Hailed as one of the largest, longest and most meticulously detailed turn-based JRPG series of all time, this first chapter in the ongoing Trails saga sets the stage for what's quickly become Ys developer Nihon Falcom's most popular and best-selling franchise in their entire 30+ year history.
User reviews: Very Positive (1,362 reviews)
Release Date: Jul 29, 2014

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Buy The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky

 

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About This Game

Modern society owes much to a mystical technology known as “orbal energy.” Fifty years ago, during what’s come to be known as the “Orbal Revolution,” the invention of this technology and the “orbments” developed from it led to a period of rapid human advancement, birthing innovations of all shapes and sizes -- not the least of which was the airliner, or “orbalship” industry. Although the positive impact of this revolution is obvious, every coin has a flipside; for every beneficial device developed with these new materials, so too were advanced weapons and other implements of war. Thus, the land became mired with turmoil, and remains in such a state even now.

Enter, the bracers: an organization established to serve as police and intermediaries alike, holding above all else the peace and safety of the lands under their jurisdiction. Whenever a citizen is in need of assistance, he or she may place a request at the local Bracer Guild -- and be it monster extermination, crime prevention or even peace talks among warring nations, the bracers will do whatever they can to resolve the matter cleanly and efficiently.

Some matters require a gentler touch than others, however. When an orbalship transporting a legendary "S-rank" bracer named Cassius Bright suddenly goes missing, said bracer's daughter, Estelle, and adoptive son, Joshua, must join forces in search of him across the entire Kingdom of Liberl.

And what they find along the way could change both of their lives forever...

Hailed as one of the largest, longest and most meticulously detailed turn-based JRPG series of all time, this first chapter in the ongoing Trails saga sets the stage for what's quickly become Ys developer Nihon Falcom's most popular and best-selling franchise in their entire 30+ year history. Introducing people, places, ideas, events and lore that rival in complexity those of even the most highly-regarded fantasy epics in literature, the care and attention given to each and every NPC, location and historical in-game event is what sets The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky apart from its contemporaries.

Come join Estelle, Joshua, Scherazard, Olivier and the rest of the cast as they uncover the secret underbelly of Liberl in their first 50+ hour masterpiece, and see what Japanese gamers have been raving about for over ten years.

Key Features:

  • The original version of the first chapter in this historical series, featuring strategic turn-based combat with unmatched customization.
  • Over 50 hours of gameplay on average, with countless side-quests, collectibles and secrets to encourage replay.
  • A vast world where every NPC has a name and personality, every town has its own unique politics and economic concerns, and no detail is ever trivial.
  • Support for a wide variety of fullscreen and widescreen resolutions, including true 1080p HD.
  • Fully adjustable controls supporting virtually any USB gamepad, as well as a standard keyboard and mouse setup.
  • Over two dozen unique Steam Achievements, Steam Cloud support and Steam Trading Cards featuring gorgeous anime-style art from the franchise's original artists.
  • Numerous updates previously seen only in the handheld version, including:
    - Selectable difficulty level and new game+ features on subsequent playthroughs
    - Full voice-acting during combat
    - "Retry Offset" feature to lower the difficulty of battle with each attempt if desired

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP
    • Processor: Pentium III 550 MHz
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: 32 MB VRAM, 3D accelerator compatible w/ DirectX 9.0c
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Hard Drive: 2 GB available space
    • Sound Card: Compatible with DirectX 9.0c
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows Vista, 7 or 8 (64-bit supported)
    • Processor: Core 2 Duo 2GHz or higher
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 64 MB VRAM, 3D accelerator compatible w/ DirectX 9.0c
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Hard Drive: 3 GB available space
    • Sound Card: Compatible with DirectX 9.0c
Helpful customer reviews
227 of 235 people (97%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
50.2 hrs on record
Posted: January 8
Should you buy this game? So glad you asked. Yes!

Should this be your very first JRPG? Yes, but... read on.

*

My recent gamplay was a 90+hr adventure (some offline) that was well worth the discounted price (-50% = 8€). The game's positive reviews are well-deserved, but tell little of actual gameplay to someone who might be interested in this kind of RPG, but never did play a JRPG/SRPG.

This was may be your case, too, so here's what I learned...

***** World of Zemuria: thoughtful, detailed, infinitely rich. (5/5)

For this installment in the popular franchise we get to adventure in Kingdom of Liberl, discovering a wide-reaching plot and tackling some mysteries. Cliché much?

