The Legend Of Heroes: Trails From Zero (Switch)

The Legend Of Heroes: Trails From Zero finally got its long awaited Western release after 12 years of waiting. Trails from Zero is part of Falcom’s Trails subseries which also encompasses the three Trails in the Sky games and the more recent Trails of Cold Steel games. The game released for PC, PS4 and Nintendo Switch on September 30th 2022.

The Trails subseries is split into three separate arcs: The Liberl arc, the Crossbell arc and the Erebonia arc. Trails From Zero is the start of the Crossbell arc and as you may have guessed, takes place in a place called Crossbell. A rookie detective named Lloyd Bannings who returns to Crossbell after growing up there. Upon returning, he is assigned to a new police division: the Special Support Section. Along with his new colleagues: Elie, Randy and Tio, he begins to solve odd-jobs for the cities inhabitants. Along the way the group uncovers the cities seedy underbelly with criminal syndicates vying for power and corruption throughout the city. You’re in for a slow burn of a story here but the story, particularly the world building on offer is exceptional.

Everything about the world feels alive, even random NPCs dotted around the city have their own lives with changing dialogue throughout the game. The world of the game doesn’t feel confined to things going on in the story either, the world has its own history. Being the second arc of the series puts it in a weird spot for new players with elements from the Trails in the Sky games appearing in the game. While the main story can be understood without any other knowledge there is some things that playing previous games would help you understand more. Overall, the story is fantastic and shouldn’t be missed with its great main cast and exceptional world building.

The main gameplay loop consists of a main quest to complete each in-game day along with a few optional side quests. These side quests are usually worth completing before you tackle the main quest as for the most part they don’t take too long and tell short stories that adds more depth to the cities inhabitants. They usually consist of finding a few items or travelling the city completing tasks. The main quests are obviously much more interesting with the stories being fantastic. The combat of the game plays out as a turn based JRPG that takes place on a grid.

Attacks are split into three main types: Your standard basic attacks, Arts which are essentially magic from other JRPGS with them using EP, the games mana equivalent, with the final type of attack being crafts which differentiate themselves from arts by being instant compared to arts having to charge before casting. In a strange move, some attacks do circular AOE damage despite the game taking place on a grid which can occasionally make it difficult to hit all of the enemies you’re aiming for at once. After accumulating enough craft points through attacking, you can unleash your characters ultimate attack, an S-Craft. Different status effects can change turn order adding an extra layer of depth to the game. This all makes for a fantastic combat system with a lot of depth. The animations in combat can make battles last a lot longer than needed as they are fairly slow for the most part, luckily there is a high speed mode that can speed them up. This is especially helpful if you’re in a long grinding session. Overall, the gameplay is very fun and backs up the games stellar story well.

Trails from Zero was originally a 2010 PSP game, which means the games graphics are not of the standard you would expect nowadays with the games visuals looking fairly simple. However, despite this I feel the game has excellent art direction which if you can get past the visuals looking dated makes the environments of the game look good. If you’re coming in after playing any of the Cold Steel games there is a big adjustment to the different style. However the city of Crossbell and its surrounding areas feel full of life.

The soundtrack of the series is consistently good and this game is no exception with an upbeat soundtrack that fits into the world well with the battle themes being a real highlight. The soundtracks for some of Crossbell’s areas are also great. The game features Japanese voice acting only. While this Japanese voice acting is great, I would have liked an English dubbing to go with it but it is understandable given the fact that the game is a simple localisation as opposed to a full remake. Overall, despite some rough edges visually due to the games age, the presentation of the game is great with some great art direction and a fantastic soundtrack.

Trails From Zero is a fantastic JRPG with stellar storytelling taking place in one of the most interesting worlds I’ve seen in the genre. This is backed up by the games satisfying combat and great soundtrack. While the games age is apparent in some aspects, particularly graphically, this is a JRPG that shouldn’t be missed by fans of the genre and certainly not by fans of the series.

4

Summary

A great JRPG with an excellent story backed up by a fantastic soundtrack and engaging combat.

The following two tabs change content below.

Shaun

Latest posts by Shaun (see all)