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 (1,170 reviews)
Release Date: Jul 29, 2014

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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
167 of 176 people (95%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
74.1 hrs on record
Posted: October 18, 2014
Now this is one of those games that scratch that nostalgia itch, nostalgia for times when I was a decade or two younger and all I could ask from a game was to tell you and let you participate in a story that's worth being heard. You will find no shiny loot to show off to your acquaintances with, you will find no quick instant gratification here. If you seek that, go grab the current flavor of the month blockbuster.

What this game has, and in spades, at that; is the world, the characters, the story, the music and a lot of subtlety. Oh, and a boat chase scene. It has a boat chase scene.

Moving along, this isn't a game to be played with half your attention elsewhere. You're going to miss on a lot if you don't really pay attention. And when I say you're going to miss a lot, I mean both quests and entertainment. The character interaction, while scripted, is a lot more natural than is typical for the genre, with off-hand remarks, interjections, under-the-breath murmurs and such. The protagonist duo, again, not typical for the genre, does well to avert the usual "Brooding Bishonen with Baggage" protagonist problem with JRPGs to a large degree. Also, it is not a story about a couple of kids saving the world of useless adults; It's more about a couple of kids getting swept up into more than they bargained for, and doing their part.

The combat can get a little repetitive at times, hair-pullingly frustrating at others, and just plain annoying at others still, because, dammit, I was in the middle of something and now this bunch of mobs is trying to interrupt me! Still, the possibilities with the customization of every character's magic setup along with the option to interrupt an enemy turn with your own limit break makes for quite tactical combat that can get you away with your skin even from a surprise attack.

The storytelling is detailed and at times quite persistent, there are several scenes that last for about ten minutes before you're back to the gameplay, but again, with how naturally the characters converse, it doesn't feel off. Now, the story itself does get a bit overwhelming at the halfway point, but if you've been paying attention, you can see many of the twists coming; or rather, you will figure out that there will be a twist; the twist itself is still likely to sweep you clean off your feet. Oh and by the way, NPCs travel around the world too, and remember you if you met before, and the subtlety of the worldbuilding is amazing. For a minor example, at some point there's a restaurant where you can hear that recent problems with monsters are making it hard to get ingredients for their dishes. If you don't take care of that problem, they will actually go and change their menu (and the items you can buy there).

The music is simply amazing, but that's nothing new for a Falcom game.

Now excuse me, I have a New Game Plus to play. On Nightmare.
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81 of 87 people (93%) found this review helpful
44.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 18, 2014
Making its first appearance on the western market only in 2011 on the PSP, Trails in the Sky First Chapter is a game originally developed in 2004 and in many ways shows its age, from its rudimentary (yet pleasant) graphics to the slow battle animations. But these small things are nothing compared to the merits that this gem of a game shows.

First of all let's start from what sets this game apart from all other JRPGs: the WRITING.
This is some of the best writing I've seen in any jrpg; unlike a lot of other titles, the dialogues actually sound like things people would say in a normal conversation; while some of the dialogue might seem a bit superfluous and pedantic, every line and event shows a deeper meaning in the long run and you'll be pleasantly surprised every hour about how natural the interactions between the characters sound.
Which brings me to the second biggest point of the game: the characters.
The main cast of the game is exceptional: the members of the party are more or less all representative of a certain trope (the Genki Girl, the rude but tender-hearted warrior, the Spoony Bard etc.) but they all have interesting quirks about them and falling in love with all of them is pretty easy. Every character has a personality of its own and a role to play in the story. Even the NPCs (ALL OF THEM!) have their own name, personality and parallel story going on in the meantime.
The game presents a level of detail hardly seen in the genre, and the lore is simply astounding. The world of the game presents a very complex socio-political situation and an interesting history spanning more than a thousand years, with so many different elements (cultural, religious, economic etc.) that give off an organic vibe usually present only in novels.

