Following the aftermath of the events that took place in Crossbell, the Special Support Section found themselves facing a new looming threat. With two new members, will Lloyd Bannings and his colleagues be able to overcome this new barrier, or will they succumb to it? Find out in our review for Trails to Azure!
Trails to Azure
- Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (reviewed), Playstation 4 (Reviewed), and PC
- Release Date(s): March 14, 2023 (PC – worldwide), March 14, 2023 (NA – retail, digital), March 17, 2023 (EU – retail, digital), March 24, 2023 (AUS – digital)
- Genre: RPG
- Publisher: NIS America, Inc.
- Developer: Nihon Falcom
- Audio Languages: Japanese
- Text Languages: English
*Special thanks to NIS America for providing a Playstation 4 review key!*
Update: NIS America was gracious to also provide a Nintendo Switch Review Key, thank you for that as well!
From the press release:
Following the events of Trails from Zero, the Special Support Section find themselves with new members and new duties. However, rising tensions in Crossbell along with pressure from two neighboring political powers threaten both the safety of their home, as well as the integrity of their team.
The Fate of the City-State: Play through the finale of the Crossbell arc, a key thread within the Trails universe. What lies ahead for Lloyd Bannings and his ragtag squad of allies?
Crossbell’s Finest Forces: Experience new combat features introduced by Trails to Azure, including Burst, Back Attack, and even your own customizable car. Also, meet a few familiar faces from the Trails of Cold Steel series!
Power from the Past: Import save data from Trails from Zero for a different story experience, including additional conversations and alternate dialogue! Also, use your save data from Trails to Azure for bonuses in the upcoming release of Trails into Reverie!
Trails to Azure picks up after a short time from the previous title. Players find themselves in the shoes of Lloyd Bannings once again as the SSS is coming together once again after members go their ways. There are new additions to the team that players will recognize from the first game as well. Picking up where the story left off, several new evils are making their way into Crossbell.
What does this mean for our heroes? They will be challenged as they have never been challenged before. Trails to Azure picks up the same story elements from the previous game, which made it so beloved. This game has a wonderful story that keeps players engaged, wonderful pacing, and a great narrative, with it all wrapped up in a neat package. However, with this neat package, does it hold up in terms of gameplay? Let’s take a look at the gameplay to make that determination.
Gameplay for Trails to Azure is the same as the previous game, as well as other entries in The Legend of Heroes franchise. The game has tutorials introduced for every new mechanic that is in play. This includes in battle and out of battle. The battle system also has improvements as well, as well as new features as well. Outside of battle, players are given the freedom to do side quests, complete the story, explore the world, and partake in minigames.
As this review only covers the Playstation 4 version, this writer has not experienced any issues. Similar to Trails from Zero, none of the enhancements that were included in other versions of that game are included in this title. I am not sure if the Nintendo Switch or PC versions will have any extra features for Trails to Azure. This writer plans on purchasing the Switch version of the title and will update the review to reflect any of the changes if they are present. I wanted to write this as a precaution for those who are debating which version to get.
Being provided a review key for the Nintendo Switch Version, and itching to replay the game again. I took it for a go on the Nintendo Switch. there is very little to no load time in any capacity. All of the quality-of-life updates that were in place for Trails from Zero are in place here. It is very refreshing, and surprising to say that the Nintendo Switch Version is the superior version of the game.
Visually, the game looks as how it always looked. Again, this is only inclusive of the Playstation 4 version as I have not played the other versions. That is not to say that it is bad, but dated looks. Players will still be immersed in Crossbell in all of its original glory as well as the surrounding areas. It is good to return to Crossbell once again and take all of this original aesthetic that is in place.
Update: below are screenshots from the Nintendo Switch version, from comparison, you can see the difference.
Audio-wise, Trails to Azure is voiced entirely in Japanese. The voice work is well done, and that is to compliment the incredible soundtrack as well. Additionally, the audio is mixed well and works well for the title.
Trails to Azure is the closure of the Crossbell arc and fans told me several times that this game is the best title of the entire franchise. After playing it, I can see why. This game is something special. It wraps up the arc very well, all while leaving some questions in place that do transpire in future The Legend of Heroes games. I was rather impressed once I was done with the game.
Trails of Azure is well-written, and the story is delivered well. I can see the love from the devs and I now know why the fans love this game. If you are a fan of the Legend of Heroes games, this is one not to miss. If you completed Trails from Zero, I HIGHLY recommend you continue the story to finish this arc off. You will not be disappointed. If i were to choose a version, I recommend the Nintendo Switch Version. It is the superior version of the game.
- Until next time, Mgs2master2 out!
*Special thanks to NIS America for providing a Playstation 4 review key and also providing a Nintendo Switch Review Key, thank you for that as well!!*