Mar 29, 2011I 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
Apr 3, 2011Being a lover of PC RPGs I am mostly used to the Western Black Isle - Bioware - Obsidian school of gaming, with CdProjekt being the "Eastern" developer I'm mostly interested. I have played some Japanese RPGs of course, but since they are almost all on console I tended to ignore them till this generation, when I was convinced to explore that field too. There was a big exception, however: Falcom, the only Japanese software house that really tried to make great RPGs on PC despite that country's absurd console focus. I knew this company through hardcoregaming's articles, and if the Ys games and Xanadu Next were failrly intriguing, it was the Sora no Kiseki series that had me drooling, since it was some bizarre mix of Western open-endedness and Japanese focus on anime-style narrative with a great steampunk-meets-fantasy setting mixed in. Sadly, that series was completely out of the question for anyone who didn't have a fairly decent background of Japanese studies, so it remained a wet dream for many years and I finally forgot about its existence. Imagine my surprise when I learned that the PSP ports of the Sora no Kiseki series (now renamed Trails in the Sky) were finally coming to the USA some seven years after their initial release! At first I was a bit pissed that there was no plan to translate the PC editions, but as time passed I was convinced to buy a PSP simply because of this game, especially when Dragon Age 2 (a decent game, but a far cry from the first one) left me without any kind of interest to replay it after the ending, even if I had waited it for months.
So I finally picked up Sora no Kiseki and was thrown right from the prologue into the same addiction only great RPGs like Ultima 7, Arcanum, Baldur's Gate 2, KotOR or DAO have been able to provide me. The game takes its sweet time to introduce everything, but I wasn't annoyed by this choice since the characters and the kingdom they live in are so detailed they almost feel alive (game has LOTS of texts). The ruleset is also really enjoyable, with a good deal of tinkering and some remarkable fights that shows the PC roots of the game because of the importance of movement in combat. The world is also really big and full of things to do, with even the first town, Rolent, easily capable to surpass many RPG cities of other games (and don't get me started on Zeiss...). Graphically it isn't incredible, but the environments are well presented and the characters'sprites are really good, with many animations for minute actions. I would suggest any RPG addict out there to try this game, it's really worth the trouble.… Expand
Mar 29, 2011Trails in the Sky is a 2004 PC RPG ported into PSP in 2006. It the first story in a sequential set of three games, with a new game set in the same world released 2010 and another one for release late 2011. For 6 years this gem remained hidden due to the language barrier, but thanks to the monumental efforts by Localization company extraordinaire XSEED, English-speakers now have the chance to experience this game, created by a niche company and marketed by word of mouth only to become one of the staples of RPG genre in Japan. Animation â… Expand
Mar 31, 2011Fans 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
Apr 1, 2011I'm not a big fan of dialogue-heavy games, and even if I enjoyed many action rpgs like kingdom hearts, tales or ys I usually tried to avoid anything too verbose since usually videogames fail pretty hard when they try to be interactive novels. This was before one of my friends practically begged me to try trails in the sky, saying that it was the next big thing in eastern rpgs.
Normally I wouldn't have caved in, but atm I have loads of free time and since I liked other games from falcom (ys seven and felghana, chronicles wasn't my thing so I skipped it, too archaic) I decided to give it a try buying the game on PSN.
This was three days ago, and now I'm almost twenty hours into the game.
What can I say? At the beginning I wasn't particularly impressed: tons of texts, anime characters, little quests, some well-known tropes... after some time, however, I was simply overcome by the feeling I usually experience when reading a good fantasy novel. The quality of the writing (I imagine the translator is quite good), the attention paid to small details like being able to read books, having cities full of npcs with actual personalities, feeling that the main cast is only a fraction of a world able to stand on its own.. all of this was conveyed in a way I never experienced in a Japanese game (I remember having those kind of impressions while playing baldur's gate 2 ages ago), not to mention that battles are really fun to play out, with some degree of strategy that reminded me of games like arc the lad twilight of spirits or jagged alliance. The best part is that the game is actually able to attract the player inside its world without taking itself too seriously: the general atmosphere is always lighthearted and estelle and joshua duo take care to make even tense situations amusing.
It's like reading the first book of a david eddings novel series, where you can feel that the story is building up but the narrative tries to avoid jumping too fast in order to flesh out everything, and the novel parallel is quite appropriate since (as I learned only after buying the game) trails is only the first part of a trilogy.
i don't think I will start pursuing this kind of games, but trails so far managed to change my taste, and if the game is able to stay this good to the end I will surely buy the other episodes of the trilogy when they are out.… Expand
Apr 10, 2011trails in the sky is the first chapter in a great japanese rpg series (still ongoing in japan), and it's a really an awesome rpg if you value a powerful story, lovable characters, great music and a lot of things to do aside from the main quest... this is the first rpg in years that has been able to really move me, I can't wait for the sequel's translation
Dec 11, 2013The first chapter of the most epic JRPG series.
The anticipation I felt between each release of this series is comparable to others' anticipation for Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, etc.
What makes this series different from other JRPGs? Well, I'd say it's not much different from other JRPGs, it just does the important things better, such as story, characters, soundtrack and most importantly pacing. The word immersive often describes games like Skyrim or MMOs but the world of Trails is immersive.
Each game of this series is a beautiful piece of puzzle. The puzzle piece itself has much to tell, and tells them beautifully, but in the end it is also just a part of a bigger story.
