The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero Review (Conversion)

The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero Review - Screenshot 1/6
Taken on Nintendo Switch (Docked)

We don’t blame you if you are threatened by Falcom’s The Legend of Heroes: Trails series. This grand saga has now become the twelfth major game in Japan, with the West lagging behind at an alarming rate. However, one piece of the puzzle has been missing for years – the Crossbell. After years of begging, fans are finally getting these “missing” games, starting with The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero. And, as it turns out, there’s a reason people are desperate to see these games get official English localization – Trails from Zero makes a pretty strong case for being one of the best entries in the series. whole series.

As with every Trail game, there is always a warning when trying to join the sequence: Where do you start? In particular, the Switch doesn’t make this easy, just Cold Steel Trail III and IV available on platforms in the West. But Trails from Zero is as impenetrable as these future installments, with a fairly self-contained plot and cast of characters. Of course, some characters from Trail in the sky games (currently only on PSP or PC here) appear, references to past events appear, and a major plot sequence is resolved from the Liberl part, so it’s hard to deny that Trails from Zero is the most rewarding if you’ve played Sky. But it’s much more accessible than the other two Switch services in the series.

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Taken on Nintendo Switch (Docked)

Part of this is down to the setup process, with new protagonist Lloyd Bannings and a new location, Crossbell. Lloyd, a rookie police detective, is recruited into the Crossbell Police Department’s Special Support Section (SSS), a new experimental team whose mission is to act as an odd job division. Joining Lloyd in the SSS is Elie MacDowell, a smart, well-mannered woman; Tio Plato, a young and reserved teenager; and Randy Orlando, a laid-back man who loves to party and drink.

Things start off as a pretty humbling affair as you work to restore Crossbell’s trust in the police department. You’ll deliver packages, find lost library books, and slay the quirky monster. But the Trails game is slow, and with every page turn, something small – sometimes unassuming – is revealed. Trails from Zero has the same pacing issues as other games in the series, but the smaller cast and tighter setup make it all feel much more bearable.

The game’s stellar writing – with a localization based on a popular translation by The Geofront fans – has helped enhance the game’s more intimate setting and cast. The game’s much smaller core cast works in their favor, with each member getting time to shine. Watching Tio warm up with the group and start teasing the other members is fun, and Lloyd’s speeches about friendship and “crossing barriers” are certainly cheesy, but they’re also incredibly captivating. and encouraging. You’ll also yearn for more device time. Testaments leader Wazy Hemisphere, SSS director Sergei and Bracer A-list star Arios MacLaine are just a few of the highlights, all with their tantalizing quirks and personalities that leave you cheering, laughing, and smiling. even in tears. An excellent Japanese dub just helps to lift the emotions.

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Taken on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Unattached)

However, the real star of Trails from Zero is Crossbell. Crossbell City serves as your base, while the game limits the action to a relatively small state, home to many named NPCs that you get to know intimately through this 40-50 hour story. The Trails series has always been known for its convoluted dialogue, where the NPC’s dialogue changes over time to suit the situation, but the tight nature of the Crossbell state means it feels like more personal, more intense. Therefore, Crossbell himself feel as a character; As more individuals join it – both cities and states – and plot themes begin to unravel, you begin to perceive Crossbell in a different way. This small city-state sandwiched between these two political powers soon becomes a cracked cauldron boiling with shady secrets, struggling honest citizens, and corrupt authorities around. sudden.

With Crossbell as your hub, you’ll get to tour different areas of the city-state throughout the game’s five main chapters (along with the prologue). There’s a lot of early walking, with bus and fast travel routes only opening once you’ve visited each site. You will become very familiar with the surrounding roads, especially if you are dealing with many of the game’s side quests. We’ve covered the variety of these, and they can feel a bit tedious at times. There are only so many times that we can accept travel between Crossbell, the city and the mining town of Mainz. Thank God the fast forward feature has become a staple in the Trails series.

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Taken on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Unattached)

This handy little feature also comes with the clutch during combat, which would otherwise feel a bit slow. If you’ve only played Cold Steel before, Trails from Zero’s combat system can feel a bit behind, but it makes sense, since it’s a game from 2010. You encounter enemies on Fields and battles take place on a grid-based field, but it’s not a strategy RPG. Characters can travel a certain distance depending on their Movement stat, and various spells (Magic) and skills (Craft) deal damage and effects in a small area, such as such as a line, an area around the character, or a circular point in the distance. S-Crafts also return as super charged moves that deal high amounts of damage to one or a group of enemies, or provide powerful support to the whole party.

Unique to Trails from Zero is Team Rush; this can happen randomly during a skirmish or if you manage to stun an enemy in a field and cause a pre-fight. Your character will then be able to command a team attack in a large circular area around a field. Team Rushes makes combat feel more fluid, as you can sometimes wipe out entire hordes of enemies in one hit or take out significantly more formidable enemies with just the lift of a finger. . Finding the best enemies to target with these AOE skills is one of our favorite aspects of combat that, while not revolutionary, makes for a solid system.

A returning aspect is the series’ traditional Orbment system. In Trails from Zero, equipping quartz – a gem that gives your character access to magic and increases stats – requires you to be a little more careful. Each character’s ENIGMA battle orb has a line, or various lines, that link all quartz to an orb in the center. Every single quartz has a different element value(s), and the total elemental value of ENIGMA will affect what spells your character can cast.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero Review - Screenshot 5/6
Taken on Nintendo Switch (Docked)

Amethyst for example will give them access to healing arts, but you will only get higher level spells with higher Water element values ​​and some Mirage spells dependent on has many prime values. It took a minute to get used to, but we enjoyed figuring out what elements give you access to certain spells and character building in our favor.

With some of these older elements, Trails from Zero can take a minute to adjust. Its image is another area, even when it debuted in Japan in 2010, looking a bit dated. We think the clay minifigures are quite charming, and the character portraits and animations can build a lot on the already excellent characterization the article provides. But lots of environments that look the same don’t help with the sometimes tedious spin. Fortunately, the Switch version has been beautifully polished, so the background looks smoother and the character models are more detailed. Plus, the game runs like a dream on the Switch, with only occasional slowdowns when quickly switching between regions. Its length, coupled with its cute appearance, makes for a perfect handheld RPG in our minds.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero Review - Screenshot 6/6
Taken on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Unattached)

One thing Falcom never disappoints is the music, and Falcom Sound Team jdk delivers another soundtrack in Trails from Zero. Crossbell’s different themes range from gurgling and fun, to energetic, to heavy and timid. At the same time, most of the fight soundtracks are phenomenal and rank high among the incredible tunes throughout the series.

The trails will forever be one of the chain of rewards for patients, and nothing will change that. Even Trails from Zero is mostly table bookings for what looks to be an explosive entry next year Trail to Azure. Falcom is meticulous with his characters and plots, seeding sometimes taking hours – even Game – in full bloom, and it almost always pays off. But Trails from Zero, even when set up for a sequel, has a strange, self-contained feel, both rewarding to fans who explored Liberl in Trails in the Sky and grasped the hands of those new arrivals gently enough to keep them from feeling overwhelmed.


In a series known for its brilliant writing, twisted plot, and great characters, The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero is an outstanding RPG. Narrows the focus of the story to one state and focuses on a smaller cast of characters, making for a fun and engaging adventure, including close relationships and secret scandals. , huge. The fact that this is only half the battle of wits means that, while the story ends well here, we have a lot of questions that we’d love to find answers to in Trails to Azure. If you haven’t played Trails, it’s time to get over that hurdle, because there’s no better place to be in this amazing series than in Crossbell.

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