Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising acts as something of a prologue to the crowdfunded Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, which is aiming for a 2023 release on PS5 and PS4. It's a side-scrolling action RPG with an emphasis on character-switching combat, but it also dabbles in Metroidvania-esque exploration and even town building. An interesting mix at a glance, but it takes hours for Rising's systems to really click — and the game's not that long to begin with.
It is quite easy to fall for Rising's charm early on, though. The game boasts some lovely art direction, and the whole adventure has a cosy, old school JRPG vibe to it, despite its side-scrolling fundamentals. Its main cast of characters is also decent, sporting fun personalities propped against a whimsical fantasy setting. The story's not that interesting — ancient ruins and ancient secrets — but for the most part, it's enjoyably straightforward, and there's certainly potential in the world building.
Gameplay structure is where Rising stumbles. It's absolutely packed with tediously dull side quests, which help pad out an otherwise brief excursion. There is a kind of laid-back appeal to these objectives — you can generally grind through them without much thought — but the sheer amount of basic fetch quests means that your patience will likely be tested.
The problem is that side quests offer up important rewards, like character upgrades and improvements to the town's facilities. If you want to get to the good stuff, you've got to embrace the tedium — and that's especially true of the title's combat mechanics.
On a base level, Rising's combat is okay. The controls are fairly smooth, and the character switching works well as you rack up heavy-hitting combos. But it all becomes much more engaging as you gain access additional abilities and attacks — the aforementioned good stuff that's locked behind the grind. Now, we're not saying that you should just have everything unlocked from the start, but fights can feel unnecessarily stunted until you can make use of specific skills.
If you can stomach its disappointingly dull quests, Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is a solid enough action RPG. Some pretty visuals and a cosy JRPG vibe do a lot to mask its flaws.