The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie | Logo Art
Title The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie
Developer Nihon Falcom
Publisher NIS America, Inc.
Release Date July 7th, 2023
Genre RPG
Platform PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, PC
Age Rating ESRB – T for Teen
Official Website

Author’s Note: This review may contain minor spoilers pertaining to past Trails games and Trails into Reverie.

The Trails series is known for its overarching story across multiple games. In 2010, Trails from Zero started the Crossbell arc which follows Lloyd Bannings and the Special Support Section in Crossbell State. In 2013, the Erebonia arc began with Trails of Cold Steel, and followed the journey of Rean Schwarzer and Thors Academy Class VII in the Erebonian Empire. These two storylines and groups of characters, seemingly unrelated at first due to the differing regions they take place in, found themselves connected to each other as their respective plots continued. Every beginning has an end, and these two stories are no different. The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie brings these characters together once more in order to bring their current journeys to a close. This was one of my most anticipated games of this year, but did it live up to my expectations? Was Trails into Reverie able to bring these stories to a satisfying conclusion?

Trails into Reverie takes place after the events of Trails of Cold Steel IV. The Great Twilight was put to rest thanks to the efforts of Rean, Class VII, and many other individuals involved. Life seems to be returning to normal, and Crossbell State looks like it will finally be able to achieve independence. Unfortunately, things do not pan out this way as Crossbell is once again occupied by its former Governor General, Rufus Albarea. Lloyd Bannings and the Special Support Section must once again rise up to take back their home from their oppressors, so that they may finally be free and truly independent. But, that is not the only story unfolding in this game. There are two more characters which this game follows: Rean Schwarzer and the mysterious “C.” Rean’s story deals with the aftermath of the war and his investigation into Prince Olivert’s disappearance. “C’s” goals and motivations are a mystery. They appear to be on the side of Crossbell State but at odds with Rean’s group. Who is underneath the mask? Are they friend or foe? Three different trails to follow, but where will they lead?

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Even though there were three different storylines to follow, I found Reverie did a good job of handling them. I liked how each route had a different goal and cast of characters, so things always felt fresh whenever you would change stories. The different routes work off each other too, as some plot points that may be a mystery in, say, Rean’s route, can be explained if you switch to C’s route and play through his respective path. It was interesting seeing the game through these different perspectives and really helped flesh out the plot more. The way they connected major events to past games was intriguing as well, especially those from Trails to Azure and Trails of Cold Steel IV, though I won’t go into detail on those.  It also did a good job of developing its main cast, specifically Rean, the SSS members, and “C’s” crew. Out of the new characters, I liked Lapis the most. It was quite adorable seeing her curiosity of humanity and how she changes as she hangs out with “C,” Swin, and Nadia. There are a ridiculous amount of recruitable characters in this game, more than 40! It was great seeing not only the Erebonia and Crossbell characters gather, but also some of the Liberl crew as well. But, even though there are a lot of characters, I never felt overwhelmed. Reverie managed to handle the sheer amount of characters better than Cold Steel IV, in my opinion. Trails into Reverie’s plot managed to keep me hooked throughout the duration of the main story. It was interesting, the characters were varied, and some of the revelations were at points mind blowing. I personally enjoyed Rean and “C’s” routes more than Lloyd’s, but all of them were interesting.

Trails into Reverie | Food
Lapis is a treasure.

The game also has story summaries for the past two Crossbell games and the past four Erebonia games, so veteran players who may need a refresher can look through those via the main menu. It also includes a novel, which shows the background of two of the new characters: Swin and Nadia. Unfortunately, if I had to choose something to complain about, it’s that at times the story could be predictable. For example, you could probably guess the identity of “C” before that reveal comes about. Other times, a reveal could have me scratching my head thinking, “that’s kind of weird.” Also, seeing as how this game is an ending to two long storylines, it is not kind to newcomers. Yes, maybe you could get away with just reading the game summaries and then playing, but I feel the story loses its impact if you do that. I really can’t recommend this to new players. If you want to play the minimum amount of games, I would say you could play the Cold Steel games and then read the in-game summaries of Zero and Azure. But, nothing beats playing all the games. Despite those criticisms, the story was still a joy to experience and memorable, and I love seeing characters redeem themselves after past transgressions. 

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Speaking of changing stories, this is facilitated through the new Trails to Walk feature. By pressing right on the directional pad, you can choose which route you want to play. So, if you ever got tired of one route, you could change over to a different one and continue from there. It also locks you when you get to a certain point in the respective path, so you don’t have to worry about spoiling the other routes by going too far. From the Trails to Walk menu, you can also access one of the other big features in Reverie, the Reverie Corridor.

