The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC

released on Mar 09, 2006

Picking up shortly after The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky, Estelle travels across Liberl in search of Joshua. The journey involves more than seeking loved ones, however, as the Bracer Guild also tasks her with unraveling the mysteries behind the newly unveiled Society of Ouroboros.

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This review contains spoilers

honestly up there with Suikoden II as one of the best JRPGs ever made, but i still think i'd give it a 9
Second Chapter is basically just a continuation of First Chapter, but its 50% longer, and rather than the crux of the plot starting ~20-25 hours into a 45 hour long game, it just immediately hits the ground running. its fantastic.
If Suikoden II has pretty good gameplay and the best story ever told in a video game, then Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC has a pretty good story and the best gameplay in a JRPG ever. the plot's kinda rough around the edges i think, like there's a fair bit of weird, frankly dumb plot beats with characters needlessly withholding information, characters motivations being paper thin and shattering when Estelle says something like "actually friends are important". I think I definitely prefer the unforgiving and enduring nature of war presented in Suikoden II more than the "bad guy wants to become a god, and strings along a hapless group of miscreants who get confused into helping him" in this
but the gameplay fuck me, everything is improved versus Sky FC, there's an additional orbment slot that lets you get even more funky with character builds, the everchanging roster you have to deal with throughout the game isn't even necessarily a detractor because you basically just respec with your natural char limitations which is also really fun. I think there are definitely some orbments you feel required to run like EP Cut, EP and Cast, which does kinda turn all of your characters into some fusion of Time/OtherElement, which means that your filler move a lot of the time ends up just being Black Gehanna because it's (Set) Medium, its cheap and does decent damage. But by virtue of you not having 15 orbment slots, the limitations still make every character you build at least FEEL unique. the game's way harder than FC, with some of the end-game bosses taking me like 30-40 minutes of genuinely tense turn-based planning. the Luciola Liber Ark fight? Mmmm fucking good ass boss fight
I fucking loved this game. the idyllic Slice of Life aspects of Sky FC also appealed to me in a completely different way but as an out-n-out RPG this is leaps and bounds better.

the gameplay in sky can be tedious and mundane at times but the storywriting, OST, and worldbuilding is INCREDIBLE and makes it more than worth it. for its time, the game looks good and has great presentation too. the overall cast of characters isn't exactly AMAZING but they're a lovable bunch, and i will say that the estelle/joshua dynamic is incredible and really carries the narrative. sky was a bit tough to get into after playing CS1/CS2 first but the payoff is worth it and i can imagine it only goes up from here

Alright, you got me Falcom... I'm hooked.

fucking amazing entry into the series