The Kiseki series, also known in the west as the Trails series, is a subset of the larger The Legend of Heroes franchise that developer Nihon Falcom is probably best known for. Their latest game to come to the west is The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie, which serves as an epilogue to the Trails of Cold Steel, Trails from Zero, and Trails to Azure storylines. Reverie is also a traditional Japanese role playing game featuring turn based combat, and follows the perspectives of Lloyd Bannings, Rean Schwarzer, and a mysterious masked character named “C”.
Due to the incredible amount of background information and context needed from past titles, Trails into Reverie is not recommended as a starting point for those unfamiliar with the series, as it does very little to bring new players up to speed. That being said, the game does feature text summaries of all the past games in the starting menu, which does alleviate some of the aforementioned burden. But those who have stuck around for the entirety of the games will surely enjoy an Avenger’s Endgame type experience here with all the characters coming together in an all out finale. After all, one of the game’s biggest strengths is its incredible cast of characters!
Trails into Reverie starts off five months after the events of Trails of Cold Steel IV, and sees the leader of Crossbell’s Special Support Section, or SSS for short, Lloyd Bannings and his team drive the remaining military forces out of Crossbell and reclaim independence for his home. However, the group just can’t catch a break and is soon overpowered by Rufus Albarea, the former Governor General of Crossbell who intends to unite the world with him as supreme leader.
This is only the first of three distinct routes the game takes, with the second route following Rean, and the third featuring a brand new character named C. It’s this last and final route that is most exciting and exhilarating, as C’s initial intentions are unknown and even seem to be against those of the first two protagonists. It’s an interesting dynamic that I hope more narratives explore in the future. All three storylines come together at the end in an overarching plot, which ultimately brings the past nine title’s stories to an end while being a segway for Nihon Falcom’s newest game: Kuro no Kiseki.
I would hope that if you are into The Legend of Heroes series, it’s because you’re a fan of worldbuilding, narrative setting, and extensive character development. Get ready to sit through hours of cutscenes and info dumps before the actual game even begins. There’s an insane number of well-animated and well-voiced cutscenes, with even more text dialogue between characters. I was initially worried about the localization, but I found no issues with it at all during my playthrough. Even the English voice acting was decent, but there is the original Japanese dub for those that prefer a more authentic experience.
Gameplay is where Trails into Reverie shines the brightest. Combat contains an impressive amount of depth, because the traditional turn based battles intertwine several tactical elements. Of course all the basics of turn based fighting remain, with characters having a turn order, a basic attack that does slash or pierce damage, and special attacks known as Arts or Crafts that can buff allies or debuff enemies. Those who played previous titles will feel right at home with Brave Orders, Bursts, and Rushes returning. An item known as quartz can be slotted into gear to provide character customizations such as elemental affinities or boosts.
You can move characters on the battlefield to gain a better offensive position or dodge an enemy attack. Teamwork is now more pivotal as well due to Trails into Reverie featuring over 50 playable party members, and the game introduces new abilities that link multiple characters together for special moves. Perhaps the fanciest and deadliest mechanic introduced here is the United Front system, which has between 5 and 10 party members participate in an all out assault on the enemy. The UF attacks can also be used to heal your party members, and it also recovers Bravery Points needed for Brave Order attacks.
This game is truly a tinkerer’s dream come true because the sheer amount of customization, strategizing, and mixing and matching different party members is just unparalleled. You’ll constantly be checking if your party members are equipped with the best gear and switching between different characters for a different team composition. Given there’s over 50 that you do need to manage, it can undoubtedly get a bit overwhelming and daunting, but the fact that this is even possible is just incredible. Additionally, the combat can get excessively confusing for those who haven’t played the previous titles, and the mountains of text in tutorial menus can be intimidating.
One of Trails into Reverie’s newest additions is the true Reverie Corridor. Think of it as an endlessly replayable, procedurally generated dungeon that rewards you handsomely. Here you will find different colored orbs that unlock different things in the real world. You can easily pour hours into these dungeons, grinding for the best gear, unlocking Memory cutscenes, and enjoying the game’s battle system. It’s basically a game within a game, and is probably what those who don’t care about the story are most looking forward to.
Reverie Corridor serves as the game’s ultimate endgame content, as it even features an all-in-one hub that serves all your other gameplay needs. Here you can assemble your dream team, spend points to upgrade your Assault Gauge, view cutscenes, and even play mini games! Some fan favorites, such as the Puyo Puyo inspired Pom Pom Party and the card game Vantage Masters return, in addition to many new ones such as Who Wants to be a Mirannaire and Project Tyrfing. Yes, there is fishing as well!
Visually speaking, Trails into Reverie is nothing to write home about. It is the developer’s last game being developed on the PhyreEngine and looks outdated compared to other games coming out in 2023. Some slack can be cut here given Reverie actually came out back in 2020 on the PlayStation 4, and was only ported over to the west in 2023 with no graphical overhauls. Performance on the PlayStation 5, on the other hand, is quite flawless, with speedy load times and stable frame rates. Some light rumbles are utilized on the DualSense controller but not much else is utilized. The Falcom sound department never fails to impress with its catchy battle tunes and melodic soundtrack.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie
The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie serves as the grand conclusion to the Crossbell and Cold Steel story arcs, tying up loose ends with an all-star crossover cast of characters. It does very little to catch new players up to speed with the narrative and context, and ultimately is not a good place to start for newcomers. However, Reverie features an incredibly in-depth gameplay experience to keep even the most hardcore of fans engaged for hours on end.