Discussion Trails From Zero Comes Out Soon. Fami, Let Me Share My Full Enthusiasm For This Awesome Game With You.

xghost777

King B00 Fan #TeamJRPG
With Trails From Zero nearly out and reviews starting to drop, I wanted to finally make a thread sharing my own love for the game and hopefully encourage Fami on the fence and those unaware to get over the barrier and jump in. If you love JRPGs and games that are perfect for Switch, Trails From Zero 100% needs to be on your radar. Not only is Trails From Zero a fantastic standalone JRPG in its own right, it is also an excellent place for newcomers to jump into the greater Trails franchise which I love dearly. If you remember when Yakuza fans hyped up Yakuza 0 as a good way to get on board with a series they loved, Trails From Zero is finally this moment for the Trails series especially on Switch and PC thanks to new, definitive ports by Durante and his team. I want to be clear from the start here, I'm here today speaking from my own firsthand experience with the game as I actually played through Trails From Zero two years ago and its direct sequel Trails to Azure last year with the Geofront fan translations that serve as the foundation of the official release.

To get started here, let me tell you a bit about Trails in general. In Japan, Trails is a twelve game and counting JRPG odyssey like no other. These games, which range anywhere from 40-150 hours, are all direct sequels to each other set in the same world. Characters both major and minor who appeared in the first game, Trails in the Sky, are still prominently featuring in the latest games today. This saga follows the story of select heroes based in the many countries that make up the fictional continent of Zemuria that has recently undergone a technological revolution and as a result is entering an age of major upheaval. We currently have seven of the first nine games, with the 4th (Trails From Zero), 5th, and 10th games, as well as a currently non-canon spinoff, soon on the way here. Beyond the wild story ambitions, I really love these games because they most remind me of the JRPG classics I loved growing up on the SNES and PS1 while still incorporating a modern feel and other forward thinking elements. The turn based combat, which grows in complexity across the series, to me is a mix of Final Fantasy X, Chrono Trigger, and Final Fantasy Tactics. Like FFX, you can see the turn order of your characters and enemies and like Chrono Trigger / Final Fantasy Tactics with a mix of careful positioning on the battlefield you can make the most of your special attacks. Manipulating turn order is very important in Trails as there are also a visible list of bonuses and penalties that trigger on certain turns. Ideally you want to claim the best bonuses for yourself while pushing the penalties onto your enemies. If you love turn based combat, I really think you'll like Trails' take on it as it's immediately satisfying and has great hooks to keep fights engaging as you manage resources effectively both on and off the battlefield. While the scope of these games are grand, the Trails games care deeply about the people living in each land you adventure in. I'm not kidding when I say Trails is equally fascinated with having characters change streetslights out to keep people safe at night as it is with war between nations. NPCs move around the world and always have new things to say as greater events pass. It does this so that when major events happen, you'll care because you'll know how it'll personally affect the people who live there.

Trails From Zero is the fourth game in the greater Trails series and is the start of the Crossbell Duology. Aside from the original Trails in the Sky, Trails From Zero is the most standalone game in the series and makes an excellent place for newcomers to jump in. While it does have a direct sequel, Trails From Zero is interesting in the greater Trails series in that it doesn't end on a cliffhanger. You can rest assured you are getting a full story here. Trails From Zero follows the formation of the SSS, a new division of the State of Crossbell's police department, that can more flexibly work directly with its citizens, and follows them solving their first major case. The four main SSS members, Lloyd, Ellie, Tio, and Randy accompany you for nearly all of the adventure so you'll get to know them quite well and there are a few guest characters you can swap in at various points to mix it up. Crossbell is an interesting nation to explore because it is wedged in between both the Empire of Erebonia to the West and the Nation of Calvard to the East. While Crossbell does have power as a technological hub and houses the biggest bank on the continent, it is nonetheless influenced both overtly and behind the scenes by the two super powers at its borders. Crossbell is also interesting in that it's not terribly large either, you have Crossbell City as your home base of sorts which is divided into various districts and then three major paths leading out of it that lead to two small towns and the hospital. Interestingly as well compared to other Trails games, once Crossbell is fully open to you it also regularly stays open so there's a lot of terrain to manage and characters to regularly meet and interreact with. The Trails games to me are very cozy experiences and Zero as a result of its setting and smaller main cast is perhaps the most cozy of them all.

