Time to jump into one of Japan’s longest-running RPG series

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Everyone knows at least one superfan in their life who can’t stop talking about Trails series, Nihon Falcom’s enormous universe of massive RPGs with an overwhelming number of sequels, sub-series, and interwoven storylines spanning decades. Fortunately, the latest game in the series, Legend of Heroes: Paths Through the Dawnis out now, and it’s probably the best entry point potential fans could ever get.

Van Arkride is a private investigator and bounty hunter working in the Calvard Republic during the turbulent post-war boom. A teenage woman asks him to lend a hand her find a missing artifact, and all sorts of political intrigue, diabolical conspiracies, and brutal fights begin. Coming July 5 for PS5, PS4, Switch, and PC, first reviews: overall positive for the game, and critics are praising it side quests AND turn-based combat even if some were occasional disappointed with the main story AND real-time hybrid combat system. I spent a few hours there and I don’t regret it.

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The real question facing potential Dawn players, as is the case with almost every Trails game, it’s not whether it’s worth playing, but whether it’s a worthy starting point. It’s the 11th main game in the series, which is itself technically a sub-series of Falcom Legend of the Heroes games. Because of this, in addition to the fact that until recently some key games were never localized, it has always been incredibly confusing for outsiders to understand how the individual sequels relate to each other and what the best order is to play them in, which has been a challenge for former My city editor Jason Schreier I tried to deal with this almost a decade ago.

In the years that followed, Falcom finally brought international gamers to the next level with a steady rhythm of ports, localizations, and novel releases. However, this also meant that every time a novel Trails When the game came out, the reaction from uninitiated RPG fans was often “oh, great!” or “oh, oh, my god…”. This was in part due to the fact that die-hard fans Trails fans will always tell you to start over from 2004 Traces in the sky. There are payments and disclosures that players will miss out on if they skip it. The game originally came to the West on PSP before getting a Steam release in 2014. Unfortunately, there’s no up-to-date way to officially play it on the console unless you’re willing to spend over $100 on a used copy.

More importantly, starting over means playing all 10 previous games Dawn. This Traces in the sky the trilogy includes two other games, Sky Trails SC AND Traces in the sky 3. both are also available exclusively on PC among up-to-date platforms and are collective in nature estimated 120 hours to completeThen there is the Crossbell saga which consists of Trails from scratch AND Trails to Azure. Despite originally releasing over a decade ago, both were recently ported to PS4 and Switch in addition to PC. That adds up to another 80 hours of gameplay.

At the end you have Cold steel games that build on the worlds, characters, and conflicts of the previous games in a five-part series that ends Dream TrailsThe first two games are only available on PS4 and PC. Cold Steel III, IVAND Reverie are also on Switch. For those games, we’re talking about 250 hours. If you’re looking for an epic RPG adventure whose deep world and character arcs unfold over several games, well, you’re in luck! But if that’s you, then you’ve probably already decided to dive in Trails long time ago. And even if you don’t feel the need to start over, telling someone to play five games before starting Dawn is still a arduous task.

I am a person who has done several things Trails games over the years just to see what all the fuss was about, but I’ve never delved into any of them, let alone finished the entire story. If you’re like me, desperate to stay Trails-pilled, but with a low time, Dawn could be your savior. It’s the beginning of an entirely novel story that, while weaving in past and key moments, won’t weigh you down with guilt for getting caught up in the confused third-act drama. What’s more, there’s a free demo on PlayStation and Switch if you want to test it out before you buy.

Trails Through the Dawn IImeanwhile, it’s been in Japan since 2022 and will likely be brought to the West next year or the year after. Then it’s Kai no Kisekithe newest game in Trails series and the third game following the exploits of Van Arkride. There is no official release date yet, but it is set to release in Japan before the end of 2024. For now, it looks like US players will have to wait until 2026 or longer for it, so there is still plenty of time Dawn converts to dig through the rest of the series. And by plenty of time I mean enough if you spend at least 45 minutes a day playing Trails from now until then.

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