The gameplay side of the game, while it's nothing overly exceptional (it's a 2004 game after all) is well made and fairly entertaining. The battle system is some kind of hybrid between Grandia and Xenosaga, you can move your characters around the battlefiled almost like in a tactical jrpg, and every other turn you can get a bonus like HP healing, critical hits and so on. The battles are pretty easy (and a bit boring) in the beginning but things get quite different after enemies become stronger and more difficult to kill and you have access to more interesting and complex spells and crafts. At the end of the game things can get quite challenging, and there's a boss battle in particular which will feel extremely satisfying to win.
The ability system of the game is quite similar to the one present in Final Fantasy VII, you have these orbs called Quartz, and according to the combination of the Quartz's elements you can access different spells in battle (and also get some passive bonus like +10%HP and so on)

The plot of the game is very solid: unlike most jrpgs where you have to save the entire world from catastrophe, the action is restricted to a single kingdom and there is no thousand-years old deity to slay at the end of the game; the game presents and more "humble" and personal story where two young adventurers set off to a journey to travel around their homeland and end up finding a lot of unexpected things along the way. Nevertheless it's quite intriguing and after a certain point in the game you'll keep playing to see how things turn out in the end.

The Good:
- Superb writing
- Massive and interesting lore
- Complex and lovable characters
- Good battle system
- Story packed with intrigue and mysteries (after a few hours, though)

The Bad:
- The pacing of the story is not always perfect, and you might yawn a few times during the first hours
- Slow battle animations
- So many missables. Getting everything in this game without a guide is a nightmare

In conclusion:
PLAY THE GAME IF: You're into jrpgs, good writing, engaging stories, and you're not afraid to delve into something that might be a lot more complex than you thought.
DON'T PLAY THE GAME IF: You don't like reading and have little patience for a plot that takes a while to evolve. Also if you hate cliffhangers.

Overall, I'd give this game a 8.5/10. One of the best surprises of the recent years!
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44 of 49 people (90%) found this review helpful
104.0 hrs on record
Posted: October 18, 2014
I'm not really a reviewer, in fact I think this is probably my first one. The reason I feel compelled to write is that hopefully my voice will be heard, along with all the others, that will force XSEED and Falcom to ensure that the full saga is localised in English and released on Steam.

There is still demand, even now, for a well-crafted, fun-to-play JRPG with a memorable story. This game is one of them.

The story is a beauty, flawed maybe but still compelling enough involving central characters that I found I actually gave a toss for. The battle system is fun, didn't really get old - the S-Crafts (Limit Breaks, if you will) are always fun. A big plus for me is that there was very little grinding required and success was more to do with how you tactically approach battles that helped you overcome your enemies.

There is plenty of sidequestery to indulge in, indeed I don't believe I collared everything and there's also a New Game Plus for a second, tougher playthrough - which I'm just about to have a go at.

Essentially, whether you're a fan of JRPGs or not, wondering if they're still relevant in this age, it's still a great game.
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41 of 48 people (85%) found this review helpful
32.3 hrs on record
Posted: October 31, 2014
Wow. Just, wow. Do you like generic RPGs? Cliche as hell all the way through? Do you like a bunch of quirky characters fitting your typical mold? From quiet brave boy, to tsundere girl and perverted bard? We got you covered today!

Now, what if I told you you get all the typical RPG delights, and the game is actually good? Then you're in for a treat.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky is fantastic if you want your JRPG goodness done right. Nothing new, nothing special, just good quality entertainment to be found. Can't recommend any more than this. Please buy it so we can get the whole trilogy in the US.
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34 of 39 people (87%) found this review helpful
129.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 30, 2014
I play games for a few reasons, but first and foremost, I play a game for its story. A game with a poor story can't be saved by amazing graphics or awesome gameplay. However, if the story is good enough, I can forgive a lot.

Trails in the Sky may not have the best plot in RPG history, but it more than makes up for that with incredibly strong writing. The dialogue is amazing and each character gets several moments to shine; the main protagonist especially is incredibly fun.

The combat system is really interesting; the orbment system superficially resembles FF7's materia system, but it works really differently in ways that make the game a lot more strategic. The actual fights are most similar to FFX, with some really cool wrinkles.

The soundtrack is amazing, the controls are great, either with a mouse or a control pad and the graphics, while dated, still really work.

