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The Legend of Heroes series.

MessiMessi Member Posts: 738
edited December 2016 in Off-Topic
I've been recently playing through this game series when it finally hit me. These games are totally Japanese version of the Baldur's Gate games. They are very story heavy both on the grand scale, between party members, and even random NPCs usually have some backstory. The party members also have much deeper stories than even those in BG2. So I decided I needed to post about them here where most active BG fans are these days. :)

Trailer for the PC release of The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky.

I personally started the series with Trails in the Sky which also begins the now 7 games long grand narrative (8th in the making). That is not to say that you don't get any resolution before playing them all. There are three main story arcs, Trails in the Sky (3 games), Crossbell (2 games), and Trails of Cold Steel (2+1 in deveploment). At the same time there are some things that progress and carry on between all the games in the series. The time the games are set in is a time of major political turmoil and industrial revolution.

Honestly though I won't bother trying to explain why these games do such a magnificent job at world building when someone else has already done it much better than I ever could:


Anyway I thought I'd post about these games here because they aren't too well known, and I'm 100% sure at least few of you would really enjoy them.
Kuronamegamike15ThacoBellCrevsDaakJuliusBorisovTeflonelminstertypo_tilly

Comments

  • megamike15megamike15 Member Posts: 730
    i remember when i first tried to get into the series right before sc came out. i got bored at chapter 2 and put it off until sc came out. then this year i played them both and man was i dumb to stop. this is a jrpg series to really get into. it's not about saving the world it feels so much more personal and the world building my god the world building.

    not many jrpgs have each npc's line of text change after every single plot point [ the only other rpgs i can think that do that is the lunar games.

    i'm so hyped for the third coming out next year.
    Messi
  • MessiMessi Member Posts: 738

    not many jrpgs have each npc's line of text change after every single plot point [ the only other rpgs i can think that do that is the lunar games.

    Forgot to mention that one myself. I can't actually think of any other game that does it.

    Also I agree with you that Trails in the Sky does starts slow and doesn't reveal its greatness right away. Which is actually other reason why it reminds me of BG1.
    CrevsDaak
  • GrimLefourbeGrimLefourbe Member Posts: 631
    Well, the gameplay is very different from BG but I bought both during last year's Steam's sale and I got completely absorbed as well. I've always been a fan of turn based too so it just made things even better.
    CrevsDaak
  • megamike15megamike15 Member Posts: 730
    Messi said:

    not many jrpgs have each npc's line of text change after every single plot point [ the only other rpgs i can think that do that is the lunar games.

    Forgot to mention that one myself. I can't actually think of any other game that does it.

    Also I agree with you that Trails in the Sky does starts slow and doesn't reveal its greatness right away. Which is actually other reason why it reminds me of BG1.

    yeah the point where trails clicked with me was chapter 3. but to be fair most of fc is setting up the world and characters and the real meat does not begin till sc. as they were meant to be one huge game but were cut in half.
    CrevsDaaktypo_tilly
  • TeflonTeflon Member, Translator (NDA) Posts: 517
    Played 3 about 12 years ago if I remember correctly and 'twas good, touching. :)
    https://ko.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/영웅전설_III_하얀마녀
    But lose interest since then :neutral:
    Didn't know already there are 7 released.
    CrevsDaaktypo_tilly
  • MessiMessi Member Posts: 738
    Teflon said:

    Played 3 about 12 years ago if I remember correctly and 'twas good, touching. :)
    https://ko.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/영웅전설_III_하얀마녀
    But lose interest since then :neutral:
    Didn't know already there are 7 released.

    There are actually more than 7 if you count those early games. However even though they share the Legend of Heroes name they don't actually have any connection to the newer ones. Trails in the Sky starts the current grand narrative.
    Teflontypo_tilly
  • Artemius_IArtemius_I Member Posts: 1,998
    edited December 2016
    Best trilogy of games I've ever played. (I count Zero and Ao as a separate arc and haven't played Sen). It's like a game that combines the best of WRPGs and JRPGs with its world building, huge amount of sidequests and great characters. The antagonists are made of awesome, and the soundtrack... oh god the soundtrack.

    I played the Chinese translations in my childhood and honestly I didn't expect the games to be localized ever, but I was pleasantly surprised when I learned that FC and SC both had English translations. The localization is very faithful to the original text and some of the humor is arguably better in many places.