This game does not shy away from the overused concepts, but delivers them with fresh spins, and gives them some unexpectedly serious reasoning. Talking to various NPC's, including random household members, paints the game's stage a somber shade of grey - with much emphasis on recently fought war and new orbment technologies available. (You'll be amazed at how many NPCs stress over a family member unable to get or hold a job.) As you march on, you'll learn that beneath all the apparent sweetness lies a serious, compelling narrative. Its logic includes economy, psychology and strategy and favours realism + logic to drive and resolve many conflicts. The overwhelming cuteness and apparent anime-aesthetics serve as a visual counter-point and a fun diversion for the consumer - as ever.

XSEED did a wonderful job on translating and adapting the game. With the problems they faced and work ahead of them, this needs to be stressed.

Warning for the easily offendable: This RPG follows the tradition of amalgamating many diverse cultural and historical influences in a distinct blend of East & West. When the Gospel and an Apostle make an appearance, they singify something else from what one might expect. Also, while loved and cared for, children of Liberl do get exposed to real danger. That orphanage you helped? Burnt to the ground. The grand-daughter wanting to help her grandpa? Gets sternly warned, but ultimately joins for an incredibly dangerous infiltration mission to rescue him.

***** Playable characters: varied, with very flexible builds, require some system mastery. (5/5)

You get to make a party of up to 4 PCs and as the story goes on, more people join the Bright kids. The Bracer Guild they're a part of provides them with much quest fodder and some plot protection, but ultimately, they're on their own. Their companions are darn well excellent and come in very handy: if you can't fight through an area, wait until your ranks well. Of the 6 available, Schera's and Oliverier's antics made me giggle ever so often, and they are my favourites. In lieu of an old favourite of mine, imagine a game where most of in-game banter has Sands pitted against Neeshkas... You'll love it.

So what's with the builds? They are limited, but not in a bad way. The character level-ups are automated, abilities are unlocked intermittently and vary greatly (each character has a different build, but no class). You get a pick of 5 equippable items + some slots to fill wil crystals which are more than wondrous items, because they synergize. You may play around for a bit and just pick anything to wear/slot, because there's always a reload/retry or flight from a battle... I've actually made it halfway through the game before I read up on those orbal crystals and made my first optimized builds.

All in all, the character building is very beginner-friendly, which helps a lot. And there's ample room for experiment, which is great. Strategic value of turn-based combat is best described elsewhere, but let's just say it doesn't disappoint.

Warning for the lazy: The characters need to be fine-tuned, eventually. Final chapter presents a tournament which requires a higher level of orbal system mastery, while the final battle sequence ranges from enjoyable (if you got the combinations right) to downright enfuriating (if you didn't).

Warning for time-constrained: Beware the walls of text. Seriously. It's a living book. It eats players.

Warning for the romantically inclined: There is much in-game talk about the nature of Joshua and Estelle's growing relationship, yet not one NPC seems to mind the fact that they're officially siblings (Estelle is Cassisus' daughter, and Joshua's his ward/stepson). Which is fine by me, because the two couldn't be more opposed than they are, and their confusion about life & love is delivered tactfully and with much wit.

*** The gameplay : a rocky ride to get through the story. (3/5)

What I didn't miss here was a feeling of game being rushed and some content dropped because of time constraints - something my favourite Western RPGs chronically suffer from. The main narrative is one of adventure, with walls of text hinting at massive spoilers. I enjoyed it immensely, and can't wait for the sequel!

With that said, there are some glaring issues with gamplay and story presentation. The one thing I did have a problem with were wildly varying secret quests one can discover along the way (you'll need to consult a guide to get them). In-game Junior Bracer Journal served me well as an agenda, so that's a plus.

Warning in general: achievements such as best rank/weapon take a lot of time and effort, so be warned and grab a guide BEFORE starting the game properly. As TvTropes put it, my playthrough suffered a heavy case of Guide Dang It!

Warning for time-constrained: I didn't mind all the grinding, but you can't escape it. Especially if you want the best gear the game's got or insist on micro-managing stuff. The difference between starting the Chapter 1 as L14 (my first try) and L18 (the second playthrough I finished) taught me to grind as I save: at every opportunity, as much as I can. And also, the railroading, apparently a traditional facet of the JRPG genre. Finally, hasty decisions versus small time windows. You can miss so much with only a click. I re-did the Prologue because I was merely getting to know the ropes and I missed two books I wanted to collect. The re-run was worth it.

*

TL;DR: Very good game, with some issues for the uninitiated. Merits a sequel (localization's in the works!) and a second playthrough (especially for achievements).

*

Thank you for reading this review. It was my first, and I hope it served you well. =)
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80 of 113 people (71%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
67.0 hrs on record
Posted: March 28
There's a book in this game that teaches you cat dialects.

