Date: 06-25-2012 23:01
Author: Matt Gonzales

PDC profile: Matt

Released in Japan in 2006, Trails in the Sky has finally been released state-side. Was it worth the long wait, or is it just another PlayStation Portable game to fly by unnoticed? Find out after the break...

Legend of the tactical RPG
Trails in the Sky starts of with two newly ranked bracers known as Estelle and Joshua. Their father, a hero of of the land Liberl named Cassius, is called out for a unknown mission. Estelle and Joshua must take on missions and quests that were once taken by their father. Thus the story of Trails in the Sky begins.

Tactical Gameplay

Trails' gameplay is unlike any other that I've played in the tactical RPG genre. Each character has an AT gauge, which tells you when one character has their turn. Each characters have 5 options to choose from during their turn; Move, Attack, Crafts, Arts, or S-Craft. Each option sounds simple enough, but there is a field, or board, that affects the players range of attacks. A player can only attack at a certain range, think of the game Phantom Brave. Arts and crafts are basically the spells and special attacks. CP, or character points, is gain by attacking enemies. S-Craft's are special crafts that can only be done when a character's CPs are at 100. The player can attack with the S-Craft no matter what turn they're in. S-Craft's are generally to be used if the player is trouble, though I used it to finish off battles quickly. I didn't find the combat system to be intuitive or very special in any matter. Everything seems to go quick and easy, so it's not much of a challenge in the beginning of the game.

Like most RPGs, the players can level and equip various weapons. Quartz though, makes Trails set itself off from most other tactical RPGs. Quartz are used to give each individual character arts or stat upgrades. The player gets a certain amount of slots to put Quartz in, but not all Quartz are compatible with all the slots though. For instance, a slot might tell you it will only accept Elemental Quartz. The Quartz system get's complicated but a hardcore RPG fan will sure have blast combining Quartz together. Cooking is also essential when running out of money, it allows the player to use raw materials found or bought throughout the world. To cook a dish, you must have a recipe for the dish. Eating food would tell the player the ingredients of the dish. Dishes give temporary stat boosts, restores health, or cure status ailments. I found myself cooking when lost in dungeons, though I still wasn't using it as much that I actually cared for it.

Throughout the game money must be earned by taking odd-jobs or missions. Missions are posted on a bracer guild board, and when the task is done you go back to the board and take a reward. The bracer guild board is exactly like taking quests in the Monster Hunter games. The story is told like any other RPG, but it tries to crack many jokes here-and-there. I honestly didn't like any aspect of the characters, each character seemed cliche. Estelle is the young girl who doesn't know much and always wants to take shortcuts through missions, while Joshua is the smart yet mysterious guy. The other characters met along the way also take many other RPG cliches. I don't know if this was only for the English translation, but I've seen these types of characters many times in better games before Trails.

The music got to my head, though it got way too annoying. Usually, the music would not be something that should be so screwed-up, but Trails somehow achieves this feat. Voices are also terrible. Maybe it's just me, but I'm tired of hearing the same voices that can be heard in many anime's. Stephanie Sheh and Johnny Yong Bosch provide voices for Estelle and Joshua. If you've heard an English dub of a Japanese game, then the voices would seem familiar. This goes for all other voices throughout the game. To me it seems like there is only one group of people that provide English dubs of Japanese games. Though it was good that only a few dialogue areas had voice acting.

No phoenix down in Trails
Trails in the Sky will land almost 50 hours on your PSP. While it's not much great in this day and age, I can see where Falcom was going in the Legend of Heroes game. If only Trails was released, oh maybe, 6 years ago I would have enjoyed this title much more. But many great RPG's have came before Trails being released in western and in European territories. The story wasn't too great and gameplay wouldn't be something I would talk about in the next 5-10 years as revolutionary. Initially I got confused with the Quartz system, but meddling with it got me through the game. Hardcore RPG fans would love this complicated Quartz system. Graphics don't look to appealing, but like I said it was originally released in 2006. In the end, it was not a bad game but not something I would go out and cry for.

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