I recommend this series to anyone who likes JRPGs, because I don't want any of you to miss the JRPG equivalent of Harry Potter Game of Thrones Mass Effect One Piece Breaking Bad....lol basically the kingpin JRPG series of this era.… Expand
May 24, 2013It's fairly hard to add any innovation to the JRPG nowadays, but Trails in the Sky does just that. It is very story driven and the characters themselves are charming. If you're an old school fan of turn based combat, you will love this. There's enough depth to it to be awesome.
Aug 11, 2013"This review covers not only the localised First Chapter but the, so far, unreleased in the west, Second Chapter as well."
This is not just a great Jrpg. This is a tremendous achievement in storytelling, and a crowning achievement of a small company that creates games with all its heart and soul.
It deserves the highest praise for the godly music, the deep gameplay, the breathing world, and this greatest cast of characters ever to grace a video game. This game and its sequels are reasons enough for anyone to learn japanese. Do it and you won't be disappointed.… Expand
Apr 12, 2011Back 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
Sep 6, 2013I'm writing this on the day Second Chapter (SC) was announced. Trails in the Sky was released on the PSP in North America by XSEED, and is the first chapter (FC) of this amazing saga. It is a demonstration of a good story-driven, semi-tactical RPG.
It starts off at a slower pace to introduce the characters and the world, but you quickly start to like the charming story... a story that leaves you wanting more.
The gameplay is not especially incredible, but it's polished enough to be accessible and fun. There are lots of opportunities to explore and find out more about lore of the world and the people around. There's also a NG+ option, which allows you to replay the game while keeping your current character, and allows you to experience different events depending on previous choices you've made.
The game looks extremely good on the PSP, and functions very smoothly. I'm not certain if XSEED will bring their improvements back over to their digital Steam release, but I consider this to be THE best looking game in my PSP library. The only thing lacking that I would change is the minimal voice acting.
This is also one of my favourite games of all time, and I would recommend it to anyone that wants a good story with interesting characters, taking place in a rich setting. Just be wary that this is only the first of an extremely long three-part arc. You may never want to let go until you've reached the end!… Expand
Jun 19, 2011This 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
Jan 26, 2014First things first, the game is good and deserves some attention...however it's got a lot of flaws that ruins the game for me.
The good thing probably is the story, which is very very good and interesting because it could lead anywhere and has no real specific goal (except looking for you father...I'll talk about him later): that's really enjoyable and I like a good "travel story" game: anything can come and it can be done good easily.
Oh and the music is not bad either.
That's it really, because I haven't found anything else being remarkably good and I'll explain why.
For starters, the combat is not bad and it's basically a tactical combat system (basically turn based while moving on a battlefield each turn) however for one it's extremely slow because you cannot do autobattles, resulting in pressing the first command and wait until the enemies are dead and, with the exception of bosses and some hard battles, you really can just press one button and shrug it off. Second, the battles themselves are almost useless because levelling is nearly impossible due to a sort of "programmed" levelling in which the higher the level, the less exp you'll get, making combat completely useless, unless you have to grind money and sepith (basically the only way to upgrade your magic power and obtain magic spells, using a system similar to FF7 "materias"); luckily enough you can do quest in order to get money and everything you need (especially considering the items are WAY overpriced that even farming monster would be extremely long), and quests are also another good thing of the game and with exception of some quests being very obscure and telling you nowhere to go, it's still good of a feature. And third, the graphics are great...but the characters look terrible considering the enviroment it's VERY detailed and also huge.
However these issues aren't what made me give this score because they're not game breaking. The real issue was the "main protagonist": Estelle. The story is revolved for a huge part on looking for his father but you'll go around the world doing other things for your training, which is fine, however she's basically the worst kind of character you could ever get: a Mary Sue, but in this case she's a character that will constantly get the attention on every scene possible. Why? Lots of reasons and one of those is literally shadowing other characters, including the second main protagonist Joshua, which until now (I'm 40 hours in and soon to the last chapter) we know NOTHING about, as well as the other characters that will join because they barely had any screen time or important backstory to tell. Or the game was focusing on Estelle complaining. Seriously, I literally don't know the characters that came and went, because the game would constantly focus the story on this whiny and annoying girl that has nothing interesting at all, leaving the potentially good characters hid in the dark until the game starts calling them out (Joshua is one example, since he's extremely skilled, smart, very calm and mysterious). Not only that she's always in the attention of the game the plot will constantly remind us that her father is like the best of the best, every-single-time, and that because of him they expect her to be as good so she gets help, even though most of the times she knows nothing (It's almost like Harry Potter, except he wasn't "that" annoying). I'm truely sorry if I'm being this harsh on one character but I really could not stand how the game just favours her in every scene but completely forgets characters around her, killing potential good characters and actual character development; in addition she's also pretty weak in battle (her stats are decent but she's best used as a support character/healer than damage dealer, while Joshua is a damage beast despite the low defense) and the game will constantly remind us she's the main character in almost every scene possible available: the gender-swapped theatrical play for no reason, the "obviously-useless" fishing scene in the hotel, the constant immature acting but excused because she's the daughter of "that guy", the obvious fanservice scene in the SPA, the nonsensical scene where she's considered more like a boy than a girl (seriously, with her ginarmous pigtails, which are also not very practical for fighting, even a boy could look girly enough). The scenes are so many that it's pointless to track down, but yes she literally destroys the plot. For me.
Infact the game is still pretty solid and I'd warmly suggest to give this game a try, especially since good RPGs on PSP are rare and the game is still pretty fluid and interesting: in addition Estelle might be likeable for others, so all of this could be pointless for you, but since she can be a distraction I thought to mention"how" she can be annoying, plus I'm sure she'll be better later in the trilogy.
Hopefully not after 40-50 hours in...… Expand