    Minor stuff related to the 3rd:
    While the 3rd doesn't get as much love because of its setting and the linear plot I think the story's still great and the gameplay is the most fun of all three games. I expect that a lot of players might not enjoy it as much though.
    TeflonCrevsDaak
  • AyiekieAyiekie Member Posts: 792
    Playing through Trails of Cold Steel steadily on the Vita; I'd played Trails in the Sky before but never got through it (that's not because of any problem with the hilariously-acronymed TitS, but rather because I am a serial game unfinisher); I'll try it again sometime but have too many other things on my plate right now.

    They're both really good games, for sure, and TitS' insane amount of dialogue changes is a wonderful feature even if I can't imagine taking full advantage of it (so... much... walking). Cold Steel has a less expansive but still similar amount of character/world development, as almost everybody at the school has a name, unique model, and some little blurbs you can find out about them, and a goodly number have an ongoing subplot you can follow by paying attention.

    It's also nice that they keep the anime tropes and fanservice down to a relatively low point.

    That being said, I'm skeptical if they're going to appeal that much to people who just don't care for JRPGs. They're still JRPGs at the core - preset main character, linear plot, several character tropes, turn-based combat systems (of course, Baldur's Gate has that, but it doesn't look like it has that...). Still, can't disagree that the sheer amount of world-building bits and weird NPC sideplots is reminiscent of BG.

    @Artemius_I does bring up something I've wanted to ask for years, though - what is so great about Falcom soundtracks? I'm not saying this to dis your tastes, or because I hate it, but because I've been hearing for nearly twenty years that Falcom soundtracks are all super-ridiculously-good, but TitS and ToCS are... not bad? Kinda there? Like, if I didn't know I was supposed to love them, I wouldn't even have noticed them - "Niceish standard RPG music, doesn't bother me, forgotten instantly once I stop playing the game".

    It could just be that it's not to my tastes, but the acclaim for Falcom stuff is so universal that I can't help but feel I'm missing something (besides, I've occasionally liked other game soundtracks). My best guess in ToCS is that comparative to most games, there seems to be more BGM, with a bigger variety of instrument usage? That seems weak, though. Anyway, I'm just legitimately curious as to why you (or anyone) loved the soundtrack so much.
    Kurona
  • KuronaKurona Member Posts: 772
    My boyfriend is a huge Falcom fan and also considers their soundtrack the most awesome thing ever for reasons I've never understood. It always seemed pretty generic to me, especially compared to the average GUST soundtrack (and without taking Ar Tonelico/Ar no Ciel/Ar no Surge into consideration). I've only played Ys: The Ark of Napishtim personally, and while I think I should try The Legend of Heroes one of these days there's always something else on my backlog that takes precedence...

    Anyways I'm with @Ayiekie in that I'd really like to know what is it in Falcom's compositions that move you so much.
    typo_tilly
  • megamike15megamike15 Member Posts: 730
    well these are three of my favorite songs from both trails games so take that for what you will.







    typo_tilly
  • KuronaKurona Member Posts: 772
    I gave in and played Trails in the Sky (the First Chapter).

    It started really slowly and the characters fell completely in recognizable JPRG archetypes. There's something that caught my attention enough to not drop it immediately however and this will certainly sound silly: it's treasure chests. In this game, every time you activate a chest you just opened, you get a pithy comment making more or less fun of you, and it's different from every chest. Made me think "hey, that's some effort here so it'll probably be get good" and indeed, I'm glad I kept playing.

    Overall there are a lot of cliches, enough to allow me to guess most of the plot twists pretty early and even the sudden reveal at the end wasn't exactly surprising. Still, this is what I would call "cliches done right" in that it was still enjoyable, and because the characters talk so damn much they slowly left a bit of their archetype mold behind. I understand the first game is more about world-building and the real meat starts now with the Second Chapter and I'm looking forward to it.

    My biggest beef with the game would be how incredibly easy it is. Aside from two battles (the final boss and one late fight you are allowed to lose) I was never threatened in any way, making buffs and debuffs almost useless. There's a hard mode available once you finish the game but I'd rather start with SC for now.

    Btw I stand on my previous comment about the soundtrack. There are maybe 3 songs I'll remember: the really creepy track playing in small villages, the battle music against generic rangers and the boss music against major antagonists. It doesn't hold a candle to the Atelier series or especially Ar Tonelico.

