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The Legend of Heroes: Trails of General Discussion

Sprite

(He/Him/His)
So! Falcom's lovely little sub-series of sub-series has a few passionate fans on here, so I figured I'd make a general thread, as discussion of the series itself tended to bounce around between threads for the individual games.

What is Trails?
Trails, or Kiseki as it's known in Japan, is a sub-series of the Legend of Heroes series by Falcom, part of a long and confusing legacy going back to Dragon Slayer in the 8-bit days. Trails itself is basically an anime MCU-style universe of interconnected RPG sub-series, each taking place in a different country of the fictional continent of Zemuria. Like the MCU, each sub-series is designed as a jumping in point for new players, tying more and more into the overarching plot with progressive games.

The appeal of Trails, to me at least, is that it's anime comfort food wrapped up in surprisingly robust world-building. These games are very long, very wordy, and lean heavily on tropes, but they tend to execute those tropes well. They go back and forth between grandstanding, "this isn't even my final form" cataclysms, and characters just shooting the breeze over a cup of tea discussing the latest gossip or an upcoming trade conference. It's delightful.

Where should I start?
There are three different jumping-on points, though only two have official English releases: Trails in the Sky and Trails of Cold Steel. I personally think Sky has better writing and a better protagonist, whereas Cold Steel has more modern amenities and a crunchier (and more exploitable) battle system. Whichever you go with, prepare to be stuck in for quite a while. Trails is two 40-50 hour games and a 30-40 hour side story. Cold Steel is four 60-80 hour behemoths. Cold Steel also ties in pretty heavily with the games that don't have an official English release, though they do have fan translations. I haven't played those yet.

Anyway, these games. They are fun and good!
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
I'd completely forgotten Cold Steel IV comes out in two months, so thank you for posting this. I can't wait! Enough so that I'll be buying the PS4 version even if I'd prefer it on PC or Switch...
 

keurig

AO Tennis no Kiseki
(he/him)
I really need to get around to playing Cold Steel. Might start that soon, but a little uneasy with Xenoblade Chronicles on the plate, and Moon releasing in a few days.
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
I have played and loved all 3 Trails in the Sky games, and I'd love to hop into Cold Steel, but find myself in the Crossbell waiting room. I just really want to play these games in the way that they were released/intended; I hate spoilers. I'm still holding out hope that they'll get an official domestic release someday at which point I will gleefully consume them *and* Cold Steel.
 

aturtledoesbite

earthquake ace
(any/all)
I have played and loved all 3 Trails in the Sky games, and I'd love to hop into Cold Steel, but find myself in the Crossbell waiting room. I just really want to play these games in the way that they were released/intended; I hate spoilers. I'm still holding out hope that they'll get an official domestic release someday at which point I will gleefully consume them *and* Cold Steel.
I'm in mostly the same boat, but I did play CS1/2 already.
 

Torzelbaum

????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
Where should I start?
There are three different jumping-on points, though only two have official English releases: Trails in the Sky and Trails of Cold Steel. I personally think Sky has better writing and a better protagonist, whereas Cold Steel has more modern amenities and a crunchier (and more exploitable) battle system. Whichever you go with, prepare to be stuck in for quite a while. Trails is two 40-50 hour games and a 30-40 hour side story. Cold Steel is four 60-80 hour behemoths. Cold Steel also ties in pretty heavily with the games that don't have an official English release, though they do have fan translations. I haven't played those yet.

Anyway, these games. They are fun and good!
But they sound quite long. Which wouldn't be as much of an issue if I didn't already have a large backlog of RPGs that each will probably take a fair amount of time to play.
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
I have played and loved all 3 Trails in the Sky games, and I'd love to hop into Cold Steel, but find myself in the Crossbell waiting room. I just really want to play these games in the way that they were released/intended; I hate spoilers. I'm still holding out hope that they'll get an official domestic release someday at which point I will gleefully consume them *and* Cold Steel.

I hear you. It's frustrating, too, because you're going to get "spoiled" no matter which way you play the games - either the Crossbell games will spoil bits of Cold Steel, or vice versa. Still, I wanted to play them in release order as well. For what it's worth the fan translation - at least of the first Crossbell game - is excellent.
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
I hear you. It's frustrating, too, because you're going to get "spoiled" no matter which way you play the games - either the Crossbell games will spoil bits of Cold Steel, or vice versa. Still, I wanted to play them in release order as well. For what it's worth the fan translation - at least of the first Crossbell game - is excellent.
Yeah, and fan translations would be good enough for me if there were good-quality translations of *both* games, but what I've seen of the other game's translation bums me out, and given its release platforms, I doubt we'll ever see a similar project for it.
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
Yeah, and fan translations would be good enough for me if there were good-quality translations of *both* games, but what I've seen of the other game's translation bums me out, and given its release platforms, I doubt we'll ever see a similar project for it.

