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The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky Review

The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky Review

Over the last year, Falcom and XSEED Games have made RPG fans very happy with three different entries in the Ys series on the Sony PSP. However, developer Falcom is also in charge of another, lesser known RPG series to Westerners: The Legend of Heroes. After being originally released in 2006 in Japan and being passed up by numerous publishers due to its sheer story length, XSEED Games have painstakingly translated each and every line to bring the title to North American shores. The question is, was that time well worth the effort?

The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky stars Estelle Bright, your typical tomboy heroine who enjoys a good fight and isn't afraid to get dirty - and just so happens to have an extreme fetish for sneakers. Alongside Estelle is her adopted brother Joshua, who is the polar opposite of his sister, being the calm and rational one who usually stops Estelle from barging into situations recklessly. Early in the game, players find out that Estelle's dad, Cassius, brought him home one night out of the blue and ever since then the two have grown up together as siblings. Both siblings have been in training to become Bracers, a group of freelancers who act as a quasi-police force taking on people's requests, ranging from gathering items to slaying monsters. After becoming junior Bracers early on in the game, the duo find out they need to visit each of the branches laid amidst the kingdom to become fully-fledged bracers, thus begins their journey and the premise is set for the game's storyline.

While this sounds quite dull initially, Trails does a great job of building up the storyline by using an episodic chapter progression system that generally breaks up each of the game's chapters. As the story progresses, key plot points and twists begin to unravel, switching up the game from your typical easygoing adventure to an entangled conspiracy plot that eventually envelops the entire kingdom. Unlike most RPGs that tend to either undergo this type of progression too early or too late in the game, creating an awkward shift, Trails finds a very happy medium in its implementation and should really be commended for doing so. And considering the game will take most players at least 40 hours to complete, this is very welcome, indeed.

Helping the excellent story progression is the game's character development. Unlike the Ys series, Trails has a much more lighthearted tone to its story and characters. This is generally shown through the interactions with each character, such as when Estelle and Joshua bicker and bond with one another as any normal siblings would. The supporting characters and NPCs carry on this feeling with some very comical and humorous banter that doesn't feel at all forced. However, Trails does tend to put more of the exposition's focus on the main characters throughout the game, which undervalues the development of the game's supporting characters. While there is a fair bit of character interactivity to go around for all of the characters, one tends to get the feeling that more could have been done in this department.

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