The Legend Of Heroes: Trails In The Sky Playtest – Falcom Flies High

By Jenni . March 31, 2011 . 9:24am


One night five years ago, Estelle Bright’s shining Bracer and former war hero father, Cassius, brought home a young boy named Joshua. He tells Estelle he found Joshua and the amnesiac boy moves into their home. Estelle and Joshua, both 16 years old now, follow in their father’s footsteps. They too, are on their way to joining the Bracer’s Guild. That means they’ll become mercenaries and take on missions protecting people. Right after the two pass their final exam and become Junior Bracers, Cassius gets a note calling him away for at least a month. He travels to a number of places to keep tabs on some suspicious activity. Estelle and Joshua begin their new lives as Bracers without his guidance and recruiting all kinds of new friends to help them on their way.


While The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky eventually develops into a story with elements of political intrigue, much of your time is spent helping Estelle and their friends complete Bracer’s Guild missions. Everywhere you go has a guild branch and getting a new mission is as easy as checking the board. It may sound simple, but it actually adds a bit of realism since it isn’t like people are just randomly running up to Estelle and Joshua, begging for help with important missions.




Polished is the most appropriate word to describe The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky. It is absolutely beautiful and clear that Falcom put an extraordinary amount of detail into the game. The character sprites and environments look fantastic. The orbal arts system offers a lot of customization options and there are many tiny touches that weren’t necessary, but will make you smile to see them. Birds scatter when Estelle runs towards them and there’s an amusing newspaper in the game to help you keep up with current events. Townspeople may even move from one area to another too.


Xseed put just as much detail in their localization. The script is wonderful. Trails in the Sky is funny and engaging, with many clever lines throughout the adventure. I also liked the characterization for each party member, their dialogue always matched their personalities perfectly. Actually, this even applied to NPCs. Sometimes games are about seeing how many great one liners you can shove in there. When you play The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky, you can tell the script was a labor of love.


With all this text, you’d think it’d be hard to keep track of things to do in The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky. Never fear, as there are in-game notebooks, which take note of every detail so you don’t have to. The Bracer notebook holds all of the information pertaining to the jobs you completed or have to do. There are also rather helpful bestiary and recipe books as well, which can help you prepare for battle encounters or recreate tasted food to restore health. Even better is that these notebooks, like map directions, are assigned to hotkeys so you don’t always have to go through the menus to find them.




Ah, those wonderful hotkeys. With a press of a button, you can instantly bring up handy information. Pressing the triangle button lets you instantly access the Bracer notebook, recipe book, monster guide or Liberl map by pressing left, up, right or down on the D-pad. Pressing and holding the square button adds location names to the area you’re on, so you can see if you’re heading on the path to the right home or location. I got the most use out of that. It was so much easier than constantly checking the Liberl map to see if I was following the correct road.


The Trails in the Sky battle system nicely blends turn-based and strategic elements. When battle begins, characters and monsters appear on what is essentially a grid. On the left side of the screen, you can see character portraits, the turn order, and if any special bonuses are in play. Attacks have ranges though, so your party will occasionally have to spend a turn moving closer to get an attack in.


There are also special orbal arts, which are obtained by tweaking your characters’ orbments. Putting a quartz into an open orbment slot allows a character to use certain skills and boost stats. These special skills require points to use in battle and have a casting time, which means you have to wait a turn for them to take effect. The advantage of using Orbal Arts is these skills can hit anywhere on the map, attack evasive enemies, and are often more powerful. Plus, arranging quartz properly in an orbment can unlock more powerful skills to use in battles. Of course, you do level up after battles too, but it’s nice that you can also augment your character to try and customize him or her and enhance certain areas.




Everything comes together to make battles more of a thinking process. Trails in the Sky avoids the pitfall of spamming "fight" to defeat enemies. You actually have to plan. If you’re clever, you can attack enemies in such a way that they don’t even get a turn in. The S-Break special attacks really help with that. These become available after characters have taken or inflicted enough damage to fill a CP gauge. You can then press triangle and either up, down, left or right at any time to make them use the S-Craft attack assigned to the directional bottom immediately.


It may have taken five years to reach North America, but The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky was absolutely worth the wait. Even more so, because Xseed did an exceptional job of preparing the English release. I know, I’m gushing over it, but I can’t help it. I haven’t enjoyed a PSP RPG this much in a long time.