The same people who did Zero did announce they're doing Azure, as well, but who knows when that will come out.
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
Maybe I have it backwards, but I thought one of them was PSP only, and the other fan hack was built on a Chinese Steam release? I just want to be able to play both games with good translations on my PC; I've never had a PSP.

ETA: That's super exciting news, though! Thanks for letting me know. I hope someone will sound the call when they finish.
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
There is a guide on the Geofront website to buying the PC port of Azure, so once the fantranslation is done, you should be able to play both Crossbell games on your PC.
 

Cyrael

...we're shy.
(he/him)
I enjoyed Cold Steel enough that I hooked up my laptop + dual shock to play the 3 Trails in the Sky games. I'm in chapter 4 of 'The Third' and having a pretty good time of it. The speed I am getting through the chapters is way faster than it was in First or Second, but I haven't been able to get into about half of the 'Doors' I've come across. I'm sure those will pad things out nicely.
 

keurig

AO Tennis no Kiseki
(he/him)
Maybe I have it backwards, but I thought one of them was PSP only, and the other fan hack was built on a Chinese Steam release? I just want to be able to play both games with good translations on my PC; I've never had a PSP.

ETA: That's super exciting news, though! Thanks for letting me know. I hope someone will sound the call when they finish.
You're most likely thinking of the old fan translations from a few years back, they were really janky and honestly not that great. Impressive considering the size of the games though.

Like Kazin has said earlier in the thread: the 2020 Geofront English release fan translation of Zero is utterly fantastic and built off of the Japanese PC release of the game. It works with legitimate copies that you can buy digitally and the game runs and plays great. The translation itself is at XSEED quality, and honestly the best we'll probably get. If it wasn't for the messy history of the translation patch (passed too many hands for it to be feasible), I could imagine NISA picking this up.

Geofront's Azure release is the same thing, built off the Chinese PC port of Azure, which can be bought in the west for about $10 directly from the publisher via PayPal.

The same people who did Zero did announce they're doing Azure, as well, but who knows when that will come out.
I've been following this pretty closely as I can't wait to jump back into Crossbell. The first pass is 95% done at the moment despite the patch only being announced a few months back. The team themselves previously said to expect it to release around the same time as Zero (March), but it may be sooner or later. When anyone asks, they're pretty much just saying 2021. They're also waiting for Cold Steel IV's release to make sure that the terminology is identical between the two. But so far the progress speed has been ridiculously fast, I'm well aware that this has been in the works for about a year in secret though.

Really cool that they're bringing this over. The old fan translation patch for Azure really doesn't do it justice.
 
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Sprite

(He/Him/His)
Falcom seems a lot more confident these days that the Crossbell games will get an official English release eventually. Here’s hoping, the Crossbell section of Cold Steel III made me jonesing to see more of that setting.
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
Crowd-sourced chest messages is such a good idea. I love it.
 

Cyrael

...we're shy.
(he/him)
So I am in the endgame of Tails in the Sky The 3rd and I believe I just hit 'that door'.

You guys weren't kidding. FUCK.

I have one more Star door to do, then I believe it is on to the end game. I put this one on easy just because I wanted to breeze through the story and honestly it was great. No need to worry too hard about Orbment setups, party composition or anything. I really enjoyed a lot of the side stories and the background it gave to some characters who didn't have much time in earlier sessions.

I played Cold Steel 1 before any of the Liberl games and I am seriously considering going through and doing a NG+ run of it again to see what kind of new things I recognize, such as knowing what Oroborous is or that Lecther has ties to Liberl or even who the hell this Cassius Bright is and 8 Leaves Sword masters are.

But that also leaves me questioning if I should really try and get the Crossbell games up and running and play through, or if just jumping into Cold Steel would be okay. It looks like I would need to buy a version of it and apply a patch. Has anyone done it here? Does controller support work pretty well? I've been playing the Steam versions of the Liberl games with controllers on Big Picture mode and it's been fine, despite having to hook up/take down my laptop all the time.
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
I played and loved all 3 TiTS games and genuinely have no idea what door ya'll are talking about.