I think that covers the broad strokes of Trails From Zero so let me just list a few other reasons to be excited for this game and hopefully answer a few questions you might have:

Treasure chest dialog returns! In Japanese due to a weird quirk of programming, every treasure chest has an individual message that says "This chest is empty" if you click on it rather than pointing to a universal message. During localization of Trails in the Sky, XSeed proposed writing unique messages instead and Falcom gave their blessing. Expect tons of quirky jokes, dialogue, and fun facts every time you click on an opened treasure chest. One of the games, and unofficially with one of the Geofront releases, even had short stories (Trails in the Chest!) spread across chests!

Books and newspapers return as collectibles! One my favorite features of the series are the books which are obnoxious to collect, but are well worth it as people in the Trails world will directly reference them in conversation and some fictional books have a layer of truth to them that manifest further in the series.

The music is excellent! You'll get to know it well since the Geofront implemented a feature that displays song titles when new songs begin to play. There is also a really cool music thing done towards the end of the game that I wish more JRPGs ripped off.

Other stuff the Geofront added that's great that will return on Switch and PC are Turbo Mode, the Message Log, and cleaned up sprites and signs (even farther than the Geofront release!). It also runs at 1080p and is locked to 60fps! Like the other Trails games, you can save anywhere, so it truly is perfect for Switch!

Trails From Zero is only $50 at launch instead of 60! My very thorough playthrough on the original PC version with the Geofront translation and mod took me about 62 hours to finish according to the in game clock though that did include extensive turbo mode use that significantly ran up the time. I often used Turbo as a sprint button and to speed up battles.

95+% of the characters are all new to the series! If you've played the Sky games there are some cool returning characters and some extra closure on one thread. If you ever heard Cold Steel was a better starting place between it and Zero, that first came out when we didn't have Zero so it's what English Trails fans had to tell themselves to sleep at night. It also isn't strictly true because Cold Steel has a huge cliffhanger for Cold Steel II which together ultimately have MASSIVE spoilers for the Crossbell games. Obviously if you start with Sky, which can easily run on any PC from the last decade, that is the most ideal place to start as it is the first game in the series, but if you are a Switch fan you can feel safe to dive in with Zero! You can always go backwards or forwards from here!

The writing is largely excellent in this game! The Geofront fan translation that serves as the base of the official version aimed to be as strong as XSeed's efforts and outside of an odd line or two, they succeeded. Seriously, it was better than NISA's rushed efforts so far (which granted, were far larger games under deadline). The game isn't terribly Anime in a bad way either, which is nice. I will mention I do recall one groping scene that sucks. It's a blemish on an otherwise excellent game. If there is any new content in this release, good or bad, I cannot speak to that. I'm aware at least Falcom added an extra NPC, Juna from Trails From Cold Steel III, but I'm not sure how prominently she is present or not. She's a cool character.

If you feel satisfied with Zero, your Trails journey can safely end with Zero as it doesn't end on a cliffhanger. However if you do want more, Trails To Azure is coming to Switch early next year and is a direct sequel that completes the Crossbell Duology. I've often heard Azure to be considered to be one of, if not the best in the series, and finally playing it myself last year I'd agree it's one of the best (Sky and Sky SC remain my favorites). Azure plays for keeps in a way other Trails games don't and while it does have more lows than Zero it also has some of the highest highs in the series.

...

I do think Trails From Zero is a great game and a must play for JRPG fans especially. My hope with this thread and post is that while I did share my strong enthusiasm for the game, that I didn't overhype it in the process. I do think there are JRPGs better than Trails From Zero out there, but at least on Fami, I've never made a thread for those and I'm not now at least planning any future ones like this. While I don't think this game is likely to blow people's minds, it is a game I really, thoroughly enjoyed and I think a ton of you on here will enjoy it as well. Zero is an excellent starting point for a series I strongly care about that I've followed across PSP, Vita, PC, PS4, and now Switch. I had never played a fan translation before or jumped through hoops to buy and download official copies of a game from Japan, and in Trails To Azure's case China, before, but for Trails it was absolutely worth it. So yeah, if you want to know where this enthusiasm I have comes from, it is really both for the game itself which is great and for the larger series which is my favorite active RPG series. I really hope some of you will give Trails From Zero a shot. In general, I really can't recommend Trails enough.
 
