Welcome to EXPlay, (Explain & Play) the review series where we care not for scores but tell it how it is when it comes to every game we get our hands on, whilst also taking the time to include some lengthy gameplay, to give you the reader, the chance to shape your own impressions and views whilst watching and reading.
In this explanatory review, we’re covering The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie by joint developers Nihon Falcom and PH3 GmbH:
The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie (The Explanation)
All things come to an end at some point and for The Legend of Heroes’ Crossbell and Cold Steel arcs, that end has finally arrived in The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie. First released back in 2020 and now a multi-platform title in 2023, built using PhyreEngine, The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie is the most ambitious title yet, thanks to a character roster that boasts more than 50 playable characters.
Being the ambitious title that it is, while The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie is very simillar to The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV, in both gameplay and design, in the sense of the game’s HD world and character aesthetics and use of turn-based battles, it is actually in the game’s Trails to Walk feature, where the gameplay really shines.
As the culmination to both the Cold Steel and Crossbell arcs, The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie has some very big shoes to fill and a lot of story elements to cover, its Trails to Walk feature serves as a crossroads system that allows players not to simply play through a singular story, but three.
The first sees the return of Lloyd Bannings of the SSS, the second brings back everyone’s favourite Thors instructor, Rean Schwarzer and the third, is something a little different. In the third story, players get to control, the mysterious character “C”, who, along with those in his employ and a mask to hide his true identity, has chosen to undertake an investigation into the action of Governor General, Rufus Albarea.
All three stories play out in a simillar timeframe, with an enforced requirement of players to play through each one, should they wish to complete every act in The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie. This is because story progression can become locked and in order for players to progress any further in Rean’s route, they will need to complete the likes of Lloyd’s first, especially during Act 1.
What’s more, by playing each route, players get a wider understanding of what is really going on, but it is worth mentioning that the prologue is a Lloyd adventure first and it is his route you will first playthrough before the Trails to Walk feature first becomes available.
The crossroads feature and how it was implemented, was brilliantly handled for two main reasons. One being how it allows more characters to be brought into the game and serve alongside our heroes, but also because of how it transforms gameplay. You can be stuck in one path due to a perplexing puzzle, but in another route, you solve it easily and two groups from differing stories narrowly missing each other.
Another new attribute for The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie, is with united fronts. As long as there are five or more characters in your party in any given story route, players can let loose an all-out assault that will obliterate your enemies due to how OP the feature is. What’s more, the more characters you have in your party, the more powerful it will be in its execution.
Then, just in case The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie is not a big enough game for you to sink your teeth into, there is additional content in the form of an unlockable realm by the name of the Reverie Corridor. Just as soon as players have unlocked it, you are then free to explore an expansive dungeon that is randomly generated, all in the effort of obtaining various materials that can strengthen your characters and their associated equipment. It even allows you to have more support characters in your party.
One item in particular that can be obtained from clearing the Reverie Corridor is Sealing Stones. With Sealing Stones players can unlock new party members, but also unlock Daydreams. Also in the Reverie Corridor, players can discover gates that will transport them to the Dreamland Hills where they can obtain additional sepith and rare items. There are also other additional side content and minigames available in-game, which altogether, help adds to the overall experience of The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie, resulting in an even larger and delightful The Legend of Heroes title.
Like we have seen in previous The Legend of Heroes games on the Nintendo Switch, there are features in-game to learn more about the characters, the lore of the world they exist in and insightful reading on all previous adventures. It’s a trait I have always welcomed, as anything forgotten can swiftly be remembered, and if you were to the series, with what is available, it would soon bring you up to speed.
Having said that, while it is true new players can just dive right into The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie and begin playing, with it serving as their first entry in the series, honestly, this time around it would be the wrong thing to do. As a culmination of a grand story, years in the making, for you to truly enjoy all that The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie has to offer, is to be invested in each of the game’s many characters. To have played the earlier titles to their fullest before tackling this grand ending.
That’s not to say you can’t enjoy The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie without playing the other titles, but having done so transcends the type of experience you will receive and, in all honesty, if you are an RPG fan with the time to spare to play through all earlier titles, you owe it to yourself for an experience like this, is similar to that of playing all numbered Xenoblade Chronicles games and their associated stories (Future Connected, Torna ~ The Golden Country and Future Redeemed.) Why settle for a lesser experience when you can have one that will stay with you for decades to come?
The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie (The Gameplay)
Developers: Nihon Falcom
Publisher: NIS America
Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Category: Role-Playing, Action, Adventure
No. of Players: 1 (Single System)
Release Date: NA: July 7, 2023 | EU: July 10, 2023
File Size: 10.1 GB