Sometimes I just like to lie back and imagine what it must be like to have a brain that remembers things.
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
So I am in the endgame of Tails in the Sky The 3rd and I believe I just hit 'that door'.

You guys weren't kidding. FUCK.

I have one more Star door to do, then I believe it is on to the end game. I put this one on easy just because I wanted to breeze through the story and honestly it was great. No need to worry too hard about Orbment setups, party composition or anything. I really enjoyed a lot of the side stories and the background it gave to some characters who didn't have much time in earlier sessions.

I played Cold Steel 1 before any of the Liberl games and I am seriously considering going through and doing a NG+ run of it again to see what kind of new things I recognize, such as knowing what Oroborous is or that Lecther has ties to Liberl or even who the hell this Cassius Bright is and 8 Leaves Sword masters are.

But that also leaves me questioning if I should really try and get the Crossbell games up and running and play through, or if just jumping into Cold Steel would be okay. It looks like I would need to buy a version of it and apply a patch. Has anyone done it here? Does controller support work pretty well? I've been playing the Steam versions of the Liberl games with controllers on Big Picture mode and it's been fine, despite having to hook up/take down my laptop all the time.

Controller support works great! I used the same controller I used to play the TiTS games for Crossbell, an 8bitdo SNES style thingy.

I played and loved all 3 TiTS games and genuinely have no idea what door ya'll are talking about.

Sometimes I just like to lie back and imagine what it must be like to have a brain that remembers things.

1. Major Trails in the Sky the 3rd arc spoilers within: The one where you get Renne's backstory, where it turns out she was forced into being a child prostitute and it's super creepy and 100% unnecessary imo! I wish I could forget it, frankly.

2. Speaking of remembering things... is the JBear reviews his calendar thread done for good? I always enjoyed that one...
 

Cyrael

...we're shy.
(he/him)
Cyrael Life Spoilers: I went and bought it and applied the patch and got it setup in steam and oh I am in too deep there is no coming back
 

keurig

AO Tennis no Kiseki
(he/him)
So I am in the endgame of Tails in the Sky The 3rd and I believe I just hit 'that door'.

You guys weren't kidding. FUCK.

I have one more Star door to do, then I believe it is on to the end game. I put this one on easy just because I wanted to breeze through the story and honestly it was great. No need to worry too hard about Orbment setups, party composition or anything. I really enjoyed a lot of the side stories and the background it gave to some characters who didn't have much time in earlier sessions.

I played Cold Steel 1 before any of the Liberl games and I am seriously considering going through and doing a NG+ run of it again to see what kind of new things I recognize, such as knowing what Oroborous is or that Lecther has ties to Liberl or even who the hell this Cassius Bright is and 8 Leaves Sword masters are.

But that also leaves me questioning if I should really try and get the Crossbell games up and running and play through, or if just jumping into Cold Steel would be okay. It looks like I would need to buy a version of it and apply a patch. Has anyone done it here? Does controller support work pretty well? I've been playing the Steam versions of the Liberl games with controllers on Big Picture mode and it's been fine, despite having to hook up/take down my laptop all the time.

Late to replying to this, my bad!

I found that controller support worked great with Geofront's Zero patch. Literally to the point where I was using my laptop in steam big picture mode and it felt like an official release. Tons of options too, even allows you to quickly rebind it to use Nintendo button order (which was nice, as I was playing it with a Wii U Pro controller). The game itself was also really easy to buy and patch. Purchase worked with my credit card, and then the installer just uses the files from the site, you don't even need to install anything beforehand, it'll do it for you.

if you have any questions about it, feel free to hit me up.
 

Cyrael

...we're shy.
(he/him)
if you have any questions about it, feel free to hit me up.

Hey thanks! I actually got it all set up and have been really enjoying it. Definitely easy to see this as the stepping stone between Sky and Cold Steel in presentation and mechanics.

The only thing that's frustrating is the Turbo Mode goes bananas in battles - whenever I target something the camera jerks around like crazy. Once the target is confirmed it's fine but wow it's obnoxious.
 

Erilex

hourglass figure
I loved Trails in the Sky 1 and 2 and had fun with (but did not love) Trails of Cold Steel 1 and 2. I'm on the fence about playing the second half of the Erebonia quadrilogy because I get the impression that the series is getting further and further away from what made those first games so special to me, and morphing into some sort of... high-tech fantasy Persona? Should I give Cold Steel 3 and 4 the benefit of the doubt, or are they just going to confirm my worst fears?