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xghost777

xghost777

King B00 Fan #TeamJRPG
I forgot to share some cool music...let me fix that. This song actually isn't in the game. It's an arranged version of one my favorite tracks and they did bring it in for the sequel.


Also here is the opening movie with a short version of the theme song, Way of Life!


Edit: I got pulled away earlier, but I'd be remiss if I didn't add Get Over The Barrier! the main battle theme music. There's some cool stuff going on with this theme, but you'll have to play the game to know more!


And finally one of the exploration themes. It's cozy!

 
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Barely Able

Bounty Hunter
I’m interested in these games, but it’s frankly daunting to think of how long it would take to play them all. Glad to see Zero is getting good reviews though. I do have Sky 1/2 on Vita, so probably should start there.
 

GamerJM

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I kinda want to get into Trails, I've had TitS FC sitting in my Steam library unplayed for like a decade now, but it'd be hard to motivate myself to when there are so many other great JRPGs out there as well and I know that this series eventually goes in a direction people found frustrating. And also I'd need to play like hundreds of hours of game to get there.

I love reading about peoples' enthusiasm for the franchise though, so that was a good read, OP.
 
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xghost777

xghost777

King B00 Fan #TeamJRPG
Hell yeah, I'm looking forward to this after not vibing with the Cold Steel games.

I think that’s where I am with the series. Enjoyed Trails in the Sky, was put off by the Cold Steel games, but this seems more like my kinda thing.
Both Trails From Zero and Trails To Azure are far closer in tone to the Sky games than the Cold Steel games. So if you liked Sky, Zero is like those! I didn't think I'd ever get another game like the Sky games, so I was really happy to discover that when I first checked out Zero two years ago.
 
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xghost777

xghost777

King B00 Fan #TeamJRPG
I’m interested in these games, but it’s frankly daunting to think of how long it would take to play them all. Glad to see Zero is getting good reviews though. I do have Sky 1/2 on Vita, so probably should start there.
Yeah if you already have the games, I'd start with Sky and it's also my favorite anyway. Just know the first game (and to an extent the series in general) are slow burns. I really appreciated its careful pacing and came to ultimately treasure it, but it's best to be prepared.

Incidentally, Zero throws you into your first dungeon with a full team even far more quickly.
 

Pixelknight

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Both Trails From Zero and Trails To Azure are far closer in tone to the Sky games than the Cold Steel games. So if you liked Sky, Zero is like those! I didn't think I'd ever get another game like the Sky games, so I was really happy to discover that when I first checked out Zero two years ago.
Good to know! The smaller cast and more self-contained nature is really encouraging for me, I think I’m going to check this out. Thanks for the write-up!
 

BassForever

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Will drop my hot take that this was my least favorite game in the series. It's not bad, but I do not get what people love about Zero so much. Now Azure that game is fantastic and I look forward to having a copy of that on my shelf next year. I will give Zero another chance this holiday with the Switch port that I have pre ordered.
 

Dunban

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After loving the Sky trilogy and not really enjoying Cold Steel that much, I'm really looking forward to the games that are closer to the former instead of the latter!
 
I read this as "Trails from F Zero" and was like what kind of spinoff is this.


Good runthrough of the game OP. I guess I always want to get in but I get scared because of all that backstory
 
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xghost777

xghost777

King B00 Fan #TeamJRPG
I read this as "Trails from F Zero" and was like what kind of spinoff is this.


Good runthrough of the game OP. I guess I always want to get in but I get scared because of all that backstory
Ha, now I want to see Captain Falcon modded / photshopped into this game.

I think new players will be fine jumping into this one. Like the game does reference and reuse prior concepts/people/organizations etc. but the Trails world isn’t totally out there either. It resembles our modern world quite a bit (in this game, they basically only just recently invented the internet) and passing familiarity with JRPGs/anime can paper in the rest easily enough. The new characters in this game have to understand who returning characters are and what their deal is, so you the player aren’t going to be left out. From memory, I’d say there are about five returning characters who mean quite a bit and only one of them you might miss out on subtleties on from having not played Sky. There are three you’ll really benefit from having played Sky, but again you can always go backwards if you enjoy this one.
 

SammyJ9

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I kinda want to get into Trails, I've had TitS FC sitting in my Steam library
There… has to be a better way to abbreviate that, lol.