This is the first half of a duology; it's already one of my favorite games and from what I've heard, the sequel is EVEN BETTER. If you like or even tolerate JRPGs, you should definitely give this game a shot. It's really really good.
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29 of 34 people (85%) found this review helpful
60.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 25, 2014
I usually judge an RPG twice. Once at around the 2 hour mark, and once more at around 10 hours in. If an RPG manages to get past those two milestones, then it's safe to say that I've become invested and am enjoying myself. The story is very good, despite a few cliches here and there. I feel like all the characters are unique, and more importantly, alive.

The progression of the story is also interesting, as it plays out more like a "coming-of-age" story than what I'm used to from most games of the same genre. Estelle and Joshua travel across the country, remaining the only permanent members of the party. In each chapter, 2 characters are introduced and added to the party, and go their own ways at the end of the chapter. It's refreshing to follow Estelle and Joshua through the story as they grow into their own respective roles.
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19 of 21 people (90%) found this review helpful
44.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 30, 2014
Typically, I'm not a big fan of JRPGs, since I consider Dragon Warrior 8 and Final Fantasy X the last major JRPGs with any likable characters, cohesive plot and fun gameplay (with the exception of Fire Emblem: Awakening, and that's not really a pure JRPG). Sure, I'll sometimes play The Last Remnant or something along those lines for its gameplay, but I haven't met a JRPG since the PS2 days that nailed down my (admittedly subjective) three characteristics of an all-around good game (story, characters and gameplay).

I say all this so you can understand how surprised I was by Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky, especially given the old-school style of it. I think 'heartwarmingly whimsical' describes the tone of the game best, even at its 'to be continued' conclusion. It's a shame this game doesn't have more attention, because it certainly deserves it, and I can't wait for the second chapter to come out (hopefully by the end of this year, as planned *EDIT* Guess not).

As far as gameplay, what you see in the pictures up there describes it perfectly. It's an old-school turn-based system, where you can use a combination of gems to tailor each person's specific playstyle. There's also the Bracer Levels, where completing sidequests will give you BP and unlock rewards with each level, giving you a reason to do them. As mentioned by most the other reviews, the amount of dialogue in the game is staggering, with even NPC dialogue changing dependant on where you are in a quest.

Which brings us to story. Now, this is a story you have to be a bit patient for. It's a very slow build, but does its best to immerse you in a world that feels like it's changing around you (helped, obviously, by the changing NPC dialogue). This is the good kind of vast storytelling, where there is a massive story going on in the background, but the focus is on the core group you're following and their small part in big events. There are plenty of cliches and tropes to be found here, but that never bothers me as long as they're used in a way that doesn't come across as cheesy, which they generally don't in this game. All told, it's an EXTREMELY slow boil, but if you're big on story-heavy games, this is for you . Honestly, the story was probably one of the (if not THE) best I've seen in a JRPG (Admittedly not the highest bar to set, especially with the biggest JRPG developer out there obsessed with sequels to a terrible game and pink-haired waifu nobody likes).

As for characters, this game has a wide array of endearing characters who (with a couple exceptions) go out of their way to avoid being archtypes to fill the void between you and gameplay. The two main characters are well fleshed out, and the story itself is a very satisfying one that ends quite well. I like that they actually managed to write teenage characters without them being so grating that I wanted to stick a pair of scissors in both ears. It's no Mass Effect, Walking Dead or TLOU in the character department, but Legend of Heroes certainly had enough good characters that I found my time with them honestly enjoyable.

So do yourself a favor. If you don't mind slower JRPGs, pick this up.