Food for Thought

  • I like that the save file also saves a small image of what location Estelle and her companions were at. It’s helpful in case you keep multiple save files, so you know where you are.
  • The ability to save everywhere is nice too.
  • Even through the characters do sort-of fall into some video game and anime stereotypes, you barely notice because they have interesting personalities and most end up being quite useful in battle.
  • I recommend waiting to use characters’ Break buttons. You never know when you’ll encounter a slightly stronger than usual enemy, and an instant S-Break attack can really help.
  • Don’t expect voice acting. You’ll only occasionally hear the characters speak during battles.
  • You have to beat the game once to unlock higher difficulty levels, but since some items do carry over from your previous game it makes it worth it.

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  • Will hopefully get the LE soon. I tried out the older LoH game brought over by Bamco, and hated that one. Looking at this, (and listening to Silver Will on youtube) I can already tell that this is going to be a great experience.

    Ohbytheway, this one guy already gave it a 2 out of 10 on the user reviews on Metacritics. EDIT: Contains major spoilers, so it’s probably better to avoid… I briefly read the beginning, so I didn’t know….. It’s from the same guy who who gave Oath in Felghana a 2 out of 10, haha. If he hates it, then it MUST be good.

    • If anyone else happens to see that review on Metacritic, DO NOT READ IT — it contains a MAJOR story spoiler for the game. It’s a reasonably well-written review, to be honest, but the inclusion of such a massive spoiler honestly makes me think it should probably be reported or something. I’m not even sensitive to spoilers, but I was like, hoooooly crap, did he really just unveil the main villain in his review?!

      And Jenni: Thanks for the warm commentary. You totally made our Thursday! ;) I’m really glad you enjoyed the game so much, and I hope to see others joining you in your bubbly excitement over this game!

      • Too late, already read it :(. I’m getting the game this weekend though! Also, was the price drop on the PSN Ys OiF permanent or only this week?

        • ‘Tis permanent! But if you buy now, you’ll enjoy it more. Somehow. ;)

      • Ladius

        You can very well report his review for “spoilers without cloaking”, since this is one of the possible abuse that can justify a review’s removal.

      • Good thing i don’t belive in “reviews” anymore

      • It’s just such a wonderful game. I can’t believe XSEED actually picked it up and released it in English. I’m actually replaying it now because I loved it so much the first time.

    • Ladius

      That review is from one of falcomgamefan’s accounts, he used them to put votes in the 1-2 range to Falcom games released by XSeed. That particular account was used to kill Felghana too, if that helps.

      Also, that review has relevant spoiler materials without spoiler warning, so it should be reported.

  • Amazon already started to ship X_X currently waiting, also, ar tonelico 3 is closer now…

  • Reitsumi

    I waited for playing Sora no Kiseki in english since 2007.

    • I’ve waited since i was born, i had a weird dream the day i was born that when i become 21 years old, and close to my birth’s month, i would be playing some strange handled console with colors and joystick a colorful rpg with a full and sexy story….

      I’m about to reach the goal of my existence…. ahhh…. AHHHH!!

  • Well thanks for those bullet points! I like how these playtests do include them. One of them essentially sealed the deal in me avoiding the game. A shame as many RPGS that I enjoy do have that aspect (not just in battle) to them.

    • Zero_Destiny

      Cool battle systems that are difficult but fun, nice visual menu, can save anywhere, and the game making the second playthru better by offering more difficult challenge and all you can focus on is the voice work. *face palm*

      • Do you still get surprised by this? -.- is pretty much the same as always

        • Zero_Destiny

          Not still get surprised. I expect it. But no matter how much i expect it, it doesn’t stop me from face palming. *sigh* It’s like screwing up in a game, you expect to get a crappy rating and sure enough you do but you still feel stupid when it happens.

          • Yeah, i did a lot of that before… now… my eyes unconsciously ignore it as a method of self-defense xD

          • Zero_Destiny

            This is why you are so wise and I am a young fool. Truly sir you are an inspiration. I hope one day I can be as passive-aggressive as you. :)

          • That’s how it goes on…Animal Planet. Some of the animals, we call them user, generate some kind of self-defense instinct to protect them and their herd of the “ignorance” ones. It’s a difficult procedure, most can’t withstand the pain of non-stop stupidness and fall, but the ones who survive are now totally immune against it and can live a peaceful live…on Animal Planet.

          • Zero_Destiny

            @Raioh Oh I must of missed that one program on Animal Planet. lol

          • Ren

            Aim it higher, aim it to Ishaan’s level of passive aggressiveness… Damn, why did I have to remember that comment by Trist.

          • @Ren
            Damn man, don’t let him push himself so hard, Ishaan’s passive-aggressiveness is legendary, it pierced the heavens and created 3 new dimensions!

