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PSP Review – The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky

March 31, 2011 Written by Joseph Peterson

One of the top RPG publishers for the PlayStation Portable, Xseed Games, have finally decided to bring over The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky to the North American market, for the first time ever. It is noteworthy that this title is actually developed by Nihon Falcom, which is behind many of the RPG titles offered for the PSP. Trails in the Sky is the first title in a full fledged trilogy, with the other two titles eventually making their way to the North American market as well.

At the start of the game, players will be slowly introduced to the two main characters, Estelle Bright and Joshua Bright, through a lengthy cutscene. Joshua himself was brought home by Estelle’s father, Cassius Bright, while he was out performing his duties as a member of the Bracer Guild. Joshua was severely hurt, and was brought into the Bright family, and even adopted eventually. Numerous other characters will be encountered throughout the game as well that will join you on your journey, each offering an interesting backstory that has made them who they are in the game. It is interesting to see some of the things that have shaped these characters as you progress through the story – it definitely makes you feel more related to them.

In the game, classic RPG fans will feel right at home, with not only the gameplay mechanics, but the deep story mirroring many RPGs. Granted, some fans may not like having to read that much text within the game, but it definitely adds a ton of depth to the history behind the title. Occasionally the conversation allows the player to choose what will be said, with this level of choice adding a personal aspect to the title, making it all the more important to pay attention to the different conversations that will occur throughout the game.

Fast forward five years after Joshua’s adoption, and Cassius is one of the most famous members of the Bracer Guild. It seems only natural that Estelle follows suit, and joins up to the guild with Joshua when she reaches the age that allows admittance into the Junior Bracers. The game centers around these two as they complete various Bracer missions, and there are, of course, a few unforeseen twists and turns along the way.

What is a story with great characters without a fantastic environment for the story to take place in? Trails in the Sky occurs in a fictional land known as Liberl Kingdom, on the western half of the Zemuria Continent. The Liberl Kingdom is still recovering from an attack that took place 10 years ago by the Erebonian Empire. Much of the technology that is used was learned from the invasion that occurred those years ago. As you progress through the story, you will discover more things about the past of the kingdom itself, and learning about specific character’s pasts, primarily Joshua.

It is amazing the level of depth that Nihon Falcom went to with the title. It is really a story that covers all possible angles, but also leaves many questions that will hopefully be answered in future installments in the trilogy of Trails in the Sky.

The game will have you doing many jobs in the beginning once you become a Junior Bracer. These jobs can be found in the Bracer Guild headquarters, and typically involve investigating instances that occur around the the Kingdom. It is a bracer’s duty to protect civilians and areas of the land, hence the reason they are required to be combat specialists to be in the guild, as well as pass many tests before acceptance. To accept one of the many jobs available there will be a bulletin board with job postings, and approaching the board will allow you to accept the job your choosing.

After completing a job, it is essential that you report back to the Bracer Guild to not only get your pay, but also your rating on the particular job just completed. The money you will receive will be the in-game currency known as mira. How much money you get depends on your rating and actions during the job, so you are constantly being evaluated as a Bracer. Besides the money, you will receive a certain amount of Bracer Points, known as BP. These points are required to move up in the levels of being a Bracer, which is essential to become a top level Bracer. When advancing in your Bracer rank, you will not only receive a new “rank”, but also special equipment as well.

Trails in the Sky features a magic system just like many other RPG’s past and present, but it is in the form of using orbments. Being that there are several types of orbments in the Liberl Kingdom, it is essential that this is the technology that drives their culture. But it is not their own, they were picked up from the Erebonian Empire when they invaded Liberl ten years prior. But the orbments have become such a norm for the people, that they are used in almost everything. This ranges from airships to even battles themselves. All orbments must have orbal energy to function. Via the in-game menu, players can load out their character specific orbments with whatever features they would like. If you want a specific character to primarily be a fighter, then you would focus on filling the slots of the orbment with those abilities that must be purchased at a orbal factory, which are found throughout Liberl.

To power the orbments you must fill them with quartz that you have created at the orbal factories. Making these requires the use of various sepith that you have acquired throughout your battles, and there are a total of seven different kinds of sepith, and each kind of quartz requires specific versions of sepith. The sepith may also be traded in if you have an abundance of a certain kind for the in-game currency of mira.

Now what is so important about these orbments? They are essential to winning key battles, allowing for statistics boosting, addition of various kinds of magic, and several other effects. The quartz that are equipped into them can also be leveled up, with the higher leveled quartz allowing for more advanced spells/effects. The spells/magic within the game are known as the Arts. While in battle choosing to use the Arts will consume EP, once drained it cannot be used unless replenished through rest or a form of medicine.

There is equipment to equip on various parts of the body, allowing for the character to have five total things equipped. This includes weapon, body wear, footwear, and two accessories. Equipment may be purchased at vendors, or found/discovered in the game continue reading…

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