Actually the greatest video game ever made.
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14 of 16 people (88%) found this review helpful
114.8 hrs on record
Posted: February 4
What an adorable and progressive story. I think the best part about Trails in the Sky is that the people are people. They're not just archetypes. They're developed, with feelings, and personalities, and they are, with the exception of one, all very relateable. It follows a few various tropes, but in the end you really are engrossed in the life of becoming a Bracer (the guild being super helpful law enforcement officers; reminiscent of the police I encountered when studying abroad in Japan). The story doesn't revolve around you, it evolves with you. Things are happeneing in this world, and the party isn't the focus of those events. Your characters strive to rise to the challenges presented to them, and though the storyline and paths are linear, I didn't at all mind being guided through such an enchanting tale with thought-provoking characters.

Light-hearted and childish, this game can be understood by preteens and teenagers, but much like any good story, it has underlying themes and issues that adults can grapple with and appreciate.

From the bisexual bard whose bisexuality is not the defining characteristic of his character, to the strong, bull-headed, stubborn female protagonist, this game does a pretty good job of showing me a world I'd want to be a part of, and was glad to have experienced, if only for a little while.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
19 of 29 people (66%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
4.1 hrs on record
Posted: January 16
Stole my time then broke my heart. 11/10, Can't wait for SC
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10 of 13 people (77%) found this review helpful
8.0 hrs on record
Posted: February 23
I played the original release of Frist Chapter back in 2006 and the Second Chapter in 2008, and now my son (4-yr-old) is playing the re-released on Steam. On a glance this is one of your staple JRPG: cute and seemingly clueless though motivated protagonists, tactical turn-based combat, heavy text-based menu and stats/mechanisms. But beneath that thin layer of disguise, you would have one of the most wonderfully made story-driven RPGs with a plot as dark as the Witcher series (dare I say) you have ever played--if you play all three entries you will reach the same conclusion.

Needless to say the story goes beyond the good vs. evil scheme, but characters in this game also evolve in a believable way. They are very aware of the changing world and interact with each other in meaningful ways. Suffice to say you won't find any one-dimensional character in this game, be it a protagonist or antagonist.

Also worth mentioning is the quality of English translation, which I believe has been to be marvelously done by professionals. It's almost like a re-interpretation of the source material--if you will--in Japanese. This definitely sets this game (and most likely its sequel--Second Chapter and the 3rd) apart from the likes of Final Fantasy and such.

You will probably find choke full o' troupes or cliché common to comics and mangas in this game:
- shadowy groups with profound motives beyond human comprehensions and far reach to every corner of the continent by all means fathomed by only the most conspiracy-minded individuals in the creative industry,;
- mysterious enemy combatants ranked in number not by sheer strength but their legendary reputations;
- villains turned out to be activists manipulated by a greater force each step of the way without a clue;
- etc.

However if you can look past this and accept that most of the deeper story-driven games are more or less like this, and it's only a matter of expertise to conceal the usage of these troupes, then you will have a wonderful time like me to explore this universe--its lore and its characters. Not to mention this is one of the few REAL steampunk themed games available on PC, or even the entire industry, consider it being a niche not generally looked into. And if you are concerned about cliffhangers since this is the only the first entry, worry not--for each "chapter"(game) conclude its story in a satisfying way, while foreshadowing the next one and leaving room for a respite and a sense of achievement.

Gameplay wise, this game sports both open-world (opened up gradually in the first 5 hours) and meaningful character customizations (able to be re-speced at any time) through assemblies of clockworks and gem-socketing (thus comply to its Steampunk theme). Enemies are varied and requires certain tactical thinking in the manners of both character positioning in the battlefield and strength/vulnerabilities of each enemy type. Character progression is also non-linear, meaning there's no hard coded class definition, so you can have detailed customization of each character's role, while everyone still has their unique specialties.

Aesthetically this is one of the more pleasing JRPGs you'll ever come across. The graphics have been remade into HD and its aesthetic design definitely takes cue from both contemporary and mid-19th century old-world life, and the visual design does a great job taking care of every minute detail in 3D and the textures are excellent if you take into account of the fact that this game is made in the early 2000's.

The soundtracks have been one of my favorites and it certainly sounds like it 's heavily inspired by the work of Academy award winner Joe Hisaishi.

To conclude this review, I would absolutely recommend this game to all RPG enthusiasts, even if you don't usually touch JRPG. When you do, make sure you endure through the first 3 or 4 hours of this game after which point the story really starts to pick up its pace.

Final verdict: first chapter of a deep and story-driven steampunk RPG trilogy, 9.5/10.
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