          • Ahh don’t go over facepalming yourself. Tsuna’s not used to games with voice acting, so I don’t really blame him although he is going to miss loads. From my point of view, we grew up with voiceless JRPGs with chiptunes passed as voices, and that’s why we were able to tolerate this. Looking at the mainstream gamer, he’s too used to multi million dollar marketing high def graphics and fully voiced scenes and he is not able to leave his comfort zone.

            Maybe someday he’ll open up his heart to go along with more quality stuff which doesn’t depend on graphic and voice alone.

          • Well, he already said that he will give this game a chance, so maybe this is going to be a turning point for him~ xd

          • Let’s hope for the best ;D

          • Oh!, it was hard to recognize you without the chibi’s avatar you had before xD

          • Probably I should change it back…

          • lol, it’s ok o.o, ti was just used to relating you with the other one, it doesn’t means i cant relate you with the new one xD

    • Aside from “don’t expect voice-acting,” all of the bullet points were pretty much universally positive things. Not trying to criticize, but do you mind me asking which one “sealed the deal” for you?

      EDIT: Ah, rereading your comment, it looks like you WERE talking about the voice-acting. Is that really a game-breaker, though?

      • Ms. Jenni and others have so much praise for the script, that I would be much more inclined to play it just to hear it come to life vocally. I guess I just value the presentation through sound and drama in a game so much, that its difficult to get into a game that lacks plenty of it. :(

        • MoriyaMug

          As one of the people who translated it, believe me when I tell you that there is far too much text to be recorded and stored on even two UMDs. It simply wouldn’t be feasible, for Falcom or XSEED.

          • Not to mention the poor voice actors having to do all the voice work. XD;

        • Ladius

          It’s a huge script, it simply won’t be possible to dub it on UMD (the japanese version wasn’t dubbed too, in case you were wondering). Not to mention the costs… Xseed is already taking a big risk with the translation.

          Sad to see you break your “day one” policy for a title that actually needs to be supported by jrpg fans (not to mention a title that it’s worth every single penny).

          • I didnt know before that it was just not possible, it changed my viewpoint and comments do sway me to get it (once I get my amzn credits)

          • Ladius

            Really happy to read this :)

          • neo_firenze

            Here’s hoping you like it! I have a feeling once you play it you’ll appreciate the care that Falcom and Xseed put into the game.

            Also, glad to see so many posts in this topic today. I really, really, really want this game to do well so we get the sequels to the Sora no Kiseki trilogy. Even if they’re PSN only (hey, those will work on PSP AND Sony’s new portable), I will support more Xseed x Falcom goodness in any form I can get it.

      • neo_firenze

        Welcome to trying to reason with Tsuna. I actually appreciate his quirks by now, but it can be exasperating with stuff like taking this glowing review and latching on the lack of voice acting.

        No matter, TitS was DAY ONE BABY for me for sure.

      • For him, it is -_- don’t worry, he wouldnt play games like phoenix wright only because it doesnt has VA

    • Tiael

      Really? Because there’s no VA except in battle? Whatever, you’ll be missing out on a blast of an RPG because of a lame reason.

    • Whatever happened to gameplay.

      • Everyone’s comments put me at such odd ends of this. To go against my own qualm of the limited voice work and to just get the game, or to just avoid it. I think I will just go out on a limb and enjoy it in its form (since voicing this epic quest seems to have not been feasible) and I do not want to miss out on the start to a series.. The story and character dynamics do sound wonderful and the battle system fun…and at the end of the day it will just cost me maybe $9 or even $0 thanks to all this AMZN credit Ive been accumulating.

        • Tiael

          Well, good, get it, love it, and get the next in the series.

        • Ladius

          You are doing the right thing, I can understand being pissed about a localization that removes the japanese dub without even adding an english one, but this isn’t Trails’ case ;)

          • The problem with voice acting is that 1) this game has such a massive script, putting voice acting for all of the scenes would be overboard and I don’t know if the game would be able to accomplish the space requirements for it.

            Remember, the second game is on 2 UMDs. Until the new FF game for PSP, this will be the first and only game to be across 2 discs on the system.

            Second off- for a ‘did you know’ – did you know that if you want to keep the Japanese voice acting in a game, you not only have to pay for the rights of the game to the game company, the rights for the English acting to the English voice actors… but you also pay for the rights of the Japanese voices as well?


