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The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero Review

Fill a gap in your JRPG library

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing a PS4 on

The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero is also available for Nintendo Switch

The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero is rated Teen by the ESRB

It may have released a dozen years ago but The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero is finally available in the west and it's a great RPG.

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The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero screenshot 1
I'd hate to be on the receiving end of whatever attack these chums are readying

A comforting throwback

I originally got into The Legend of Heroes franchise with the Gagharv trilogy remakes for PSP but it wasn't until Trails in the Sky released that I started to realise what a special series it is. Years later, Trails of Cold Steel released and I fell in love all over again but little did I know that in between, there were a couple of games that composed the Crossbell storyline arc which bridges the 2 sub-series. In fact, when I finished Trails of Cold Steel II, the Divertissement part of the ending perplexed me. Specifically, who the heck is Lloyd Bannings? v1d30chumz 44-210-77-106

Well, he's the protagonist of The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero and has met a few characters from both Trails in the Sky and Trails of Cold Steel in his travels. Anyway, Trails from Zero is a very comforting and nostalgic RPG that brought me back to the PSP days but it also offers a few welcome surprises of its own so let's dive in and see what it's all about.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero screenshot 2
Some of the environments are rather lovely; don't you agree?

Detective work

The story of The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero revolves around amateur detective Lloyd who lives in an area known as Crossbell which is located between a couple of feuding nations that both claim ownership of the land. Meanwhile, Crossbell itself is full of crime and it's our hero's job to deal with it. At the start of the campaign, he'll fight organized crime but as things progress, he'll find himself dealing with the occult. His job ties into the gameplay as you can take on all sorts of optional cases alongside the main missions which may not be anything new for the series but it's still cool to see how it all unfolds. With that being said, some cases go on for a bit too long and require a lot of running between locales while speaking with different characters which can get rather tedious at times.

Strategic battles

Although I always enjoy the battles in any Legend of Heroes game, I found the combat here to go a bit beyond the norm due to the frequent need for strategic movement. For starters, the battles are set on grids so positioning your allies to be spaced out enough while corralling enemies together is a rewarding tactic that you can implement. This is especially true when you factor in danger zones that enemies may trigger when they're charging a special attack. Of course, there are also various bonuses on the timeline so activating an S-Break when a critical bonus pops up is always satisfying. Meanwhile, setting your party up is simple and should be familiar for any Trails veteran as you equip items and expand your Orbments with newly acquired Quartz to provide additional Arts and passive boosts.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero screenshot 3
Time to squash some bugs with a well-placed Team Rush attack

Sights and sounds

As I played The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero, its 3D environments where everything is carefully crafted to compose a living, breathing world made me nostalgic for the Trails in the Sky games as well as classics such as Xenogears and Grandia, especially with the lovely detailed 2D sprites running around. I very much miss this era of gaming and wish that more RPGs would encapsulate what makes this approach special but I digress. The music is as epic as always and there is a talented Japanese voice cast although I wish that it was translated to English but I guess that's asking too much for a port of a 12 year old game. In short, it looks and sounds great! 😄

The daily grind

Just like in every entry in the franchise, The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero has a ton of rewarding quests and side content to master which makes levelling up even more rewarding. With that in mind, I found that some bosses and areas were too intimidating even after completing all of the optional content that I could up until that point which means that you may have to do some grinding from time to time. I also wish that The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero differentiated itself more from the core formula that fans like me are already familiar with. Sure, it acts as great comfort food and the strategic battles are welcome but I still couldn't help but feel like I've already experienced the odd specific moment and general gameplay countless times before. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero screenshot 4
There's always time for a little fishing

The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero is a superb entry in the long-running franchise that made me pumped for Trails to Azure as well as Trails into Reverie and the inevitable release of the Kuro no Kiseki series. There sure are a lot of these games but I still can't get enough.

  • + Excellent port of a lost JRPG that series fans need to play
  • + Impressively strategic battles
  • + Nostalgia-filled visuals are incredible
  • - Doesn't deviate much from the other recent games in the franchise
  • - Some difficulty spikes are annoying
  • - Certain quests become rather tedious
8.3 out of 10
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Watch A.J. play The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero
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