As for this game:

I’m looking forward to picking it up! I bounced off Trails in the Sky on PC years ago because I found it to be too slow and didn’t really ‘get’ it for whatever reason, but since then I played Cold Steel 1 and 2 and liked them pretty well (1 far more than 2). I think I’ll be more in the right mindset to play this one, and I’m in the mood for this kind of game right now.
 

Xavi

Hresvelg
Fantastic write up OP. Played Zero and Ao with the Geofronts translation and had a wonderful time. Ordered the Switch DE and will buy on Steam as soon as unlocks. Can't wait to get over the barrier again.
 

SirArthur

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I got the game preorder months ago super excited to finally get into this series. Where are my CS 1&2 on switch Xseed lol

I have a question for Sky fans. While I can play them on PC, I have them wish listed, I dont like to play on my PC lol (Its more of a work thing), plus the time commitment is high at the moment.

I was planning to "watch" the Sky games to get a feel for the story and characters. Is this blasphemy? Like if they ever announce them for Switch (Falcom is interested in doing that) I will buy them in a heartbeat.
 

uncleoptimus

Bob-omb
That story about the PS release being handicapped vs the Switch/PC versions is wild:


...the PlayStation 4 version will not have the various Durante implementations. The most significant inclusions that Switch and PC players will benefit from comprise UI scaling, a custom text log, increased frame rate, mitigated distance pop-in, updated sprites, and cleaned-up textures.

Related, fun AMA w/ Durante on the efforts going into the ports.
 
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xghost777

xghost777

King B00 Fan #TeamJRPG
I got the game preorder months ago super excited to finally get into this series. Where are my CS 1&2 on switch Xseed lol

I have a question for Sky fans. While I can play them on PC, I have them wish listed, I dont like to play on my PC lol (Its more of a work thing), plus the time commitment is high at the moment.

I was planning to "watch" the Sky games to get a feel for the story and characters. Is this blasphemy? Like if they ever announce them for Switch (Falcom is interested in doing that) I will buy them in a heartbeat.
I was kind of in the same boat when it came time for Trails in the Sky The 3rd after playing Sky and Sky SC on PSP/Vita (and then later with Zero and Azure) as I’m not super into PC gaming besides stuff like StarCraft that only makes sense there. While not the same as playing on a handheld or console, I found plugging in an Xbox 360 controller (which just works on Windows) got enough of the feel right for me to enjoy it like I would a console game even though I was still sitting at my desk. The low requirements also made trouble shooting not too bad, which is something I don’t enjoy on PC gaming. Locking the framerate was important in my case at least to make sure it ran smoothly.
 

Clix

Chain Chomp
So as someone who owns Cold Steel 1 and 2 on Vita. I started playing Cold Steel 1, but kinda dropped off. Been meaning to get back to it, but I think I dropped off because it did not hook me right away and everything at the start was very, very slow.

Will this entry win me over?
 

Xavi

Hresvelg
So as someone who owns Cold Steel 1 and 2 on Vita. I started playing Cold Steel 1, but kinda dropped off. Been meaning to get back to it, but I think I dropped off because it did not hook me right away and everything at the start was very, very slow.

Will this entry win me over?
Every entry game to an arc (Trails in the Sky: First Chapter, Zero, Cold Steel I) are slow burns since each game takes its time to introduce you to the characters, region, social and political system, etc. I guess it depends if you will like the setting of Zero more than Cold Steel. But it's still a slow burn for sure.
 
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xghost777

xghost777

King B00 Fan #TeamJRPG
So as someone who owns Cold Steel 1 and 2 on Vita. I started playing Cold Steel 1, but kinda dropped off. Been meaning to get back to it, but I think I dropped off because it did not hook me right away and everything at the start was very, very slow.

Will this entry win me over?
Nearly every Trails game is a slow burn, especially the starting games, but I do think Cold Steel is the slowest of them all. Zero gets started a lot more quickly. You get into your first dungeon with a full team fairly quickly and having a cast mostly full of adults helps the pacing. Also since the setting doesn’t change like Cold Steel does, I feel like the investments in learning about Crossbell have more immediate payoff. Each new place you visit, with small exceptions, is a place you’ll be revisiting often so there’s more clear investment in your adventures.
 

MSnap

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I’m like right at the end of SC, but I dropped off like a year ago. I think I’ll try to push through and then suffer through not being able to suspend 3rd at all through its long periods of not being able to save (from what I hear.)
 