The Reverie Corridor is an otherworldly dimension in Trails into Reverie where the characters from all three routes can meet and mingle. Those who played Trails in the Sky the 3rd will notice the similarities between this space and Phantasma, though there are more activities to do in the Reverie Corridor. Here, you can train your characters in the dungeon stratums, play minigames, experience events separate from the main story known as Daydreams, and even go fishing! So, if you ever feel overwhelmed in a boss fight in the main story, you can go enter the Reverie Corridor and level up some more. The Corridor also locks how high you can go based on story progression, so you don’t have to worry about getting too overpowered. Enemies and treasure chests can be respawned by resetting the Corridor, and this also changes up the maps as well, making for a fresh experience each time you go through. I didn’t need to reset the Corridor as one foray to each stratum’s depths was enough for me, but I can see it being very useful in Hard or Nightmare difficulties. You can unlock minigames (other than Vantage Masters and Pom! Pom! Party!) through Red Sealing Stones (which can be obtained through the dungeon stratums). Minigames can range from shooters like Magical✩Alisa LS to really chill ones involving hanging with the cast at the beach. These are a nice breather from the dramatic tension of the main story. I was really impressed with Magical✩Alisa LS though, it was actually pretty fun, and it was like watching a magical girl anime. Daydreams can be unlocked via the use of Blue Sealing Stones, which can be found in the same way as Red Sealing Stones. You may notice characters speaking about events you have no idea about during the main story. Well, these events can be seen through Daydreams. I did not play all of the Daydreams as I have not unlocked all of them, but the ones I did see were good, and some relevant to the main story. For example, one of the Daydreams explains how Rixia meets the duo of Swin and Nadia, something you would not know about if you just played through the main story. In addition to these, you can also unlock power ups for your party through the use of Phantasmal Shards. Phantasmal Shards can be obtained by completing objectives in the dungeon stratums, while some can be completed outside of the Reverie Corridor. Power ups include increasing your Assault Gauge and BP gauge, making your journey through Zemuria easier. The best part about the Reverie Corridor is you can access it almost everywhere in the game, so if you need a breather or want to train, it is there waiting for you. I have no criticisms for the Reverie Corridor, it’s just a really helpful and fun addition to the game.

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Gameplay in Trails into Reverie is very similar to what was established in Trails of Cold Steel III and Cold Steel IV. Combat is turn-based with options to Attack, use Orbal Arts, Crafts, Items, and Brave Orders. But, there is one major addition to the system, and that is the United Front. If you have five or more members in your party, this feature can be utilized. There are three types of United Fronts (UFs) at your disposal: Attack, Arts, and Heal. These UFs can not only deal damage to your opponent, but also provide buffs to your party and restore your BP gauge. These can help turn the tide during a tough battle, and I certainly used it when a boss seemed to be getting the upper hand. Using a UF takes up a segment of the Assault Gauge, but the gauge can be restored naturally in battle after depletion, so there’s no need to worry about not having access to the feature after emptying the Assault Gauge. Battles gave a sufficient challenge on Normal difficulty, especially against bosses. However, regular fights can get mindless and easy once you figure out your party layout and get used to the system. But, that doesn’t stop the combat from being good. The combat was already solid in Cold Steel III and IV, but the extra polish just makes the turn-based gameplay even better.

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Graphically, Trails into Reverie looks good. I enjoyed seeing some locales from the Crossbell games finally fleshed out in 3D. Especially Armorica Village, as the old village looks very beautiful with the new paint job. Many of the character models are reused, but I enjoyed their designs from past games, so this wasn’t an issue for me. Some of the new models, like for Garcia Rossi, were well done and captured the essence of their drawn art well. There were times when some aspects of a model would flicker, but it was very slight, not a huge issue, but I thought I should point it out. The enemy designs look good, ranging from adorable Poms to horrifying devils from Gehenna. My favorite enemy designs belonged to the final bosses though, they looked so cool! I also have to bring up something else I noticed. The 3D models in Trails games look nice, but their movement always looked clunky to me, especially during cutscenes. However, there were a select few cutscenes where the movement was unbelievably smooth and fluid, making me wonder if this really was from the same game. And then I remembered an interview I read featuring Falcom’s President, Toshihiro Kondo. He mentioned Reverie would be the last game using the PhyreEngine, and they would be using a new in-house engine going forward, and that some scenes from Reverie would utilize this engine. Considering how smooth those scenes were compared to other parts of the game, those scenes must be utilizing the new engine. If this is what new Trails games will look like going forward, the future is looking very bright for the series, because those specific cutscenes were very nice.

Walk the trails and continue on page 2 ->

Patrick Aguda
Patrick is an avid fan of both video games and anime. He has been a fan of anime since his older sister introduced him to the genre when he was younger. He grew up watching shows such as Cardcaptor Sakura, Digimon Adventure, Gundam Wing, Dragon Ball Z, Tenchi Muyo and Yu Yu Hakusho. His favorite games include Persona 3 Portable, Steambot Chronicles and the .hack//G.U. trilogy. He strongly believes that Sinon, Maki and Mash are best girls.