*Edited for typos and to add a bit more substance to it
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20 of 23 people (87%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
71.3 hrs on record
Posted: October 21, 2014
Fantastic JRPG. Really scratched that itch for storytelling and character dev. Combat is unique and very well implemented. noticible lack of grinding which is unusual for a JRPG. its there if u need it though. As a JRPG nut, I loved nearly every aspect of this game. my first playthrough took roughly 65hours and i loved every second of it. Im stoked that there are still 2 LoH:Trails in the Sky games coming after this to steam. Absolutley a must play for any RPG fan. 10/10 Story 8.5/10 Combat 10/10 Character dev. 9.5/10 art style.Also a total 10/10 for the voice actors they snagged for this game. Johnny Yong Bosh, Stephanie Sheh, Patrick seitz and Michelle Ruff to name a few. (Anyone who dares say they enjoy anime will recognize these names right off the bat.) But perhaps the best part about the game; That ending..... thats all i can say. That Ending.....
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19 of 22 people (86%) found this review helpful
62.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 24, 2014
This Game made me remember why I like JRPGs. It's got it all action, plot, Charecter developement, a compelling batle system, secrets, it's got it all. I can't wait for the Secound Chapter to release and would preorder if it were available. Heck I'll throw down $120 bucks to preorder Second and Third chapters right now If I could. Take my money NOW! *throws wad of cash*
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26 of 35 people (74%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
148.1 hrs on record
Posted: October 26, 2014
Yaaaw yaaaw YAAAW.
LISTEN HERE SON, DO YOU LIKE JRPGS?

DO YOU LIKE GRADE A STORYTELLING, CHARACTERS AND WORLD-BUILDING THAT'LL KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF?

DO YOU LIKE TOWN NPC'S THAT DON'T JUST SPIT THE SAME ♥♥♥♥ AT YOU, AND IN FACT CHANGE THEIR DIALOGUE AFTER EVERY STORY EVENT?

DO YOU LIKE MINDBLOWINGLY AWESOME MUSIC?

THEN SIT YOUR BUTT DOWN AND BUY THIS BOOPIN-♥♥♥ GAME, CUZ YOU'RE IN FOR A BIG ONE, BELIEVE YOU ME.
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17 of 20 people (85%) found this review helpful
50.8 hrs on record
Posted: December 23, 2014
pros:
-its a classic and solid jrpg with good storyline
-all characters are really likeable(even the npcs, btw some of then have their own story if you check then out)
-the combat system is pretty fun with some good customization
-the game is pretty challenging, especially at the end
-it has some pretty funny moments(try checking each chest after openning then)
-the game is really long with hours(around 40 hours if you speedrun) of gameplay(its kind silly that i have to say that these days since most of games are around 10 hours max long)
-the port is very well done

cons:
-the game graphically is pretty outdated(not that i give a ♥♥♥♥ since still looks good)
-you cant backtrack(so if you wanna 100% you WILL NEED A GUIDE)

dont buy this game just because you wanna more jrpgs on steam
buy this game because its a fantastic game
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14 of 15 people (93%) found this review helpful
41.4 hrs on record
Posted: October 9, 2014
This game is just simply amazing. If you enjoy long and adventurous RPGs, not to mention JRPGs, then you've come to the right place!

The plot itself is excellent. It reflects the struggles people can experience, the pain of losing what you consider dear, and the heartwarming friendship of those around you. Estelle Bright, the main female protagonist, discovers herself stumbling upon a path to a long and winding journey with the main male protagonist, Joshua Bright. She doesn't know what to expect, but she prepares herself both mentally and physically for the challenges up ahead. Sounds a bit cliched, perhaps? But if the journey begins with an odd pair consisting of a whiny, child-like teenage girl and a smart, awkward teenage boy, who both have an unbelievable amount of potential, you start wanting to follow along to see how their future turns out.

In addition to the main plot, which was fantastically written, there is a multitude of sidequests that each have their own unique effect on the gameplay. You don't just quickly rush through the events and understand the story. You take your time with each event, paying close attention to every detail, and not only understanding the story, but feeling it and living within it. And you are able to do all of this because characters of The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky is capable of pulling you into their own world.

The connections and relationships between characters are rather interesting, and you easily feel the need to know how these connections develop over time. Each character has their own wonderful background, full of mysteries that are yet to be uncovered and investigated. There is so much to learn about them and there is so much left unsaid. Their personalities are quite the attention grabber as well!

And while wandering around and exploring to your heart's content is enjoyable, the battles are also extremely exhilarating and always keep you on edge. There is never a time when you can sit back and relax during a battle. This is because it is not always easy to defeat the monsters or the opponents, and this is a good thing. Why? If something was easy-peasy, it would be expected to get boring after a period of time. These battles are battles that you must endure and help your main characters fight through successfully. They provide some difficulty, and though it can be frustrating at some points, it really does keep you going back for more.