        • Hey, at the end of the day, your tastes are your tastes. Being open-minded is great, but if you don’t enjoy something, it isn’t your fault. So don’t force yourself just because everyone else asks you to. Games are meant to be enjoyed, not to feel like a chore. :)

  • Zero_Destiny

    That’s great. I can’t wait to get my hands on TiTS. XD I plan to treat it right and be nice and gentle with it. I’ll only look at it when I’m sure no one else is around. :P lol I’m so dumb sometimes I know. I’m really excited for the game though. Nice coverage. So has anyone heard the battle music yet? It’s super awesome. I love it. :)

    • Gotta love your suggestive comments…xD

      And I agree about the battle themes, they’re great!

      • Zero_Destiny

        Yes Ren showed me some and it got me hooked. XD It’s such a great old school feel to the battle music in TiTS. Nice and orchestrated kinda thing if you get what I mean.

        • It’s got a jazzy feel to it. Makes me feel like a gentleman.

          • It’s an unusual joyful battle theme, like one on youtube said, makes me want to take a walk~ :D

          • Zero_Destiny

            XD I love it so much. Everything just gives me a PSOne kinda feel. So that’s a big plus in my book. :)

          • Ren

            All the initial battle themes(normal, boss and danger) are jazzy, it kinda surprised me, since I was expecting something more like the ones on Zero no Kiseki.

          • I like variations in battle themes :D We’ve got j-pop’ish themes for Persona, jazzy for Sora no Kiseki, rock for Ys, orchestral for Final Fantasies and many more. Dunno how to categorise Zero no Kiseki’s though XD

          • The battle themes don’t get Crazy Hyper-Doom until things “get real” late in the game, basically. SC features more “traditional” fighting music, especially for major bosses.

          • It has a bit of everything mixed together, orchestral rock-pop with eurobeat elements….lol. xD

  • MoriyaMug

    For those of you who do play it, I hope you enjoy the play in chapter 3. I had the most fun with translating that particular part of the script, I think. :)

    • You mean chapter 2. ;) But yeah, chapter 2 is my favorite part of the game in general. I love the city of Ruan, I loved the play, and Kloe is one of my favorite characters. Chapter 2, in my opinion, is when the game went from cool and charming to SERIOUSLY ADDICTIVE. ;)

      • MoriyaMug

        Okay, chapter 2. I confess, I was seriously frazzled. I also had a lot of fun writing for Kloe’s roommate, whose name escapes me at the moment.

        • JUST SAY ALL OF THEM ARE GOOD, If you guys wanna tease me just tease me all the way to the end! xD

          • MoriyaMug

            Oh, it’s ALL good. Obviously. ;) Some parts were just particularly inspiring. My cohort truly became the voice of Olivier.

          • I has been teased…

          • Yeah, no kidding. Chris’s take on Olivier was nothing short of genius. ;)

            ‘Twas a harrowing localization, but I think it turned out pretty awesomely in the end.

    • Ladius

      Wow, you are one of Trails’translator? Now I understand why the script is so good, aside from Chavez’s editing :D

  • Some people are making a fuss about the game not having quotation marks. Is it really that distracting?

    • MoriyaMug

      It’s a little odd, but it was a technical limitation, not a stylistic choice.

    • I dont think that’s much of a big deal anyway -.-

    • It made me raise an eyebrow at first, but I got over it after about 15 minutes. It’s really not that big of a deal. You’ll be so absorbed in the story, you won’t even notice after a while.

  • Enjoying it right now.
    Srsly Xseed, you rocks!!!!

  • FX102A

    I have little experience with regards to JSRPG’s, with the exception of Valkyria Chronicles (which is kinda in a league of its own) and Agarest (which I found very unforgiving and tough). Taking a bit of a gamble importing this from the States (I just love XSeed’s limited editions far too much).

    • I wouldn’t even call it an SRPG. The battle system is closer to Grandia than to Agarest.

      • Oh man, I love Grandia so much. I confess I never actually finished it (it got SO HARD at the end) but the battle system in the first game was great, and it just LOOKED awesome. The script doesn’t hold up particularly well when you’re not in high school, but man did I love that game.

        • Have you tried the online game of grandia? I’ve always wondered how it was D:, seems it has the same battle system.

          And yeah, grandia 1 and 2 were great T_T, the 3rd was good too, but it missed a lot of points because the story wasnt thaaat good, and the MC didn’t attract me that much too… And grandia Xtreme was a good way to kill the desire to fight more with grandia’s 2 battle system xD

          • Honestly, the only games I played were 1 and 2. 2 didn’t grab me like the original did (Maybe I just missed Justin and company), and I don’t play anything with “Xtreme” in the title out of respect for the English language.

          • Haha, you didnt lost much by not playing Xtreme… The battles are nice but the story… The characters werent that good either.

