The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky Preview

We take off on yet another one of Falcom's adventures in the first installment of The Legend of Heroes trilogy.

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Xseed's partnership with developer Nihon Falcom is certainly benefitting old-school Japanese role-playing game fans in North America. The publisher recently released the Ys games for the PlayStation Portable and is now working on localizing The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky trilogy that was originally released in Japan in 2004. Anyone comfortable with turn-based battles will feel right at home, but Trails in the Sky makes its own touches to the combat system and customization to make it unique.

Combat is grid-based, but you can't really tell.

The story is set in Liberl Kingdom and revolves around a feisty young girl named Estelle Bright, the daughter of a legendary fighter. Her adopted brother Joshua is always by her side looking out for her as they take on guild quests together. You'll join the Bracer guild early on (an organization dedicated to help the people), which serves as a tutorial for introducing you to the combat mechanics, arts, and craft. As you continue completing jobs from the guild, the story will advance and you'll learn more about the world's politics, as well as the people close to you.

At a glance, the gameplay resembles a fast-paced strategy role-playing game. Enemies appear onscreen, and once you've entered the battlefield, you have the option to maneuver around a 17-by-17 grid area for strategic placement. It's turn based and quick; you don't have to deal with which direction you're facing (or move first and then attack; you just automatically attack if you're within range), but you do have to keep in mind how you want your characters positioned. On top of your standard attacks, you have magical abilities that come in the form of orbal arts. In Trails in the Sky, characters have individual orbments, which are a technology that lets you harness orbal energy points and customize your skills. Slots in your orbment can be filled with different types of quartz, which grants you the ability to cast spells or even boost your stats.

Other than your health and energy points, you need to keep track of another meter in the form of your craft points. These build during battle, and once you reach 100, you can execute an S-craft technique that is similar to a limit break or overdrive attack where you deal extra damage but use up all of your charged craft points. Your party members will learn unique crafts as they level that will require craft points.

There's a lot to take in at first, which is why the game provides you with a Bracer notebook that documents your current missions and can be used as an in-game manual. Estelle may be talented with a staff in battle, but her skills don't exactly extend to the kitchen, given the amount of flack she receives from her father and brother. Throughout your travels, you'll gather recipes that are automatically recorded in a recipe book. From there, you can use items that you've picked up along the way to conjure up some meals to help your party.

Orbments is the way to go.

We didn't get far enough to find out more about the overarching story, but there was enough intrigue and mystery surrounding the main characters to keep our attention. Estelle can be a bit too bubbly at times, but Joshua's levelheadedness strikes a good balance. Visually, Trails in the Sky doesn't stand out much compared to other Japanese RPG remakes that have been put out on the PSP, but its visuals are pleasing nonetheless and the soundtrack is fitting. For those interested in the soundtrack, you can receive it by preordering the limited-edition version of the game at participating retailers. It also comes bundled with other goodies, such as a poster and a Bracer guild replica badge. Look for The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky when it is released on March 29.

Discussion

23 comments
Sunuva22
Sunuva22

Anyone know when the next one will be released and if it will be on psp not psp2(or whatever its called)

snow1993
snow1993

I personally regard this game's story as THE BEST story I have ever read before. Lots of foreshadowing, lots of fun.

syam32245340
syam32245340

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

NeoXPG
NeoXPG

Looks great. Already pre-ordered it. The other legend of heroes games are also fantastic if you JRPGs and I do.

dawnofhero
dawnofhero

Meh, another manga rpg game. They all look the same if you ask me.

CloudXentar
CloudXentar

About damn time! I've been waiting to spend some money! :3

SkyStriker
SkyStriker

damn, tough competition.....THIS or 3rd Birthday....

gebh331
gebh331

This is one amazing game. I've waited for years to play this in english and now it's finally here.

emmanuel123
emmanuel123

It has Ragna like graphics, looking forward to this

55zack55
55zack55

going to be e relly good game

blankvoid
blankvoid

Wow, after like 5 years it's finally here?

ChaosDynasty
ChaosDynasty

Cannot wait to get the limited edition in March. Battle system looks unique.

santinegrete
santinegrete

Glad some publishers actually listen to the niche market. Hell, with so few JRPG to choose it could be a blockbuster.

Artavasdus
Artavasdus

This is one of the finest JRPGs ever made, I played it in japanese years ago but I will gladly buy it again because it's simply a dream to enjoy it in English. Its setting is so detailed you will have political, economical, social, religious and technological informations aplenty, books to read and a newspaper to evoke the latest major facts. The characters' interactions are also some of the best of the genre, with a script having more than 1,5 millions characters in the Japanese version. The extremely enjoyable battle system (a mix of tactics and classical turn based), deep subquest system, direct travel and enticing plot should cater to any JRPG fans, not to mention this is the first part in a great saga spawning many chapters (the first trilogy has already been announced by XSeed), with uncommon features like importing savegames to influence the events of the sequels (if you helped\ignored a character she will remember it and reacts differently to the party, and so on). Really good stuff, I hope it does well in the USA. Oh, by the way: the Trails saga is not linked in any way with the previous Legend of Heroes games on PSP: they were crude portings of the Gagharv trilogy done by Bandai (they ruined the battle system and in localizing they flunked the English script), while this is a new series ported to PSP directly by Falcom.

unreal_master
unreal_master

I didn't notice it was a Legend of Heroes game. The text is somewhat small when glancing at it.

organbank
organbank

Meh Jap crap. Really wish I did buy a PSP cause that is all you can get on it...

Rovelius
Rovelius

Oh. my. GOD. The Legend of Heroes? Seriously? Definitively need a PSP now...

ParanoiaDragon
ParanoiaDragon

Yes! I've been waiting several years for this series to come out here! I never thought it would, but thanks to Xseed, I'll be one happy camper!!

soulless4now
soulless4now

This game slipped under my radar, but it does like it should be good.