To top off this tall stack of excitement, the soundtrack, artwork, and design are simply impeccable. The music accompanies the beautiful scenery of the game. I always found myself being awed by it all; it never failed to amaze me.

All in all, this is a fantastic game. I certainly do not regret purchasing it at all, and I always find myself being tempted to replay it over again. So, is this something you should buy? Definitely! You have my vote!
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14 of 16 people (88%) found this review helpful
16.4 hrs on record
Posted: October 14, 2014
Very interesting RPG. It seems like a real WRITER actually spent time on this. The interactions between the characters are really interesting and fun to watch. On the other side, the combat system seemed a bit simple at first, but don't let it fool you, as you unlock more items and quartz (a bit like materia from FF7) your options quickly increase. So it's an interesting game even on that front.

I've only completed the prologue, but so far this game was much better than I expected. If you want an RPG with an actual story and characters, but don't want to read a book, buy this. You won't regret it.
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15 of 18 people (83%) found this review helpful
54.9 hrs on record
Posted: November 8, 2014
I always have the most difficulty talking about a game I am completely enamored with, but The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky is one of the best games I've played. I have only played a handful of JRPGs such as Valkyria Chronicles, another of my favorites (most of which, including LoH aren't traditional JRPGs) however the appeal of this game, along with the likes of Valkyria Chronicles, is the connection to the characters, supported by a terrific battle system that emphasizes strategy and preparation.

What makes this game special, for me, is the dialogue and the characters. So much care and thought is put into the writing and the cadence of the dialogue, that it really reads like a comic or a manga where, even though you read the dialogue, the intonations of the characters come across to make them real people with values, strengths and weaknesses, and not simply there to move things along.

LoH takes its time, as well it should.

Too often, things are thrust into an "end of the world" scenario in video games that compels a forward momentum with the main quest, but LoH meanders. It is a tale about the journey, and not so much the final boss battle, to the point that the game is more than the sum of its mechanics. This is rare, in a video game, I think. Lesser games use the story as window-dressing for its mechanics, but things like putting on the school play, while little more than "cutscenes" are given weight and gravitas that it is clear, to me, that the developers consider it just as important as the battle system.

The battle system, too, is a lot of fun and while I don't have much to say about it, I do like the balance it achieves in terms of giving each character its own style, while still allowing a certain degree of customization with the Orbment system.

I'm reiterating myself, but the meat is in the writing, and there is always the impression that Estelle & Co. are making their own personal journies within the greater macrocosm of a mysterious political world that is shifting with tectonic unease... pieces on the board are moving, and the beauty is being able to step inside the shoes of Estelle's perspective (who is really the main character, at least of this chapter), and be lost, grappling with the pieces of the puzzle.

A balancing of the microcosmic, personal concerns with the larger, political and altruistic values is something that LoH manages to achieve, to the point that the game feels... well, like a full course meal.

This is food for the soul, you could say.

From the technical perspective, the music is terrific and enhances the atmosphere and connection to the diegesis. I had a few CTDs when I first installed, but IIRC, there was a patch and since then I have had no problems in my 55 hrs with the game.

10/10
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9 of 9 people (100%) found this review helpful
48.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 7, 2014
10/10 without a single thought. Amazing game with an easy 40+ hour story line and 50+ if you do all the side quests which in some cases have tiny stories that might carry over into the sequel. Old school turn based battle system that is similar to FFX in some ways. The music is also top notch but that shouldn't be a surprise as it IS a Nihon Falcom game.

And finally the characters..., they pretty much make this game. Their interactions between each other and how they change throughout just make it and awesome and sometimes hilarious experience.
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9 of 10 people (90%) found this review helpful
49.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 18, 2014
An all around great JRPG that I would say is close to best I have played. The story is engaging and the combat, while not revolutionary, is interesting going forward with the customization of the orbment system while never becoming tedious. Would highly recommend to anyone who is a fan of the genre.
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9 of 10 people (90%) found this review helpful
14.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 19, 2014
Easily one of the most fun RPG I've played in a while, mostly because you can build any characters how you want, want the dual sword wielding guy to be a healer? well do it then, or even a big guy that punches stuff left and right to spam magic spells, it's up to you.

