The Legend of Heroes: Trails From Zero is the latest game in the Trails/Kiseki series (and larger Legend of Heroes franchise) to become localized, and after initially not getting an official English translation, it’s great to finally be able to see what the first game in the Crossbell duology has to offer. As protagonist Lloyd Bannings, players will run around the city of Crossbell and its surrounding areas as they investigate crimes for the Special Support Section (SSS) of the local police department and start to uncover a much larger threat. Hallmarks of the series – turn-based combat, well-developed characters, and an immersive story – are all present in Trails From Zero, but it can also make an easily accessible first entry to the series.
Trails From Zero is in an interesting place as a game – longtime fans may have already played the game in Japanese or at least seen many of these characters and plotlines appearing or being referenced in the Trails Of Cold Steel titles. Taking place between the Sky and Cold Steel entries (and sometimes running concurrently with the latter), the Crossbell arc helps fill in some storyline gaps while also introducing characters and subplots that aren’t completely resolved until the finale of Trails of Cold Steel 4. Despite all this, it’s easy to fall into the story of Trails From Zero without needing to know anything about Sky (although it certainly helps, as appearances from characters like Joshua and Estelle Bright have more of an impact).
Still, Trails From Zero avoids some pitfalls of later games by having a reasonably focused story. It also lacks the overcrowding of characters the Cold Steel games were sometimes prone to having, and this is especially why it can make a great first entry for anyone interested in The Legend of Heroes series. Some smaller nuances can be missed, but it won’t really leave new players scratching their heads. The core cast of characters – Lloyd Bannings, Elie MacDowell, Tio Plato, and Randy Orlando – are all extremely likable and well-developed, even if they start off as run-of-the-mill JRPG archetypes. Other characters weave in and out of the story – and the party – as Trails From Zero progresses, keeping things nice and fresh.
Trails From Zero comes with multiple difficulty options and a High-Speed mode that can be especially useful during dialogue-heavy cutscenes or longer battles. Even with it enabled, players can expect to spend dozens of hours with the game. Side quests work in the form of requests from citizens and the local PD, and while most are completely optional, they can offer great rewards and shed more light on Crossbell and the larger Trails and Legends of Heroes world. While the combat isn’t quite as fluid (or complicated) as it became in later games, it’s still immensely fun as the team uses Crafts, Arts, and more to take on monsters, mobsters, and other villains.
The only real issue with Trails From Zero is one that most other games in the series have, too – sometimes, exposition dumps can feel a bit tedious and some scenes overstay their welcome. Even with a story and characters as great as these, some parts just feel longer than they should be. Regardless, The Legend of Heroes: Trails From Zero is fantastic and continues Trails‘ trend of setting the bar incredibly high for character-driven narratives. It’s also a wonderful feeling to finally have the Crossbell arc localized, but it was worth the wait.
Screen Rant was provided with a copy of Trails From Zero for Nintendo Switch in advance for the purpose of this review.