The Legend of Heroes: Trails to Azure Preview | TechRaptor

The Legend of Heroes: Trails to Azure Preview | TechRaptor

It isn’t often you need to wait 12 years for a game to be translated into English and released, but for fans of Nihon Falcom’s The Legend of Heroes: Trails series, this is all old hat by now. Thankfully, with the release of Azure, the first three Trails series can now all be played in the order they were originally released in, and we’re only three games behind the Japanese releases. However, when it takes this long, the question is – is waiting this long for a game’s release worth it?

Trails to Azure picks up 6 months after the end of Trails from Zero and continues the plot basically right where we left off. After some time apart, the Special Support Squad re-forms, now with the addition of Noel Seeker and Wazy Hemisphere who were supporting characters in Zero, and it’s time to jump back into the fray. The political landscape of Crossbell is, at first, the biggest change, with a new mayor and a new seedy underworld of characters to deal with, like the Red Constellation. This game also brings Ouroborous back into the fray, in the wake of the dissolution of the DG Cult, with Campanella back up to his usual tricks. The new characters and changed setting keep the game feeling familiar but fresh, similar to the changes in Trails in the Sky SC.

Right off the bat, Azure’s plot gets deep and complicated. With all of the new competing political factions, as well as the involvement of Erebonia, Calvard, Liberl and Remiferia, there’s more than enough for our heroes and the player to keep track of. It can get a little overwhelming at times, unfortunately, but that is also part of the Trails charm, having uber-complicated plots with an obscene amount of moving pieces. As a fan of the series, it’s absolutely amazing.

However, I would also not recommend to anyone jumping into the series with Azure, or even Zero. These games are meant to be played as part of a series, with an overarching plot connecting them all. As a bonus, these plots also give us the chance to catch up with some characters from Trails in the Sky, like Kloe and Julia, Olivier and Mueller, and Ries and Kevin.

Once again, Orbal Arts and the Engima system are given a bit of an overhaul, now requiring characters to have a central quartz that they use in their Enigma, as well as the normal lineup of regular quartz that you’ll upgrade and trade out throughout the story. It’s extremely useful when you’re trying to match up your quartz with the arts you want to do, and a great addition to the mechanics. Everything else in combat plays out the same, with Noel and Wazy’s new builds and fighting styles giving players some options if they would prefer to swap characters out or gear a whole lineup towards a particular fight style.

Considering this game is actually 12 years old, it looks really good, with NISA having given it a bit of an overhaul. While I’m not quite sure I understand all of the technical terms in the updated features notice that NISA put out for the Switch and PC versions, they do mention that the sprites have been de-dithered, so that sounds like a good thing. There’s also things like dynamic shadows added, textures updated and support for both anti-aliasing and high framerate, to name a few.

At the halfway point of the game I have so many questions left, both about the characters and the story, but I can definitely say I’m enjoying myself immensely. Trails to Azure comfortably fits the same framework of Zero and Skies before it, though it does seem to be building the stakes up to a very different conclusion than either of its predecessors.

It’s great to get back down to business with these characters and Azure even being released in English at all is a triumph for the Trails fandom and the fan translation community as a whole, thanks to the work Geofront put in to make this happen. If you’re a fan of the previous games in the series, we absolutely recommend that you jump right on in to Trails to Azure as well! If you haven’t played the others, well, we also recommend that you start.

TechRaptor previewed The Legend of Heroes: Trails to Azure on Nintendo Switch with a copy provided by the publisher. It is also available on PC and PlayStation 4.

This content was originally published here.