Apr 26, 201185The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky is the first of a trilogy, and it makes a strong case to bring the rest of the story arc to North America. Though some of the core design feels left behind compared to modern standards, the story line is very impressive and the title manages to be quite fun even as it sticks closely to traditional JRPG mechanics. If you're looking for a lengthy, meaty RPG you can take with you wherever you go, this title will make a fine option.
10I played the Japanese version years ago, and this is by far one of the best story-driven jrpgs ever created. Its pacing may seem a bit slow at first, but its setting and characters need to be introduced in such a way since this game is only the first chapter in a massive series encompassing many titles (the first three have already been announced by xseed)..
The world (aka the Liberl kingdom) is explored directly and is really vast (the cities are especially great because of their details), the setting is so full of lore it rivals some of the best fantasy novels and computer rpgs (you can find informations on practically anything you are interested into, and there are many books to read and newspapers that details the kingdom of Liberl's events), the battle system is a unique and extremely enjoyable mix of turn based combat and strategical depth and the characters can have many possible setups thanks to the quartz, somewhat like final fantasy 7's materia. Somewhat like computer rpgs series like Dragon Age and Mass Effect, Trails allows you to use the final save data in the next game, retaining your levels and slightly altering its events depending on the quests you have done.
Every fan of jrpgs with a powerful and deep story, a great battle system and a believable world would do well to buy it and its even more awesome sequel, Trails Second Chapter, when it's released.… Expand
10Fans overseas probably know Falcom best for their Ys series, thanks largely to XSEED's efforts in bringing over some of their newest PSP titles. What they might not know (yet) is that Falcom has a second flagship series that is even more popular in Japan and Asia generally, this being Legend of Heroes. The series began as an offshoot of Dragon Slayer, a massive franchise that includes Xanadu, Drasle Family and the original Sorcerian, all of which had English releases in one form or another. Legend of Heroes began as the sixth Dragon Slayer game but has since become a franchise of its own. The third through fifth games were ported to the PSP and localized by Bandai, though anyone who has played those games should NOT assume that they're representative of what a LoH game should be. The poor localization ruined the best part of those games: the characters and story. Fortunately for us all, XSEED has done right by this franchise and given the first game in the Kiseki/Trails franchise the localization it deserves.
Oh yes, make no mistake that this is a franchise within a franchise. The four (soon to be five) games in this saga are among Falcom's most popular, so much so that the most recent game sold out on preorders before its release date and Falcom announced an early stock price increase based on that success. The fifth game is expected to do just as well and in the meanwhile Interwise is going to the effort of producing a high-definition PC version of the fourth game for Chinese gamers.
So, what do gamers in Japan and China know that gamers overseas don't yet? Simply that these are without hyperbole some of the best RPGs you'll ever play and take place in what might be the most intricately detailed world to ever appear in a video game. This title takes place entirely in Liberl kingdom but don't let that put you off. Most RPG kingdoms have a city, maybe a town or two and no particular reason for existing aside to give mapmakers something to fill in the blanks. Every city in Liberl exists for a reason and every person has a reason for living there. This is quite simply a dream game for anyone who wants to really get sucked into a world.
One reason this game has resisted translation for so long is the sheer size of the script: Over 1.5 million characters in Japanese. Your typical Final Fantasy game doesn't even have half that. With a script that size, this game is very dialogue-heavy. While a lot of text goes into the main story, there are also a huge number of variant lines for NPCs, giving the player the sense of existing in a real and evolving world. The prologue alone has about ten different sets of dialogue for its NPCs and I encourage everyone to go and see all those variants. Not only will you learn more about the world and its inhabitants but you never know when someone will have a quest or an item, most of which are extremely time-limited.
As you might gather from the above, this game focuses very heavily on the story but that doesn't mean the gameplay is neglected. Battles are fought on a grid, all eight characters have a unique mix of Crafts and the Orbment system allows you a measure of customization. One feature of particular note is the S-Break. When you have 100 CP or more, you gain access to powerfu S-Crafts (not all of which are offensive but all of which are useful) and you can trigger them at any time, even during an enemy turn. Doing so allows you to interrupt the turn order and provides many potential advantages. Later games in the series add even more features so if you like the system here you'll love the later games.
As anyone who's played the Ys games knows, Falcom does good music. Really really good music. This game is absolutely no exception. When multiple fan contests on both sides of the Pacific decide that a song from this game should occupy the #1 slot, that should tell you something. As good as Silver Will is, the rest of the soundtrack more than manages to keep up.
Being a Legend of Heroes game, the plot and characters are the heart of the game and XSEED's translation delivers both with all the emotion they should be presented with. Rather than sing their praises I encourage everyone to check it out for themselves. The beginning is a little slow but once you get to Chapter 2 you'll be hooked. These are not cookie-cutter characters (and if you try to mentally place them in a box, they'll probably jump out and stomp the box) and the plot has some amazing developments, especially at the end. When the credits roll, you'll find yourself hoping for the second game to be released yesterday. It will be a massive undertaking and I wish XSEED all the best. When you get to the end I'm sure you will too. In closing, I have three words to say about Trails in the Sky: Believe the hype.… Expand
9Back in the '90s Japanese rpgs were one of the more popular genres in gaming, but since then they have mostly fallen from grace, with people transitioning to other kind of games or simply ignoring new releases. Some claim this is because of the genre's crisis, others think that it's simply a problem of budget, with many interesting titles being released on handheld and with poor graphics ending up overlooked by those who clamor for the glorious jrpgs of old.
Trails in the Sky is the perfect example of this trend: it will probably be ignored by most gamers for a variety of reasons (being released on Psp, a console almost dead in the USA, being a game with unimpressive graphics, its lack of marketing), but it actually has everything that made jrpgs a great and loved genre back in the days. Its climate reminded me of series such as Lunar, Grandia and Suikoden, its characters were funny and believable young heroes in the best tradition of heroic fantasy and the world they lived in is so wonderfully filled with backstories and dialogues you will never feel to be stranded in some cardboard kingdom made only as a backdrop for a small-scale adventure. Battles were really funny too, and the quartz system made me spend much time adapting the heroes' skills.
I was a bit skeptical regarding Trails in the Sky's value since I knew Falcom mostly for action games like the Ys series or for its unsuccessful Gagharv games, but after some 48 hours when I saw the ending I was reminded of why I loved jrpgs and was converted to this series' fandom.… Expand
8This game requires lots of individual patience. The game has lots of dialogues which are actually important. Spamming and not reading dialogues could get you lost and buried, seriously. Even with heavy reading you might still find yourself running around looking for an NPC which are sometimes not mention and not listed in the map. However, despite getting lost sometimes and ignoring quests which involves looking for a particular NPC before you can initiate your quest , the game's story is top notch. The game-play or rather the battle system is yet another patience battle, the battle evolves characters to move in a systematic box movement which isn't the bad part but because when you deal any physical attacks on your enemies, they will flinch and get push backwards. This will sometimes cause enemies to move further back thus not able to reach them and have to end your turn. Many would say this isn't a flaw as you have to plan your movement, but you would want to plan your movement against petty foes like a monster rabbit every single time and every random battle? Patience is a requirement for this game, you have been warned. Again, putting the flaws aside, the battle system is unique and rather rewarding when you defeat a boss. This game is a great game to play when you have to time, this game isn't playable if you want rush through it. 8/10 for me.… Expand
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