I’ve been dying to find something good to play on my Vita. It’s been a while since I’ve bought it, and there really hasn’t been a great RPG created for it, so I went into the PSN to try and find something awesome.
For RPG fans in Japan, Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky has a huge following. It is celebrated as one of the great JRPG’s, and rightfully so. It never really made a splash in North America, but it’s a diamond in the rough, and definitely worth the $20 price tag.
In a nutshell, the game takes place in the fictional continent of Liberl, and centeres around the main characters, Estelle and Joshua Bright. They are following in their fathers footsteps in becoming Bracers, a peace-keeping organization tasked with helping those in need. You take them through training and eventually into the order. When their father goes missing, it is up to the newly crowned Bracers to solve the ever-changing mystery regarding his disappearance, as well as a multitude of other problems along the way.
The combat system – while turn-based – is fairly dynamic. Turn bonuses pop up giving you things like critical strikes and healing, and you can use moves called S-Breaks that allow you to hijack enemy turns and steal their bonuses. The game has an “arts” system that is essentially magic casting, and the spells are element based, things like fire, wind and water attacks as well as healing. The fights aren’t static, as moving around can also help you out in battle. Certain enemies explode after dying, dealing heavy damage, so characters with longer ranged attacks are helpful in those situations. This makes every battle a puzzle, and winning depends on your situational awareness.
The enemies are creative, and the sprites are well drawn. The art style is slightly cartoonish, but still very detailed.
What makes this game awesome however, is it’s story and dialogue. The story is very well written and progresses at a good pace. The optional side quests are just that: optional, and you can advance the story at your own pace. The dialogue is funny, with the comedic timing spot on and the dramatic scenes actually holding their weight as well. I was completely invested in these characters, and that made the game so much more enjoyable. You’ve got two main characters that are feuding siblings (not really brother and sister, as Joshua was found and adopted) who often have awkward romantic dialogue. You’ve got a secondary character that is a raging alcoholic and quickly becomes the life of the party. All of the characters you meet along the way are really well written as well, and you remember them all as you progress through the story, which is saying something for a game that lasts upwards of 50 hours!
You can check out the game at http://www.trailsinthesky.com
All in all, this was a wonderful JRPG, and if you’re a fan of the genre, you need to pick this up and play it. You won’t be disappointed!