The side quest are very fun to do because some of them make you fight boss monsters that you cannot fight without doing it and they all have their own dialogue scene that are identical to the ones from the main story

I'd give it probably a 9.5/10 mostly because it's easy to figure out what makes you overpowered and the game starts very slowly, other than that, there's not much about the game I could really complain about

I'd wait for second chapter to come out before buying it though because this game ends on a HUGE cliff hanger.
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9 of 10 people (90%) found this review helpful
47.9 hrs on record
Posted: November 3, 2014
For those who want some nostalgia factor, Trails in the Sky is a winner. While the game only represents the first chapter of what had turned into one of Nihon Falcom's most ambitious projects at the time, the game itself is solid.

The storyline is very well written and the dialogue feels far more natural between the characters than your standard JRPG fare. Unlike the standard JRPG cliché of a bunch of kids saving the world while the adults are useless, it becomes clear that they are in over their heads and are simply treading water. Also, the adults in the game are far from useless, as it becomes clear that while Estelle and Joshua, out heroes, have been busy, several of the adults in the game are busy in the background, or actually fighting.

Each of the characters has their own personality quirks and their dialogue is much more natural seeming than is typical in most JRPGs. The NPCs are even more interesting in some respects, mostly because each NPC, regardless of their importance to the plot, have names and quirky personalities at times. This level of detail gives the storyline much more depth than you would expect and the amount of dialogue is MASSIVE. (no wonder the release was delayed by several months).

The combat system forces you to think more tactically, learning the weaknesses of your enemies and exploiting them, using your character's strengths wisely and covering their weaknesses. Also, the magic system, while not as intuitive as some, is very customizable and gives you a large number of options, as well as using character specific skills.

It is repetitive at times, to the point where you will find yourself avoiding combat to get past the monotony due to eventually being too overpowered. At other times, it is extremely frustrating (one boss has an achievement for beating just because he is that difficult and the plot continues regardless of whether you win or not) due to how turn orders work.

As to sidequests, this game massively averts JRPG convention by having a large number of them. All of them are event linked, some are hidden and you have to find, and all of them have time durations on them. Short time quests must be completed before the next plot event, medium duration ones can last for a good while and long duration ones must be completed before the end of the chapter. These quests are responsible for about a third of the time you will spend on the game, if not longer and it is very easy to miss some (have fun finding them 100% completionists).

Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to go back to it and do a replay in New Game +
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7 of 7 people (100%) found this review helpful
59.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 3, 2014
If you like (J)RPGs, you should give this game a closer look.

The main driving points for my recommendation are the story and the characters, but I'll avoid spoilers. If you want to know the actual story of the game, you won't find it here, read a synopsis ; )

The story is literally a journey, that develops "organically" - if that makes any sense. It starts out small and the stakes and impact of your actions on the world gradually get bigger. The natural progression is kind of refreshing for me, since often RPGs throw your characters into situations ("You found the magic sword, now you have to save the world!") and it's something I am not too fond of.
So that and my impression, that the story is also well written, stick out in my mind.

The characters feel like they have actual personality and are genuinely likeable. They have their flaws, but also ambitions and strengths. Even side characters get fleshed out and all the characters togeher make the world feel alive.

Other aspects that tie the game together are the great soundtrack, the fun strategic battle system and the really nice visuals, especially with the character portraits shown in dialogues that help a lot to flesh out the emotions of the characters.

I'm pretty sure it's the same engine they used for the Ys games (Origin and The Oath in Felghana), so if you played those games and enjoyed the visuals, you know, what you'll get.

I spent ~60 hours playing through the game a single time and enjoyed every single minute of it, so I felt the game was worth the price.
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7 of 7 people (100%) found this review helpful
62.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 20, 2014
Quite possibly the most engaging RPG I have ever played. It has been many years since an RPG has been able to move me the way this game has. Had a hard time pulling myself away from it for long periods of time and am eagerly awaiting the second chapter.

If you are a fan of old school JRPGs or just searching for a game with a compelling, well written story, loveable characters and a strategic and some times challenging battle style; then this game is for you!
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