looks at and analyzes major anime releases. He also writes for the film website Flixist.com. Jesse has been a gamer since he first played Pokémon Snap on the N64 and will talk to you at any time about RPGs, platformers, horror, and action games. He can also never stop talking about the latest movies and anime, so never be afraid to ask him about recommendations on what's in theaters and what new anime is airing each season.