Review: The Legend of Heroes: Trails Through Daybreak

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Legend of the Heroes Nihon Falcom franchise enters with a fresh land Footprints through the Dawn a journey to the current, stunning Calvard Republic.

With an almost entirely fresh cast of likable lead characters, it’s one of the strongest entry points for newcomers to the series. Trails through the dawn evolves the series with key gameplay changes, but still maintains the classic wit and charm that fans have come to expect.

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Screenshot by Destructoid

For the first time in a long time, players need almost no knowledge of the previous games to play this one. Legend of Heroes: Trails to Dawn begins with a quick and fun introduction to Van Arkride. Van runs his titular Arkride Solutions, a handyman-like office in the capital of the Republic of Calvard, Edith.

In a way, Van’s daily life reflects his past. Trails heroes like Lloyd and Estelle. He takes on random assignments like deliveries or investigations for money. The problem is, this hero is not a hero type. Van lives and breathes a moral gray area in everything he does. For example, he has no qualms about lying to law enforcement or killing someone if need be.

This “truly neutral” attitude of Van results in Footprints through the Dawn most influential addition to the series: alignment. Players have three different alignments known as Law, Gray and Chaos. Instead of pledging to one side, they act more like Person’social statistics. One side quest may be altruistic in nature, such as tracking down a fraudster and earning a few Law points. However, another task might be more shady and give you Gray or Chaos points if you decide to, say, threaten the stalker yourself rather than turn him over to the law.

Many of the requests, known as 4SPGs, that Van receives even have multiple conclusions. ​​You can turn someone in for stealing or let them get off the hook once, which gives you different character points. This freedom of choice is quite inventive for the series and adds this layer of player control to the story. What’s more, these are not just flavor texts. There are entire emotional ending sequences that you may miss moments in the story if you choose otherwise.

Screenshot by Destructoid

The incredible storytelling of Nihon Falcom from previous games returns in this title. While the main plot suffers a bit (more on that in a moment), the side quests and requests are the real stars here. Returning to the exclusive scenes, there is a request for an elderly thief at the very beginning, who turns over a fresh chapter in history before his death.

The request takes the player on a rollercoaster of emotions to return a stolen item to someone from the thief’s past, which I don’t dare spoil here. However, at the end, the player is given two completely different options to end the request. You can respect the thief’s wishes or go against them and do the “right thing.” I chose the latter, and it led to the most tear-jerking moment of the series. And the strangest thing is that you can miss it All this if you choose a different ending.

Trails through the dawn there are plenty of these fascinating moments throughout the game. I would even say that these optional side quests are better than the main storyline. Unfortunately, it is one of the weaker, numerically, main storylines in the series. Van and his rapidly growing team of problem solvers have a rather surprising plot involving the search for mysterious objects that ultimately leads to the saving of the country.

Overall, this is a story we’ve seen many times before in Trails series. This isn’t an inherently bad thing, but the cast itself leaves a little to be desired. Van himself shines as this stern and older hero compared to the carefree Lloyd or Estelle from previous games. He is also not afraid to do whatever he wants Cold Steel Trails Rean wouldn’t do that and wouldn’t murder anyone if it was necessary.

Screenshot by Destructoid

Outside of Van, however, the cast falls somewhat apart. Most of the party members, such as the child mercenary Feri, have somewhat complex storylines that are too weighty in the face of tragedy and don’t allow enough time to care. There are even worse situations with the lovable playboy Aaron, who is the entire focus of Chapter 2. However, for some reason, the chapter simply ignores his unresolved, rather problematic internal conflict and is never mentioned again or even mentioned for the rest of the game, even though travels with you.

The idea of ​​moving a little too speedy in the main story and skipping key character and story events even applies to gameplay. The previous games are known for their plethora of mini-games, ranging from gambling games to card games. There’s none of that here Trails through the dawn. This is the first core game in the series to not feature fishing, for some reason. Worse, you visit the casino multiple times at one time, and the game doesn’t bring back classic mini-games like Blackjack.

I wonder if these side activities were sacrificed to deliver the aforementioned extremely well-written side quests and combat evolutions. While some of the fights will seem familiar to fans, Trails through the dawn This is definitely the most revolutionary game in the series in terms of combat systems and graphics.

Players move characters a certain distance on the battlefield. You then perform various commands each turn, such as using skills, physical abilities, or defending. Each move or spell a player uses has a specific range, such as a huge circle, a single target, or a long line. You must carefully maneuver around the field in each fight to win.

Screenshot by Destructoid

The catch with this game is the addition of action combat. Yes, Trails through the dawn offers both turn-based gameplay and action RPG gameplay. You can opt for regular turn-based combat or hack and slash your way through enemies. This alternative is a bit too simplistic; it only offers a single attack and dodge, but it speeds up most of the easier fights. It also makes the game more accessible to players who may not enjoy established turn-based combat.

Things get a bit more complicated from there, though. The teammate link system from previous games returns for this title. You can link up with a teammate in classic turn-based combat to have them perform a free follow-up attack, dealing extra damage. The difference this time around is that the focus is on positioning. Previously, you would select a link-up partner for each teammate, allowing them to run anywhere on the pitch. This time, however, they have to be physically next to each other to work.

While this is seamless because you can switch with someone at any time, it also forces you to group characters together. This slowed down the fight for me. Additionally, I felt forced to make awkward decisions, such as putting a feeble ranged character in front to take advantage of the extra damage. Fortunately, the action and combat make up for this. I spent most of my time with it, but the game forces you to employ the turn-based mode for some bosses and such.

It didn’t bother me too much because Trails through the dawn has a fairly breezy difficulty level. It helped me take my time and explore the stunning Calvard country. This game begins in the incredibly detailed and surprisingly current Edith. But then he takes you to idyllic villages where I would love to live; China-inspired port cities, a tech-focused metropolis and more. Nihon Falcom even made me like deserts. Every inch of this game feels like the designers had a reason for it. I stand by the fact that Nihon Falcom has the best city and world design in gaming – just look at Crossbell – and the developer continues to shine in this entry.

Screenshot by Destructoid

Legend of Heroes: Trails Through the Dawn I feel like Trails game for newcomers. Sharper graphics, current cities, action combat, and a general lack of fluff make this a solid starting point. Some existing fans may not like the lack of mini-games and additional content, but Nihon Falcom makes up for it.

Trails through Daybreak it has the best side quests of any game I’ve ever played. I mean, I cried maybe three times. And these are just optional moments. The story and world building alone make this game worth checking out. Overall, this is a great foundation for the next era of the series.


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