EDIT: Oh, also, I should probably mention that I really, really, really, REALLY (really) hate Rean's guts. I know he is the protagonist in 3, and probably also in 4, but any assurances that he at least becomes slightly more tolerable would go a long way in convincing me to give these games a try.
 
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Sprite

(He/Him/His)
I just started the final chapter in ToCS III and it's definitely my least favorite of the franchise so far. I and II feel like they justify their length but I've been playing for dozens and dozens of hours here and very little has happened, just a ton of build-up. I'm sure the climax will be exciting, but I don't understand why they thought this needed to be a whole game. It also resorts to the same bad habits of the previous games over and over, which makes showdowns very predictable and lacking in tension. I'm really freaking tired of trouncing a boss only to cut back to my dudes completely exhausted and said boss laughing it off as barely a scratch, then teleporting away after I'm saved by someone off-screen.

I don't hate it, I'm still having fun and I'm still playing, it's just a bit of a slog. There is stuff to like. The new character Juna is one of my favorites and could carry a game on her own. Actually everything that has to do with Crossbell - including Juna - is really great and makes me wish I had sought out the fan translations of Zero and Ao before jumping into this. I also love that (very minor character spoilers) Prince Cedric, the little kid you save in II, turns out to be an absolute tool. And of course there are plenty of fun little scenes with the characters drinking tea or whatever and just shooting the breeze.

And yeah, Rean's the protagonist and I wish he weren't. He's fine from a plot perspective, and I find the awful predicament he's forced into at the end of II pretty compelling. But he's just so boring and yet every woman in the world wants to jump his bones.

Also, (TiTS character spoilers) the games seem to want to transition Tita and Agate from a guardian relationship to a romantic one, and I hate it, because the dynamic between them was one of my favorite parts of TiTS.

In any case, I guess my recommendation is to look into playing the Crossbell games first. I wish I had. I'm really looking forward to ToCS IV, though, a review I read made it sound exciting.
 

Cyrael

...we're shy.
(he/him)
I am staring down the end of Trails from Zero. It wasn't my favorite but I am not sure if that is fatigue (I played ToCS 1, then TiTS 1-3 all in a row) or not. I played with the Geofront patch and I couldn't tell the dialogue wasn't the same quality of the 'official' releases. I had a few technical issues mostly in battles, but nothing that made me stop playing.

Now I am in the position of deciding if I want to play Trails of Azure with (from what I've heard) a sub-par translation, or wait for the Geofront one. My other thought was to play ToCS 1-2 and then do Azure, then ToCS 3-4.

Anyone have experience with the existing English availability of Azure?

I really liked the main cast quite a bit, but probably not as much as my friends from TiTS. I was really excited to see Estelle and Joshua, and even get to have them in my party here at the end. I wasn't in love with the new character portraits they used for them, but I am sure it was just because how used I was to seeing the older ones. The supporting cast was a lot of fun too!

Crossbell as a whole was really well put together. I liked having everything really close by and tightly knit and seeing how things changed over the 4 months or so that the game took. Dungeons as always were a little bland, but not horrible. By the end of the game I did miss having an equivalent of the 'Cloak' quartz to just dodge all the battles. Maybe there was one and I just missed it.

Having Renee come back and tie the story of 'that door' into more of the main narrative wasn't something I expected either. I've still got the final boss and wrap up to do , so not sure how it is all going to fall out.
 

Mightyblue

aggro table, shmaggro table
(He/Him/His)
There is no existing availability; you can basically buy the Joyoland PC port online somehow, then apply the initial patch, and then the Flame edits on top of that, or you track down a prepatched copy on ye olde stormy seas.

The Zero team's Azure patch is supposed to include a walkthrough of how to do it legally, but it'll be a while.
 

Cyrael

...we're shy.
(he/him)
...You can basically buy the Joyoland PC port online somehow, then apply the initial patch, and then the Flame edits on top of that, or you track down a prepatched copy on ye olde stormy seas.

Er yeah, sorry I wasn't clear. Has anyone used the patch + edits? Is it good enough or should I wait?
 

Mightyblue

aggro table, shmaggro table
(He/Him/His)
I have used the patch + edits, and it in combination with the shitty port is very jank. Like, late 90's-early 00's localization jank. I wouldn't recommend it unless you absolutely want to play Azure before CS IV drops, as the Zero team's patch is going to fix a lot of the technical issues with the port.
 
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