The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie – Review
Follow Genre: JRPG
Developer: Nihon Falcom
Publisher: NIS
Platform: Switch, PS4, PS5, PC
Tested on: Switch

The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie – Review

Site Score
Good: A love letter to the franchise that will delight long-term fans
Bad: Highly inaccessible for newcomers
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(1 votes)
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Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Slowly but surely, every mainline entry in Nihon Falcom’s Legend of Heroes series is making its way onto the Nintendo Switch. The latest outing on the hybrid handheld is a port of 2020’s Trails into Reverie, which is the sixteenth mainline game in the long-running franchise. It’s perhaps a good thing that older entries are available on current-day platforms because most games in the series are interconnected, and you’ll need to have played specific games to fully understand what’s going on in later entries. Trails into Reverie is perhaps the best example of this, as it brings together over 50 characters from across the Legend of Heroes universe. It’s the culmination of two decades of JRPG history, but is it a must-buy title, especially if you’re new to the series?


Having played Trails from Zero and Trails to Azure, the two previous Legend of Heroes releases on the Switch, we dove into Trails into Reverie expecting to find a continuation of the adventures of Lloyd Bannings and his SSS friends. Those expectations were only partially met. Yes, Lloyd makes a welcome return here, but Trails into Reverie brings together various characters and storylines from different Trails games, particularly Trails of Cold Steel. As such, Trails into Reverie’s story is incredibly difficult to follow if you aren’t familiar with at least the four Cold Steel games as well as the pair of Crossbell games. Going into Trails into Reverie blind is like watching Avengers: Endgame without having seen the films leading up to it. There are technically three storylines here, each told from the viewpoint of a different protagonist, which you can swap between pretty much at will. These storylines come together to offer different viewpoints of the same overarching narrative. We won’t be spoiling any of that, because if you’re a Legend of Heroes aficionado, you’ll want to experience everything for yourself and if you’re unfamiliar with the series, you wouldn’t be able to follow what’s going on anyway. This is a love letter to the series, but it’s also impenetrable for newcomers.


Being unfamiliar with the Legend of Heroes games apart from the Crossbell arc, the transition from the 2D visuals into full-fledged 3D was a pleasant surprise, at least at first. Things quickly came apart at the seams, however, as Trails into Reverie is a game that doesn’t run very well on the Switch. The game struggles to keep a consistent frame rate, and slowdown is noticeable, especially while navigating the overworld. Things fare better in combat, but overall, the game suffers from serious visual performance issues. That’s a shame, because the art direction is top-notch, with some fantastic character designs.


Fortunately, the soundscape fares a lot better than the visuals, with crisp English voice acting and a fantastic soundtrack. We’re not familiar enough with the Legend of Heroes to tell you whether the tunes that are present here comprise a “best of” compilation from previous games or if these are original tracks, but what’s present here is fantastic regardless. The overall sound quality is great, with sound effects during special moves being a particularly satisfying highlight.


At the core of Trails into Reverie lies a solid JRPG with turn-based combat. With its rich, multi-decade history to look back on, the Legend of Heroes series was able to polish its gameplay formula to perfection, and nowhere is this more clear than in this game. The foundation is solid, and it draws from the best ideas and elements from previous titles in the series. Combat, for example, is similar to what we’ve seen in the Crossbell games, with the Quartz system from those games making a welcome return here. Speaking of returns, we should note that the game expects you to be a returning player as well: characters start out pre-leveled and equipped with decent enough gear, and there is barely a tutorial in sight.

It is perhaps a good thing then that the game sticks to what it knows it’s good at. We’d even go as far as to say that Trails into Reverie perhaps plays things a bit too safe in terms of gameplay. There were a handful of mechanics that were new to us, like the so-called United Front, which lets your entire party partake in a super powerful move during combat. However, we’re not familiar enough to know whether this is a new addition or just something that came from a previous title. Still, the majority of Trails into Reverie is par for the course, but fortunately, the course is simply fantastic. You’ll be switching between Crossbell’s Lloyd, Cold Steel’s Rean, and the mysterious all-new character C. You can do this freely and at key points in the story. It’s a fairly linear affair, and although the pacing could have been handled better at certain points, we did enjoy this approach overall.

A significant part of the game is structured around the so-called True Reverie Corridor, a strange dimension of sorts filled to the brim with treasure and enemies. The most interesting and most important rewards you’ll find are Sealing Stones, which allow you to unlock characters from previous Legend of Heroes games as well as story snippets that help you piece together the overall narrative. There are mini-games too, including the obligatory fishing game and a card game. Die-hard fans of the series, however, are going to want to sink their teeth into a knowledge quiz, further cementing that this is a celebration of the long-running history of this franchise. Perhaps surprisingly, the game is lacking when it comes to sidequests, especially given how integral these were to fleshing out the world from the previous games. Luckily, this is somewhat made up for by the fact that there are three major storylines instead. Still, this is a comparatively short entry in the series, clocking in at roughly 40 to 50 hours compared to the 100+ hour time sinks that previous titles offered.


Apart from the aforementioned visual performance issues on the Switch, Trails into Reverie’s biggest flaw is how hostile it is to newcomers. The narrative feels like the season finale to a long-running series, which this technically is, and so it requires you to be familiar with the cast and what they’ve gone through. The same applies to the gameplay. For longtime fans, this is the culmination of the Legend of Heroes, however, and perhaps the best send-off some of these characters could have gotten. If you fall into that category, you’re going to love what Trails into Reverie has to offer, although we recommend playing it on any other platform than the Switch just so you get a superior experience, at least from a technical viewpoint.

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Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie - Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating


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