The Legend of Heroes Trails to Azure finally arrives in our Western hands, after a wait lasting twelve interminable years. A fundamental piece within the The Legend of Heroes Trails Saga which has many fans (also) throughout Europe. The saga recently celebrated seven million copies sold, as we can read here. It really is a small pearl lost in the truly endless role-playing productions of the Rising Sun, which, born on the unforgettable portable console PSPlands today on modern systems, including the PlayStation 4, platform on which we carried out the test. With this port, finally, the long saga is complete, and can be enjoyed correctly by the many fans of the brand, which is confirmed, we say it immediately, a real guarantee of quality.
After recovering the two missing rings Zero and Azure, finally the circle closes…
After a fast download of 8.6GB, which also shows how substantial the port of the old title is, the game directed by Toshihiro Kondo is ready to finally be played in a localized version for the West, thanks to the precious work of recovery of modern classics that it is carrying out in this period NIS America. In Japan, we remember, the version PS4 it was already released in 2020. If you loved the delicious chapters of the recent collections of the series Prinny Presentswhich you find reviewed here, here and here, it’s time to dedicate yourself to one of the most passionate sagas of Nippon Ichi Softwarewhich has, as we know, distant and noble origins, descending directly from Dragon Slayer, dated 1984, and of which the saga represents the lucky third spin-off that has already exceeded ten episodes on the market. We had broken up some time ago with The Legend of Heroes Trails from Zero that you find on this page, which opens the narrative called Arco di Crossbell. The title that arrives today on the pages of Games Village is in fact the port of the original title that debuted in 2011 on PlayStation Portablehowever available only for the eastern market, only in the territories of Japan and China, where it was released, in 2013, in PC Windows. An excellent opportunity, therefore, to rediscover this other missing link, which, together with its predecessor The Legend of Heroes Trails from Zero, stands as an intermediate chapter between the two series The Legend of Heroes: Trails of The Skywhich chronicles the Liberl story arc, and the subsequent Erebonia arc narrated by the series The Legend of Heroes Trails of Cold Steel. From this long premise you will have immediately understood that knowing the other games is definitely preparatory to the correct understanding of the plot, and, above all, having played Trails from Zero it is absolutely essential.
The Legend of Heroes Trails to Azure, new recruits arrive for the Special Support Section
The plot of the game, written by Hisayoshi Takeiribegins immediately after the one narrated in Trails from Zero, with a time gap of a few months, and sees the arrival of some completely new recruits within the SSS, or the Special Support Section that we met in the previous chapter, to counter the growing unrest in the city. Outstanding among these are Sergeant Noel Seeker and the hotheaded Wazy Hemisphere. At the center of the story we still find KeA, whose powers are coveted by many people. Will Crossbell remain independent will the evil Erebonian Empire take over? To meet newbies, the developers have implemented a substantial summary section in the game that explains the events of the previous episode, the Zero Summary, in which texts and images explain the plot well, including three different sections dedicated to the events, the terminology used and also to over forty characters in particular, with personal biography. Commendable initiative, mind you, but having played the previous title is always the best choice, even considering that it is currently available on the same platforms. That said, it’s really a pleasure to get lost in the engaging history of the Crossbell Arch, and follow its evolution step by step, especially by immersing yourself in it in a truly high quality audiovisual sector. Find the official site dedicated to the game at the following LINK. Nihon Falcom, we know, is well known for the soundtracks of the developed titles, and this game is no less, with romantic and relaxing melodies, combined with more excited moments in the exploration or combat phase. Four different musicians involved, Hayato Sonoda, Takahiro Unisuga, Saki Momiyama and Masanori Osaki, which also favors the variety of the soundtrack itself. The characters, presented with the traditional formula of delicious super deformed in-game graphics, and manga-style drawings in the illustrations, have a Japanese voice acting that joins the brand new English subtitles. The four game modes, ranging from EASY to NIGHTMARE, also allow you to make further successive runs, in case you don’t want to abandon the title after finishing it the first time.
A classic RPG in Japanese sauce never refuses…
The differences with the original version The Legend of Heroes: Ao no Kiseki for the little one at home Sonythe indestructible PSP they stand out, with a notable overall improvement, especially in the graphics, even if the port is very respectful of the work and there were, fortunately, no exaggerated upheavals. After all, the potential of PSP they are more or less equivalent, we recall, to the housewife PlayStation 2. The remastered port for PlayStation 4in particular, however, is based on a new version, also unpublished in the West, that is Ao no Kiseki: Evolution developed in 2014 for the most performing PlayStation Vita, which already offers more detailed graphics, as well as additional voice acting for minor characters. What we have in our hands, therefore, is a sort of definitive edition of the game. Clearly all this gives a vaguely vintage look to The Legend of Heroes Trails to Azure, which, let’s face it, for fans and purists of classic productions, will only increase its charm. Getting lost in the outdoor environments and their light effects, or in the interiors, full of details and all to be explored, as always, is a real pleasure. Also noteworthy are the connecting scenes, in which parts of the plot are told through romantic watercolor illustrations of pictorial inspiration.
The fights are very traditional, strictly turn-based, mind you, for those unfamiliar with the series, with fixed characters in a special fight arena that opens as soon as enemies are encountered. At the bottom we find the party, with the traditional HP, EP and CP, which is also used to launch the Special Craft attack, which will often save your skin, followed by a side bar called the AT Bar with characters and bonuses, as well as the handy sphere managerial, through which to manage everything. The old school turn based RPG dynamics are remarkable and by no means bland, despite the fact that the developers wanted to put pop-up clouds everywhere that explain everything. This choice allows the game to be suitable, paradoxically, even for newcomers to the genre. The Diagonal Down perspective always has its charm. What if we also told you that the characters move in the fight arena through specific positional diamonds? Ok, if you love the classics this title is definitely for you. The design of the monsters is really of a good standard, with very varied animations for the enemies, while that of the characters is milder, albeit pleasant. The Legend of Heroes Trails to Azure it is therefore a decidedly unmissable title for fans of the long-lived saga and above all for those nostalgic for the old Dragon Slayer, but it remains recommended to all fans of Japanese turn-based RPGs, a genre of which he is a brilliant exponent. With the only flaw of having to be played preferably together with its direct predecessor, under penalty of losing units in the overall plot. Excellent news instead for those who have already played the prequel, namely that the save data of Trails from Zero they can be used to create new content in this title and even be transferred to the upcoming latest installment of the saga, the highly anticipated The Legend of Heroes Trails into Reverie. Being faithful to the sagas, it seems, is convenient.
Piattaforme: PlayStation 4, Switch, PC
Developer: Nihon Falcom
Publisher: NIS America
The Legend of Heroes Trails to Azure is the direct sequel to The Legend of Heroes Trails from Zero, of which it follows the plot a few months after the events of the first chapter, telling the interesting Narrative Arc of Crossbell within The Legend of Heroes Trails Saga. An old-fashioned turn-based RPG that, unfortunately, several vicissitudes had confined within the Japanese territory only, since its original release for PSP, without any English localization. The title has finally been remastered and is available starting March 14, 2023 in North America and March 17 in Europe on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 (backwards compatible mode only), Nintendo Switch and Personal Computer formats, via Steam and Epic Games.
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