The Legend Of Heroes: Trails Through Daybreak Preview – New Era

NIS America has released a demo for The Legend of Heroes: Trails through Daybreak. Now we finally have a chance to take a small look at how the eleventh title in the interconnected RPG franchise holds.

The newest entry is the beginning of the Calvard arc, which makes it the best starting point in the series ever since the publisher started working on it. The series came west for the first time on the PlayStation Portable with Trails in the Sky, and has since then had consistent PlayStation releases.

Before starting diving into the details, keep in mind the PlayStation store only has a PlayStation 4 demonstration. It runs on PS5 but graphics and performance may differ in the final build.

A New Beginning

The Legend of Heroes: Trails through Daybreak tells the story of Van Arkride, a young man who does various odd jobs as a spriggan. Unlike our previous protagonists in the series, he has a shadier side to his actions, as someone whose moral code isn’t so strict.

One day a young girl called Agnes shows up at his place and asks him to handle a special job for her. Namely, he has to find an heirloom of hers that went missing.

However, what should have been an easy job becomes much more than he imagined. In the demo, we get to play through the prologue and first chapter of the game and see how much the situation escalates.

In the prologue alone, we already get mafia deals and very powerful tech beyond modern-day understanding. Everything presented through this beginning is intriguing and the new characters have interesting circumstances withing the Trails universe.

For those who have already played previous entries in the series, there are a few familiar faces and groups to keep track. In fact, we already know a ton of things that the characters talk about as recent past events.

However, it also seems like nothing is truly overwhelming information that the player absolutely needs. From the demo part at least, it feels like a fresh start that newcomers can enjoy before taking the plunge and playing previous entries. Calvard feels alluring in its own right so far.

A New Action Aspect

The Legend of Heroes is traditionally a turn-based RPG series. Even before Trails started, the series was a different beast from the likes of other Falcom games, such as Ys, Xanadu, Brandish, Gurumin or Zwei.

However, The Legend of Heroes: Trails through Daybreak brings with it a major change to the franchise. It introduces a dual gameplay system that combines action and turn-based commands, making it possible for players to alternate between them.

While exploring the dungeons, we get to see enemies around and can hit them directly in an action RPG system. We can attack these monsters with combos, charging a special hit gauge that can stun them faster.

One of the best parts of using this action system is that we can dodge attacks. In fact, there’s even a perfect dodge system that rewards us with the full special gauge if we time our button press perfectly.

However, once we manage to stun an enemy, it may be best to move on to the turn system. By deploying the Shards system when they’re still recovering, we get to cause bonus damage to all enemies.

Otherwise, if the enemy damages us too much in the field, they’ll force us into the turn-based system with a disadvantage. If that happens, we’ll not be able to flee the fight and it’ll likely be a tough challenge.

Back to Turns

When it comes to the turn system, we have the chance to move freely through the field while picking an order. Options include attack, defense, items, arts (magic), and crafts (special skills). We can also boost our characters’ attributes by spending points in the S-Boost gauge.

Compared to field battle, we have a much wider array of tools at our disposal. We also need to be careful about turn order. Just like previous games, we can get bonuses sometimes but stealing them from enemies seems trickier now.

Carefully using both combat systems to our advantage seems to be an important tool for The Legend of Heroes: Trails through Daybreak. The demo showcased a solid understanding of how to make them complement each other.

Details to Keep in Mind

The Legend of Heroes: Trails through Daybreak demo is a lengthy portion of the real game. As such, it also lets us see various elements that future chapters will expand on.

As a spriggan, we have to do various odd jobs around town. This system is familiar for the franchise fans, as sidequests are the bread and butter of the series. Ever since Trails in the Sky, it has always worked this way.

However, it seems like we’ll have more malleability this time. While doing some quests, we get to pick how to handle their outcome and this impacts a morality system.

Van can try to act lawfully or handle things in shady manners. Each job he takes can impact this system and bring him ever closer to one side of the coin. This seems to affect events later in the game, but we do not get to see its impacts so soon.

During the demo, Van also learns how to transform into another form. I won’t talk about it in depth due to spoilers. However, this feels like the game’s version of the Valimar fights in Trails of Cold Steel.

Using multiple attacks in the same turn facing against powerful creatures is intriguing. I hope the full game can expand upon it beyond making it a last-minute trick for bosses.

Promising Trails

In the end, the demo for The Legend of Heroes: Trails through Daybreak feels like it’s on the right track. It shows the compelling world building of the franchise without feeling like it burdens the story for newcomers.

The mix of action and turn-based systems make it an experimental evolution. However, as far as the demo goes, it seems like Falcom landed it perfectly and I can’t wait to get my hands on the full game. Van Arkride’s tale is but starting in the west but the future seems promising.