The legend of heroes (commonly referred to as ‘Trails or Kiseki’) is a series of RPGs that may seem far too time consuming for many people. While these games are definitely lengthy, they are also very much worth that time because of their strong characters, combat, character customization, world-building, and immense amount of lore. However, for this feature, I would like to focus on the world building featured in this series.
The most important aspect of world building in this case is the immense amount of NPC (Non-Player Character) dialog in each game. I cannot understate how much NPC dialog there is because the word count in SC is 716,401. For reference, the combined word count of the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy is 455,125 words! This is because almost every NPC in the entire series has a unique name and consistent personality, along with dialog that changes after every major story event. Every NPC has dialog that will either reflect on their reaction to current events or the problems within their daily lives. They may not be too complex but the mere suggestion that they have their own lives off-screen helps to create a fantastic illusion of a world that is constantly changing. For example, in Trails of Cold Steel II, there is a group of kids whose dialog helps to establish their relationships to each other. Two of these kids were a boy and a girl who had a rivalry that led them to tease each other repeatedly in an attempt to one up the other. After a brutal army attack on their hometown, the boy is injured after trying to save his friend and was left in a comatose state. After this point, I made certain to revisit the town and check up on these kids because I wanted to witness the effect that the state of their friend had on the other kids. His gradual recovery had a much more emotional impact on me than I had thought possible from random non-vital NPCs.
Since all of these games take place in the same world, it is best to start with Trails in the Sky (On PSP and PC). However, if this game feels too dated, you might have better luck with Trails of Cold Steel (On PS3 and Vita). The gameplay is much faster with a focus on character craft skills that end up making each character feel more unique. There was also a number of improvements to the game with this entry such as the option to skip animations with a button press. Cold Steel II is by far my favorite of the series but you are bound to have a much better appreciation for the world if you have first played the Trails in the sky series. Long story short, these games are really worth your time.
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