    Anyways, I liked it. Going to play SC now and afaik there's a third one afterwards. Though it may be on the Vita, in which case I'm out of luck because I don't have one (unless I borrow my bf's I suppose).
    Ardanistypo_tilly
  • AyiekieAyiekie Member Posts: 792
    Kurona said:

    I gave in and played Trails in the Sky (the First Chapter).

    It started really slowly and the characters fell completely in recognizable JPRG archetypes. There's something that caught my attention enough to not drop it immediately however and this will certainly sound silly: it's treasure chests. In this game, every time you activate a chest you just opened, you get a pithy comment making more or less fun of you, and it's different from every chest. Made me think "hey, that's some effort here so it'll probably be get good" and indeed, I'm glad I kept playing.

    The awesome/hilarious thing is that that was actually purely from the localisation team. Because apparently they didn't have ENOUGH work translating a game that had three times the dialogue of a typical jrpg.

    Personally speaking, I was sold immediately (or rather, my intuition at picking up the game was rewarded) upon the realisation that the dumb, headstrong girl with the staff was actually the main character, not the generic-looking broody mysterious guy with a sword. For that alone (okay, and also that it was a good game), I'll go back and finish it and get its sequel at some point.

    It'll definitely be for the Vita, though, they already said TiTS 2 would be their last PSP game. That being said, the Vita is an amazing pick up if you like Japanese games. Though not a cheap one, due to Sony's overpriced memory card shenanigans (protip: do NOT buy a 64gb card, they sometimes start crashing if they're over half-filled, due to a design flaw Sony's never seen fit to fix - other sizes are fine).

    Kuronatypo_tilly
  • KuronaKurona Member Posts: 772
    edited May 9
    I'm reviving this thread because Trails in the Sky the 3rd got its US release last week. Unlike FC and SC it's only on PC via Steam.

    I was planning to eventually play it in Japanese if it happened to be delayed but it hasn't been so I just bought it :)
    Kamigoroshitypo_tilly
  • KamigoroshiKamigoroshi Member Posts: 4,057
    Kurona said:

    it's only on PC via Steam.

    Your info is old. GoG got Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky the 3rd as well. The same for Humble Bundle. Both places even come with an -10% discount.

    I am planning of getting it eventually. But I have to finish its prequels first.
    KuronaCrevsDaaktypo_tilly
  • KuronaKurona Member Posts: 772
    edited May 9
    Holy shit I'm a moron.

    I'll just get a refund from Steam to buy the GoG version instead. That's what I get for not doing research.
  • AyiekieAyiekie Member Posts: 792
    Well, at least it did get a non-Steam version. Although it's sad that there's no Vita version, as honestly I'd be much more likely to actually finish that (I don't play many PC games these days, for reasons).

    Still, it's near enough to a goddamn miracle that all three of them were actually translated.
  • typo_tillytypo_tilly Member Posts: 5,038
    I've played a bit of Trails 1, and I think I'll very slowly get through the trilogy. I enjoy how that even though the main conflict will likely be on a grand scale, you get to carry out minor quests all the time. It makes me feel of low level adventuring in BG1. The dialogue is also noticeably better than any other JRPG I've played, likely because of the great effort made to translate the game well. It doesn't wow me, but there is a noticeable difference in quality. The dialogue doesn't feel stilted or strange.

    As a fan of Falcom music*, I find most music in Trails to be generic. It's quaint and slightly jazzy, which isn't my thing (like Breath of Fire 3 almost), but it's the repetition that really gets me. I wish they made 1 or 2 more wilderness outside tracks and 1 or 2 more town tracks to change things up.

    *Falcom was one of the first video game companies to really push video game music: original and arranged pieces. They also toured as a band early on, I think. They do a better job in the Wanderers from Ys series: A Searing Struggle, Ernst, Redmont, Gust of Wind, Canal. Maybe they're just better at fast-paced fight music?
  • KuronaKurona Member Posts: 772
    I'm really busy these days but still managed to shave off sleep time to do a playthrough of the 3rd. What can I say? It's a pure fanservice game, in a good sense. The "hey wouldn't it be cool if X were playable?" and "I wish we could fight Y" thoughts that may have popped into your head during FC and SC are all made reality. It also does a bit of building for later games but still mostly fanservice.

    Also I think Lechter is my new favorite character.
    typo_tilly
  • MessiMessi Member Posts: 738
    Trails of Cold Steel coming to PC this Wednesday. Think I might get it even though I already have it on PS3... Mainly for the extra voiced dialogue and potential mods.
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