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xghost777

xghost777

King B00 Fan #TeamJRPG
I’m like right at the end of SC, but I dropped off like a year ago. I think I’ll try to push through and then suffer through not being able to suspend 3rd at all through its long periods of not being able to save (from what I hear.)
I don’t remember anything weird about saving in Sky the 3rd. There’s a lot of cutscenes near the start I guess. Otherwise you can save whenever.
 

Gengar

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Went through Cold Steel last year and all of the Sky games earlier this summer. Really looking forward to Zero!

Now that I'm caught up with the western releases, I have to wait for each new release, but I also don't need to worry about burning out. This time I really want to just savor and enjoy the whole experience.
 
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xghost777

xghost777

King B00 Fan #TeamJRPG
Isn’t Azure out in February? 5 months between releases for a 50-hour rpg feels OK to me.
Azure doesn’t have a date, but it is supposed to be early 2023. Preorders for the Limited Edition went up months ago and they are even doing trailers alongside Zero which feels odd, but together should mean they are on track. We also have Nayuta, Trails into Reverie, and the anime all next year to look forward to. It’s going to be the most active year for Trails yet!
 

Pixelknight

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Azure doesn’t have a date, but it is supposed to be early 2023. Preorders for the Limited Edition went up months ago and they are even doing trailers alongside Zero which feels odd, but together should mean they are on track. We also have Nayuta, Trails into Reverie, and the anime all next year to look forward to. It’s going to be the most active year for Trails yet!
Ah Ok. I pre-ordered on Amazon UK and it’s got a date of February 28.
 

Ibuki

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Trails has been something I’ve wanted to get into for years, but it’s such a daunting task with all the other games I have to play. I’m glad to hear you say it’s OK to start with Zero and this puts me way closer to dipping my toes in than I ever have been before. Thanks for the wonderful write up!
 
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doraemoe

Rattata
Maybe I should give this game a second chance. I played this game over 10 years ago and hated it, to the point I never played another trails game again and I like trails in the sky trilogy a lot.
 

SirArthur

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Are the Sky games ever coming to Switch? Has there been any indication that they might?
Yes, there is interest. Early this year they mentioned it. Specially when they are moving to in-house switch ports, Nayuta being their first. I know they said they are testing the first Kuro.

 
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xghost777

xghost777

King B00 Fan #TeamJRPG
Are the Sky games ever coming to Switch? Has there been any indication that they might?

Yes, there is interest. Early this year they mentioned it. Specially when they are moving to in-house switch ports, Nayuta being their first. I know they said they are testing the first Kuro.

Just want to caution if it does happen there’s two potential roadblocks. If it isn’t by Falcom directly XSeed won’t touch it and they own the English scripts, and if it is by Falcom they had a messy falling out with XSeed so the latter may not want to touch it. They did do Cold Steel 1 and 2 on PS4 with Falcom after the break up so it’s not impossible, just the odds aren’t necessarily great.

I’m really rooting for it to happen though! Sky and Sky SC are my favorites in the series!
 

SirArthur

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Just want to caution if it does happen there’s two potential roadblocks. If it isn’t by Falcom directly XSeed won’t touch it and they own the English scripts, and if it is by Falcom they had a messy falling out with XSeed so the latter may not want to touch it. They did do Cold Steel 1 and 2 on PS4 with Falcom after the break up so it’s not impossible, just the odds aren’t necessarily great.

I’m really rooting for it to happen though! Sky and Sky SC are my favorites in the series!
Yeah there is alot in the background that hurt its releases. Curiously Clouded Leopard did Cold Steel 1&2 for Switch but only in asia so far. I am not sure they would be willing to localize CS or even work on the sky games. But maybe there is a workaround since they would be doing ports? I am not to sure how it all works.
 
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xghost777

xghost777

King B00 Fan #TeamJRPG
Yeah there is alot in the background that hurt its releases. Curiously Clouded Leopard did Cold Steel 1&2 for Switch but only in asia so far. I am not sure they would be willing to localize CS or even work on the sky games. But maybe there is a workaround since they would be doing ports? I am not to sure how it all works.
Yeah this is the rub here. The ports exist for Cold Steel, but because they weren’t done by Falcom, XSeed won’t touch them since they’d need to pay both Falcom and Clouded Leopard to bring it over. XSeed doesn’t commission their own ports either unlike NISA.
 


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