Published on May 23rd, 2017 | by Ahmad Gameel0
Legend of Heroes: Trails in the sky
Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky the 3rd is the third installment in the critically acclaimed series. It’s developed by Nihon Falcom and published by XSEED Games.
It’s a port of a game tailored for the PSP so don’t expect anything mind-blowing here but the character sprites are nice to look at and there is good visual variety when it comes to the environment.
The gameplay is your typical turn-based Jrpg. You hit a target then the target hits you, then you hit them again with your weapon or magic or arts that each character has that is unique to him/her. You do that till they are dead then you level up, get better weapons and gear and all that. I thought the gameplay was nice but it was either a bit too easy as most of the normal enemies die in two or three turns max or just too hard that you die in two or three turns. I wish they would have balanced that. Also, the only real time where I really had fun were when I was fighting the bosses and thankfully the game has tons of them but I would have loved if the normal enemies gave me a small bit of trouble and made me use my magic or arts more but honestly though, the meat of this beauty of a game is the superb writing and storytelling.
Also aside from the normal gameplay, there are doors in the game which are categorized into three types which are Moon Doors, Sun Doors and Star Doors. The Moon Doors gives you backstories to some of the party members that can go up to 2 hours lengthy scenes. The Sun Doors gives you backstories but with mini-games added to them like fishing, poker and so on. The Star Doors give you backstories just like the Moon Doors but in a shorter length which usually is between 20 to 30 minutes. While those doors are entirely optional, it is absolutely recommended that you enter them not only for the amazing stories they contain but also because they give you great rewards when you finish them.
The soundtrack is phenomenal in this game and its most definitely one of my favorite in 2017. My only gripe with it is that I wish there were more tracks in the game but what is there is absolutely beautiful. Also, there is a little bit of voice acting in the game which is used only in battles when characters use an attack or finish the battle or die. It’s a shame really because I think voice acting would have added more depth to the characters especially when the writing in this game is phenomenal which brings us to the next part which is…
The story starts 6 months after the events of the second game with the main protagonist Kevin Graham on an Airship on a mission on behalf of the Septian Church. After he finished the mission, he got another mission to retrieve an artifact. While he is on that mission, Kevin and his partner Ries Argent that we are introduced to during the mission gets attacked by an unknown assailant that transfers them to a place called Phantasma. It’s basically like the Otherworld from Silent Hill or Stranger Things.
I have to say, I was not impressed by the first few hours as the game’s opening hours were really slow and confusing especially for a person like me who got into the series in its third installment especially when later on, the game really demands you to have played the first two or at least read about it since it doesn’t give you much about them.
The very beginning on the Airship was balanced when it came to gameplay sections and story sections but then the two hours that followed it, I ended up watching two slowest and most boring story scenes I have witnessed in my gaming life. I almost gave up on the game because of those two hours Look, I am not a stranger to games that has slow openings (Persona and Kingdom hearts 2 comes to mind) but this just takes the cake as painfully slow with scenes that could have easily been explained and done much faster. Thankfully, after those two hours, the pacing of the game’s story improves marginally. You meet tons of great, well-written characters along the way. I loved the charisma between the members in the party and even though there are 16 total playable characters, I didn’t feel overwhelmed by the amount because everyone had their time to shine in the game and each one of them had a great backstory that added so much depth to them. I was afraid at first that the big roster will mean some characters will get neglected by the writers but boy, was I wrong. Each and every one of them has so much personality and interesting stories to them to the point where I wanted Kevin to take a back seat for a bit and give the others more time to shine.
Literally, my only gripe with the story is that I wish the other 15 characters had their backstories fleshed out much more than it already was because they were awesome. Some of those backstories had me in tears and that I believe is a testament to just how powerful the writing in this game is. Also, some of those characters have some seriously dark and messed up past and it went to places I never expected to see ever in a game, let alone a Japanese RPG.
Also, did I mention that the chests in this game talk? Yes, they crack some jokes when you inspect them twice and some of them made me laugh so hard and one of them had this to say and I quote “There was a treasure here. It’s gone now.” This is an obvious reference to “There was a hole here. It’s gone now.” which was written in Silent Hill 2 and I was happy this was in the game especially given how big the similarities between those two games when it came to the story and the Otherworld setting.
Legend of heroes: Trails in the sky the 3rd doesn’t have the visual flair of Persona 5 nor does it have the slick gameplay of Nier: Automata but what it has is a story that is one of the best I have experienced this generation and even though this is just an HD port of an old game, I can easily say it stand among 2017’s best games. If you are a JRPG fan then this game is a must buy and if you enjoy a game with a big emphasis on the story then you most definitely fall in love with this game.
I give it a 4.5/5