Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky
Posted 2 years ago By - Marko Djordjevic
The PSP is a hotbed for remakes and re-releases of classic RPGs, especially those developed for the Asian market. Falcom and Xseed Games are the biggest players in this regard and their latest release, The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky is no different. Having already been released in Japan back in 2006, this is the first game in the series to reach these shores in over four years. Although it takes a while for the core story to develop, if you’re a fan of 16-bit era JRPGs, you will want to give this adventure a go...
Trails puts you in the roles of Estelle and her adoptive brother, Joshua, on their journey from newly recruited Junior Bracers into full-fledged ones. In their world, the Bracers are like Peace Officers who are called upon by the public to help with various duties, both large and small. When their father - a well respected and long serving Bracer - goes missing, the two need to not only become Regular Bracers but find out what has happened to their father.
Trails in the Sky’s strong point is its interesting story. However, it is also one that takes a very long time to develop. Like so many JRPGs before it, you won’t get a full grasp of the plot until very late in the game. The story, although linear, is very deep with new characters being introduced throughout and the core tale taking a very long time to reveal itself. Is this merely a journey of self-discovery or is there more to their father’s disappearance and Joshua’s origins? Well, be prepared to play for a while before you find out the answers to your various questions.
Combat is done a little differently from other games of this ilk. Your squad works on a grid-like battlefield where placement is the key to unleashing successful attacks. Some characters have weapons that can strike from long range while others will need to be closer to their foes. Of course you have the ability to spend a turn moving your character around, but you can also use their magical skills - called arts - to dish out damage if needed. Ranged attacks have two variants: you can either use Energy Points (EP) on magic/arts or Craft Points (CP) on crafts that have been learned during the adventure.
Your magic is based on the vital Orbments. These are the life blood of the world as most objects need them to function and they can be found all over the world. Each character has an Orbment grid that opens up and allows the placement of eight different elemental attributes - called quartz - which then give them the ability to perform various magical-based attacks. Since there are different elemental types, the variety based upon how you equip magic and improve each character’s stats can be wildly different.
The other special attacks (Crafts and S-Crafts) use your CP meter which fills up as characters battle. Your Craft skills are based on both the equipped weapons and have skills learned. While Crafts are fairly standard, once you reach 100, the ability to use S-Crafts becomes available and this allows characters to unleash an incredible attack that does a significant amount of damage. While Crafts only require a small amount of CP to use, all S-Crafts will completely deplete your bar when used. Because of that, when facing tougher battles, the timing of your S-Craft usage is extremely important and can easily turn the tide in your favor.
Although Trails is relatively linear, you can easily miss out on a lot of additional content. Considering both Estelle and Joshua are trying to become Bracers, there are often jobs available at various Bracer Guilds that they can take on. These are typically routine requests such as finding a specific item in an area or defeating a monster terrorizing a given path. But because the story is so direct as far as where you need to go next, you can sometimes miss these jobs entirely. Also, once you pass a specific point in each chapter, missions that were once available are lost forever.
Visually, Trails in the Sky looks good considering it was originally released in Japan nearly five years ago. Locations throughout the world of Liberl are easy on the eyes with a lot of variety in each city and other locals. Alas, the enemies aren’t quite as deep as most would hope, with enemy repetition being the dominate mood killer. It’s not too bad at first, but as you traverse your way through a given area, fighting the same foes a dozen times does begin to get boring.
Thankfully, the characters you interact with, be it friend, foe or even the run-of-the-mill NPC, are well done. The dialogue is interesting, even with a few grammatical mistakes by the localization team. Estrelle and Joshua are like-able characters, especially as you grow with them and learn more about each one. And none of the interactions come off as cheap or that they are simply there as filler. With such a long journey, it’s good that there aren’t those characters you want to get rid of as soon as you meet them.
The game’s audio is alright, with the only voice work coming from the one-liners the character who finishes off each battle will spew. As for the game’s sound effects and music, both are done well, especially the game’s score which adds plenty of atmosphere to each area.
For those looking to spend a lofty amount of time with a good-ol fashioned JRPG, The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky delivers. It certainly won’t appeal to gamers who want a quick experience but if you’re willing to invest the time, you will not be disappointed.
+ Great cast
+ Music adds to the atmosphere
+ Interesting Story...
- Linear story can also make it easy to miss side-quest opportunities.
- Enemy variety is a bit underwhelming
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Release Date : 2011/03/29
System : PSP
Publisher : Xseed
Developer : Nihon Falcom Corp
Category : Role Playing Game
ESRB : T
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