We certainly would not have believed it if only two years ago we had seen The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero to Azure in localized versions. Geofront, a group of enthusiasts so fond of the Nihon Falcom brand that they translated the two fundamental episodes never published in the West, has finally made the Crossbell dilogy available in English.
Although we now know the facts about Trails of Azure in general terms, in recent weeks, Lloyd Bannings and the other members of the Special Support Team have taken on the task of filling for once the narrative hole that, at least on our side of the globe, was created between the Trails in the Sky trilogy and the Trails of Cold Steel tetralogy (by the way, here's the review of The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III) and prepare for the upcoming arrival of The Legend of Heroes
Before we get into the plot analysis, please note that The Legend of Heroes: Trails to Azure will not be played without first finishing Trails from Zero.
The two installments of the Crossbell series form a single adventure, which for reasons of time and opportunity – without neglecting the limitations of the PSP, a machine where the original versions were published – was proposed in two parts. Trails from Zero is an indispensable step to get your hands on the second chapter of the series, which is not by chance established a few months after the first.
The Special Support Squad, which defended little KeA and ended the manufacture of the drug known as Gnosis, accomplished its purpose for which it was initially created: to rehabilitate the police's reputation in the eyes of the population, which until then mainly relied on the non-governmental organization known as the Bracer Guild.
The Legend of Heroes: Trail of Cold Steel for PS4 is a short-lived summer break that brings the city-state's heroes together to provide security during the "Western Zemuria Trade Conference," which is dominated by newly elected Mayor Dieter Crois, who is given the opportunity to exercise total authority over Crossbell City.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails to Azure is a never-ending series of stories that span from the political to the pure ethical.
Trails to Azure and its direct predecessor, while retaining their natural calmness, offer the perfect backdrop for understanding all of the brand's plots (for more information, go to the review of The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV).
The Legend of Heroes: Trails to Azure has very little new to offer compared to its direct predecessor, Trails from Zero, which inherited the combat system and all the tools used to develop the characters; this is why the battles begin only when the player enters contact with them: this is how the real battle begins.
Trails to Azure is a game that was first released in 2011, but it does not have many of the features found in the Trails of Cold Steel trilogy, yet its deep strategic component still give great satisfaction. The four fighters who can be deployed on the front line are all of great importance to maximize their potential and win the game.
Trals to Azure's main "novelty" is represented by the introduction of the Master Quartz, that is, particularly powerful orbments that the protagonists may add to their equipment.
Lloyd and his company may add only one of their own classes to their equipment, although the master quartz affects all of the statistics and provides very different abilities, and the aforementioned limitation imposed by the developer does not affect much the customization of the units, which will as usual be free to swap orbments and adopt builds that are entirely different.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails to Azure's albeit classic playful setting has aged quite well, but the same cannot be said for the technical sector. Both parts of Crossbell's narrative arc are shamefully blatantly blamed, as well as because Nihon Falcom has done little or nothing to revitalize and enhance the two titles that were initially released on a handheld device that weren't very powerful.
The improved resolution, the more detailed textures, and the delectable super deformed characters only add to the game's venerable age, which was undoubtedly inadequate at its launch. Moreover, the inclusion of the very welcome High Speed Mode improves the game's quality of life considerably, greatly accelerating exploratory phases, clashes, and even interactions between the characters.