            I liked grandia 2 mostly because that was the first one i played xD, but in grandia 1, the characters felt more fun and complete. Still, Grandia 2’s story, i really liked it, but it ended way too soon, it was so short it kind of made me mad…

            Justin might be the ONLY “kid” kinda shounen manga main character style on a game that i have liked. I dont know why i always end up hating kids on any game they appear…

          • Dude, try Grandia 3. Seriously crappy story but first class battle system. On Disc 2 the enemy becomes unfair, but with awesome skillz you can overcome it!

          • The problem, Ashgail, is that my skills are more or less the opposite of awesome. I suck at pretty much all video games.

          • Ohhh don’t say that :( maybe you just didn’t get the hang of the game. Anyways I recommend Shadow Hearts 2 if you want an enjoyable story, innovative battle mechanics and lovable characters although it’s quite hard to find nowadays…
            But hey, even if you’re not that good in video games, but you guys bring awesome games! Thanks for that m.__.m

          • kupomogli

            The first Grandia is one of the best RPGs on the PSX. It also has the best battle system in the Grandia franchise. With Grandia 2 they altered the gameplay, and while the game is good, it’s no where near as good as the original. Grandia Xtreme has a stupid title and less than good storyline, but the gameplay is better than Grandia 2. I own Grandia 3, but still haven’t opened it.

            One thing I’ve got to say about Grandia Xtreme though. This generation has had a lot of RPGs with garbage storylines, especially the console games. The Grandia Xtreme storyline isn’t great, but it’s bearable. Let’s just say that it mops the floor with games like Dissida and Duodecim which had storyline so bad that a third of the way through I just started skipping the cutscenes and through all the text(something I’ve done only with four games so far, one of those being an import.)

    • Agarest is pretty much a hardcore pure blooded strategy game xD, TiTS is, as Chestnut said, close to grandia on that part, so dont expect something close to agarest O.o.

    • As others have noted, Trails is not actually a strategy RPG. Battles are far too quick (and optional) for that to be a valid classification, I’d say. ;) Think of it as a standard turn-based JRPG, but with strategic elements added to its combat system for good measure.

  • neo_firenze

    My copy should be arriving today from Amazon, and it has been a struggle for me not to buy it on PSN during the wait since Tuesday. Heck, I might still buy it again on PSN just to show how much I support Xseed’s Falcom projects!

    Now to hope that part 2 and 3 don’t take too long, and that Xseed is able to bring Zero no Kiseki and Ao no Kiseki to NA as well :D

    • I have to waaaait, freaking importing………. i hope my sexy LE’s box arrives safetly, well Neptune’s giant box arrived good so im not scared on that part

      • You didnt get Ar Tonelico Qoga?

        • Im still waiting for it, remember i gotta import it D:!, i already asked the company that always brings my games, hopefully next week… It normally takes 1 month to reach me, worst part of all is that it takes more time to get out of my country’s custom house, it takes like 2 weeks -_-

  • XSEED’s already said that they’re releasing it in EU as a PSN download, so I’ll wait for that… This pumps me up! BOOYA!

  • Still waiting on my copy. C’mon, Amazon!

  • Aw man I actually wanted to wait for some money before ordering this, but I just couldn’t withstand the awesomeness this game emits~ Awaiting shipment and looking absolutely forward to playing this kickass game! :D

  • mikanko

    Honestly, I’m glad this game doesn’t have voice acting, and even happier you can turn off the voices in the battles. I personally prefer jrpgs without voices, back to games like FFVI and Suikoden 2 which I found far more engaging narrative wise than most recent jrpgs. That’s not to say there aren’t a few exceptions, but on average I find voice work in super text heavy games a bit superfluous.

    • I agree. The lack of voices made me all nostalgic, thinking of those classic RPGs I loved when I was in grade school and high school.

  • Ladius

    Ordered the limited and then double dipped on PSN since I just couldn’t wait :D So far it’s really an outstanding jrpg, the hype was totally justified.

    The battle system is far more enjoyable than I thought reading the “it’s all about the plot” posts on many boards. In fact, it’s one of the most interesting I see in years.

  • Maxwell3000

    OMG. I have liked everything about XSEED ever since they published Shadow Hearts 3! This is great news…I gotta get this

  • “The ability to save everywhere is nice too.”

    This is very good. Really should start to become standard in most, if not all, RPG’s.

  • Hours

    I’m so happy to be seeing all the positive press this game is getting. ^_^

  • Joanna

    I need to pick this up somehow, even though I’m pretty much broke at the moment. ;__;

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