• arrow
    LOG IN 
    • Log in using an option below.
         
      Forgot password?
      Login with Facebook
      Sign in with Twitter

  • REGISTER
ABOUT US
Contact Us Who Are We? Hall Of Fame Advertising With PG Games Archive
BEST GAMES
Best games on iPhone Best games on iPad Best games on Android
FREE STUFF
Best free games on iPhone Best free games on iPad Best free games on Android Competitions
GAME SALES
iPhone game sales iPad game sales Android game sales
UPDATED GAMES
Latest iPhone game updates Latest iPad game updates Latest Android game updates
NEW RELEASES
New iPhone games New iPad games New Android games
MORE PG SITES
PG.biz PG FRANCE PG GERMANY PG Game Guides PG GameHubs PG Connects 2014
MORE SM SITES
AppSpy Free App Alliance 148 Apps Android Rundown iPhone Quality Index iPad Quality Index Android Quality Index Swipe Magazine Best App Ever Awards
PARTNERS
Metacritic
GameRankings
Pocket Gamer on NewsNow
GamesTracker
dx.net
UK Mobile Pages Directory
Skinflint Price Comparison
PSP  header logo

The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky

For: PSP
Summary Review Screens Videos Articles Tips  

Brace yourself

Product: The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky | Developer: Nihon Falcom | Format: PSP | Genre: RPG | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
 
The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky PSP, thumbnail 1
Falcom and Ghostlight's latest has all the trappings of just another uninspired and unwelcoming PSP JRPG.

It's a re-release of a seven-year-old game, from a niche developer unheard of outside role-playing circles, and a name that's as forgettable as, you know, that thing.

But The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky is a title that proves you can't judge a game by its manga-plastered cover. It's one of this year's best traditional JRPGs.

You oversee the journey of Joshua and Estelle Bright, an adolescent brother and sister pair who set out to become Bracers - amalgams of knights, police officers, and private investigators – and who get involved in a conspiracy that sees them travelling across the Liberl Kingdom, adding new recruits to bolster their team.

It's a world of swords, sorcery, and Orbments - a technology powered by crystals that creates the necessary conditions for a curious universe where large mechanical structures such as airships can exist in a mediaeval fantasy setting.

A Liberl amount of naturalism

The game is gigantic, with heavy emphasis on detailed dialogue within a grand narrative. Conversations aren't just simple exchanges to move the story forward - they're full of the etiquette of the day and realistic interactions with characters.

If Final Fantasy is melodrama, then Trails in the Sky is Stanislavskian naturalism - it's not realistic per se, but it's believable. The counterpoint to this is that there's a lot of text to read and speech to listen to, making for a slower, more deliberately paced experience.

The translation from the original Japanese is excellent throughout, leaving the light-hearted humour and delicate tension between Estelle and her adopted sibling intact, though an odd bug does seem to replace all instances of quotation marks with square brackets, which can become irksome.

Nevertheless, Liberl is an inviting place to trek through. 2D character models are set against a bright and colourful 3D backdrop, and there are picturesque environments at every turn. The many town houses and dungeons are detailed and distinct, with highly crafted homesteads and shops that have clearly had a lot of time put into them.

But it's how the game slowly unfolds that beckons you deeper into its world. Working within the parameters of a traditional JRPG - such as turn-based combat, experience-based levelling, visiting towns to buy and upgrade weapons – Trails in the Sky refines these and adds its own ideas into the mix.

For one thing, getting into scraps is optional (you can see enemies in the overworld) and you can easily escape from them if you find them tricky.

You can also retry battles should your party be wiped out, meaning that the crushing sense of defeat that so often follows several hours of effort in RPGs is absent here, encouraging exploration and experimentation in a story full of side-quests and secrets.

Encounters themselves verge into the strategy role-playing game genre, too, playing out on a grid system with attacks that have specific reaches and areas of effect.

Clearly brilliant

Fighting foes is a pleasure rather than the chore it often becomes in less imaginative RPGs. The game not only gives you plenty of options in combat, but it also gives you advice when you need it.

As well as letting you see which character will move next, the left-hand side of the screen also denotes any status effects that may affect an upcoming decision, such as whether the next strike will be a Critical Hit.

This isn't to say the game is easy - it's just fair. You never feel the engine is hiding any of its tricks from you, allowing you to strategise without the need for trial and error on every occasion. Enemies are still smart, though, and can become significant problems if not handled quickly and effectively.

There are so many more minor features that we don't have space to go into: its technical elegance on the now-aged Sony hardware; a deep crafting and upgrade system; a gigantic cookbook of recipes for items; three levels of map navigation for any situation. But these are ribbons on the gift that is Trails in the Sky's core offering.

This release from Ghostlight is a mightily impressive proposition. Fans of the genre will revel in the complexity and vastness of the story and systems of play, while those who don't like the traditions of the format will be welcomed in by its forgiving attitude and believable characters.

If you have a PSP and an interest in JRPGs, this needs to be on your radar.
 
The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky
Reviewer photo
Peter Willington | 15 November 2011
With staggering depth and surprising accessibility, Falcom have succeeded in making a traditional JRPG that both die-hard veterans and those uninitiated with the genre will love
 
Have Your Say
Post a comment - Please log in to leave a comment
Pocket Gamer Biz     PG Login
Login with Facebook Sign in with Twitter
Show: Latest | Oldest
Joined:
Dec 2013
Post count:
1
Remigiusz Kazimierczyk | 13:23 - 27 January 2014
The best jRPG on PSP, with no doubt :)
Joined:
Jan 2012
Post count:
1
bsjegioegiojrghwrjg | 19:22 - 13 January 2012
This is AMAYZING LYK LOLZ ROFL
Joined:
Jun 2011
Post count:
108
Etharius | 21:53 - 27 November 2011
Dammit, I meant parts 2 & 3 :/
Joined:
Jun 2011
Post count:
108
Etharius | 21:52 - 27 November 2011
I imported this before a Euro release was announced, and it's a brilliant game, possibly one of the very best on the system. My only worry is that parts one and two will fail to arrive in the wake of the Vita launch.
LATEST COMMENTS
LATEST NEWS
LATEST VIDEOS
VIDEO REVIEWS