The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky the 3rd PC Review

There are a great amount of choices for JRPG's, is Trails in the Sky the 3rd a game that sticks out form the rest?

By UletheVee4, Posted 20 May 2017

I didn’t know anything about The Legend Of Heroes series prior to this review, other than The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky reviewed by our Chief Editor. I didn’t know it was an RPG series that had multiple titles across different continuities in the same universe, like the Xeno-series. I certainly didn’t know that it was a game mostly featured on PC that goes as far back as the MSX2 (The computer that saw Metal Gear for the first time). On top of that, I certainly didn’t have very high expectations, seeing how my opinion regarding RPGs is less than favorable.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky the 3rd,PC,Review,Screenshots

You see, whenever I’m paired with RPGs, I more often than not get bored of the mindless repetition of commands, the grinding and the “Press A 20 times to read part of the story before you go to the next roadblock”. It’s an issue I complained about slightly in the Night in the Woods review, but this is the genre that made it happen. And my view of Trails in the Sky the 3rd is oddly the same despite being different games.Trails in the Sky the 3rd definitely does things that I really dislike about JRPG’s. But it also has a ton of interesting developments that hooked me right up, because the game had done them differently than other games in the genre .

Let’s start by talking about the visual aspect and how impressive it is even in a year like 2017. The porting team definitely did a good job in keeping those visuals brimming with quality, especially with the airships and their interiors. I was really hooked by the design of these places alone, and they appear as soon as the Prologue chapter.

Not to mention, this game is also fairly well detailed when it comes to its animations and combat. A lot of the time you would expect to see something simplistic, because the sprites are 2D pixel art. But the game impresses you with its flashy,good-looking fight scenes which, coupled with a great layer of minor voice acting and dramatic pauses during the fight, manage to bring a more sophisticated visual aspect in combat and outside of it. It’s something I can definitely commend this game for.

I knew about the fighting game Ys Vs. Sora No Kiseki and my particular love for its soundtrack, and to realize that the developer studio is the same, I got incredibly hyped to listen to the music of Trails in the Sky the 3rd. By all that is holy, I love its fantastic music. The main theme “Cry for me, Cry for you” sticks to me no matter what, despite being the most anime stuff I have ever heard in my life. The main fighting theme “Fighting Right On!” also makes me excited for any fight I am in. No matter how long it takes, it always makes me feel ready for fighting. The sound design on every other aspect is okay, however, mostly because the music is so well crafted, you literally fail to notice that there are sound effects, or other stuff going in the background.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky the 3rd,PC,Review,Screenshots

Now, the gameplay is kind of a mixture between Grandia and Fire Emblem. You start in a grid where you have to walk a set amount of spaces and then attack your target if they are within range. You take turns during the fight like any other JRPG and if your team is wiped out you will be sent to the last point you saved in, so constant saving is important.  The “Elemental” attacks and enemies are based on three major elements that counter each other, Time, Space and Mirage. These are three major elements where  There are also status changes which you can use during battle like RUSH, which makes you take one additional turn, GUARD, which nullifies any and all damage, for a period of turns or VANISH, which will make a target disappear for a little while. I can’t forget about, the rare and bull- I mean, slightly unfair DEATH status either, which basically means dealing a 1-hit KO to the target and also tends to be used more in favor of the enemies than for you. All of these have to be used or countered appropriately, for example having MAX GUARD to avoid getting a DEATH effect, it’s necesary you familiarize yourself with such effects unless you want your squad dying early on.

Then, I have to mention how unfairly difficult this game is to people who are new to the franchise, which can make the word “Annoying” acquire an entirely new meaning. the game will be rougher on you if you don’t apply your tactical skills accordingly. I should say that whether you like the members of your party or not, you keep them in top state because otherwise you’ll regret it.

The story centers around Kevin Graham a priest for the Septian Church who finds himself in events that take place after the conclusion of the last game Second Chapter. After succeeding in an infiltration mission, Kevin is sent to the Liberl Kingdom, where an artifact was retrieved from Valeria Lake, and he was required to investigate it alongside a Priestess –and old friend of Kevin’s- Ries Argent. Unfortunately, the operation goes awry and the two suddenly find themselves in a land called Phantasma, in which not everything is at it seems. Two characters, the King of Shadows and the Dark Knight will guide them through the labyrinth.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky the 3rd,PC,Review,Screenshots

Kevin and Ries soon realize that they aren’t alone in the trip when they start finding old buddies and comrades, a lot of them returning from the previous installments completing a 16 playable character roster, each with their own gimmick going for them. Every single one of them will have their own important input in the story and getting to know them will also be something that pays off. The focus of the story is centered, mostly, on Kevin and Ries because they start unveiling their past, not to mention uncovering all the secrets in Phantasma.

Now, here’s the main problem I have with Trails in the Sky the 3rd. You saw how that plot summary took me a few minutes to describe? The game will proudly tell you that you have spent around 3 and a half hours just getting through the beginning of the game alone, and most of it was being skipped by me because of utter lack of interest in the extremely heavy amounts of dialogue that come from it.

Yes, I know it adds to the story and I know it’s important character development, but by god there were a lot of instances where I wanted Kevin and Ries to shut up and move onto the next scene, but the game decided I wasn’t done and I needed to read 2 more paragraphs to the bible that is the story. Let’s say that the beginning portion of the game is 80% dialogue and 20% actual gameplay, only coupled by transitional cutscenes instead of being able to explore freely like any other RPG would have you doing after a few dialogue sequences. If this carries over all the way until the end game, it definitely isn’t something I’m going to look forward to, and neither will any other player that isn’t a Trails in the Sky fan.

Then there’s the difficulty. I’m not saying that this game is for the faint of heart but set that difficulty to normal if it’s the first time you play a game in the The Legend of heroes series. The challenge is ridiculous on higher difficulties and it certainly will test your patience . It’s not so bad during its beginning portion, I will admit that. But later on the game will be pretty unforgiving if you didn’t actually get to organize your team and skills well enough, as the bosses become more challenging and you’ll be forced to use every single character to the best of their ability. So, keeping them at peak condition and managing their abilities well is a must.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky the 3rd,PC,Review,Screenshots

Even with the glaring issues, Trails in the Sky the 3rd is a charming videogame that has a lot of dedication and love put into it. The story of the game is certainly interesting for being an epilogue/spin-off. The visuals and gameplay are unique and different from other RPG games I have known so far. However, in my opinion, they make a further impact thanks to my distaste for games in the genre.The soundtrack is so fantastic I want a copy of it so I can listen to it on my phone. It certainly could’ve gone for a more “tutorial”-ish part to make it accessible to new players in the series, and I certainly can’t recommend it to a casual player, or someone who wants to get into JRPG’s. Because in that respect, there are far more accessible options out there. It takes a certain amount of dedication and skill to play this game, and certainly hardcore RPG fans will make the most out of the experience.

Javier Ulises, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): PS3, PC, Vita
Publisher(s): Nihon Falcom
Developer(s): Nihon Falcom
Genres: Role-Playing
Themes: Role-Playing
Release Date: 2017-05-03

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