REVIEW – The Legend of Heroes series finally draws to a close, but not with one, but three separate yet intertwining adventures. Will the heroes manage to halt the world’s destruction, or will they finally succumb to the dark forces? We can finally discover this in Trails into Reverie, the actual “dream” of JRPG fans.
The Legend of Heroes series is one of the most well-known and loved Japanese role-playing game franchises, which kicked off over 30 years ago as a spinoff from Dragon Slayer. The most recent strand of the series, the Trails saga, has been running since 2004 and encompasses over ten games set in a shared world where political intrigues, secret societies, and ancient forces shape destiny. Trails into Reverie is the final installment of the Trails series, concluding the storylines of the Cold Steel, Zero, and Azure arcs, tying the threads together in an epic finale.
Three Paths, Three Fates
Trails into Reverie isn’t a conventional game, as we get to control not one, but three protagonists, whose stories unfold in parallel but intersect at certain points. We can choose which story to play through first in the game, or switch between them during gameplay. Each narrative is set in different locations and involves different characters, but they all share a common goal – the fate of the world hangs in the balance.
The first story revolves around Rean Schwarzer, the protagonist of the Cold Steel arc. Rean wakes up in a mysterious dream world where he encounters old friends and foes. He doesn’t understand why he’s there or how he can escape, but he quickly realizes that this dream world isn’t harmless. Rean must confront his past and present while trying to decipher the secret of the dream world.
The second story is about Lloyd Bannings, the main character of the Zero and Azure arcs. Lloyd is a member of a special police unit defending the state of Crossbell against the Erebonia Empire. Lloyd and his comrades increasingly find themselves in a tight spot as they are squeezed by the Erebonian army. Lloyd has to grapple not only with enemy soldiers but also with traitors and corruption.
The third story introduces a new character, C, who leads the resistance as a masked revolutionary against the secret society known as Ouroboros. C’s goal is to thwart Ouroboros’s plans, which threaten the world’s balance. C must face not only members of Ouroboros but also his own past and identity.
The three stories provide different perspectives on the events and eventually converge at a shared climax. During the game, we often encounter situations and characters that evolve differently depending on which storyline we’re playing. The game thus offers plenty of rediscovery opportunities and holds surprises even for veterans of the series.
The gameplay largely mirrors previous Trails games, being a blend of open-world exploration, combat, and dialogue. The game world is vast and detailed, filled with side quests, hidden items, and intriguing characters. During battles, we control a team who utilize different abilities to defeat the enemy. The clashes are strategic and challenging, as we need to consider enemy weaknesses, weather effects, and territorial advantages. The dialogues immerse us deeply in the game’s story and world, providing a wealth of background information and character development.
Role-playing at Its Best
The gameplay in Trails into Reverie is similar to previous installments, but this isn’t a downside, as the series has worked excellently so far. The gameplay builds upon three main elements: open-world exploration, combat, and dialogues. The explorable world is vast and detailed, full of side quests, hidden items, and intriguing characters. Amid the events, we can traverse the territories of the Erebonia Empire, the state of Crossbell, and the Republic of Calvard, each offering a distinct ambiance and culture. We frequently encounter events and characters influencing the story or gameplay, thus making every corner of Trails into Reverie feel diverse.
During combat, we control a team using different abilities to defeat the enemy. The confrontations are strategic and pose a challenge as we need to consider the enemy’s weaknesses, weather effects, and territorial advantages. We can use characters’ unique abilities, known as Crafts, or magic provided by special crystals, known as Arts. The Brave Order system, allowing us to give various bonuses to our team temporarily, and the Break system, allowing us to breach enemy defenses and inflict more significant damage, also play crucial roles.
Dialogues immerse us deeply in the game’s story and world, providing abundant background information and character development. During these dialogues, we also have choices that can influence the storyline or our relationships with other characters.
We often meet characters from previous installments, and through dialogues, we can experience many humorous and emotional moments, bringing us closer to the characters.
Your PS5 won’t melt from it
In terms of graphics, Trails into Reverie does not bring any major novelty compared to the previous parts. The game still runs on an engine optimized for PlayStation 4, thus it does not fully utilize the capabilities of PlayStation 5. However, the visual aspect of the game is still pleasant and colorful, and the character models are cute and expressive. The music and sound create the right atmosphere with great melodies and professional voice actors.
The atmosphere is engaging and unforgettable, as the game perfectly combines cheerful and humorous moments with dramatic and tense scenes. The game’s story is full of twists, surprises, and emotional goodbyes, providing a worthy conclusion to the series. The game’s length is also very generous, as you can spend up to 100 hours with the three stories and side quests.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie is a solid little JRPG, a must-have for every fan. The three parallel stories are sufficiently exciting and twisty, and the gameplay is fun and challenging. The game’s graphics can be described as pleasant, but don’t expect a wonder that pushes the PlayStation 5’s capabilities, however, the music and voice overs are quite convincing. The biggest disadvantage of the game is that it is not very friendly to new players, as it requires a lot of prior knowledge from the previous parts of the series. But if this doesn’t bother you, it’s definitely worth “dreaming” a bit and plunging into these last three adventures.
+ Three parallel stories that are exciting and varied
+ Fun and strategic battle system
+ A deep and rich world full of side quests and hidden content
– Does not take full advantage of the capabilities of the PlayStation 5
– Requires a lot of prior knowledge from previous parts of the series
– Sometimes too much dialogue and background information
Publisher: NIS America
Developer: Nihon Falcom
Release: July 7, 2023.