So, for lack of anywhere better-named to talk about Legend of Heroes and Trails games:
I’ve gotten really into this over the last month or two. I played Trails in the Sky all the way through again on PC (I had played it on PSP in 2011 and been frustrated at the cliffhanger), which took me about 35 hours (to get as close to 100% as you can on a single play through, on hard mode, already knowing most of what I was doing). Then I played SC, which clocked in around 60-65 hours and which I picked as my game of the year in the other thread. Then my wife got me Trails of Cold Steel (the first “Sen” game, as HRose mentioned) for Christmas, because she hates my time and she enjoys watching me play through these games on the giant screen (thanks Steam Streaming, by the way). Cold Steel is a bit different, as it takes a bunch of elements pretty much directly from the Persona series: high school setting, built around regular events from a school schedule, emphasis on social interactions with “bonding” activities (even if nowhere near the Persona level of depth), there’s an old schoolhouse that mysteriously re-arranges itself into a different dungeon level for you every month. So there’s definitely been a nod towards “this other idea was commercially successful, let’s try to mix some of it in”.
That said, Cold Steel is still a really good game. The writing remains better-than-JRPG-average, even if it’s short of where Trails in the Sky was. My biggest complaint is that there are a bunch more Japan-standard tropes (aka what turns me off most JRPGs), or maybe they’re just more obvious/annoying here. But I still like the combat and character building, most of the characters are still pretty fun, and it continues to pose and hint at a lot of interesting questions about both the characters in this game and the overall situation in Zemuria. I’m through three chapters, which appears to be about halfway, and I’m probably going to blow through the rest of the game by the end of the weekend.
(No idea re: potential decrease in writing quality in the second Sen game, as I’m coming at this strictly through the English-available games.)
nice! i like ToCS (on Vita) alot despite every attempt of this game to genericize the Trails world with the Fightin’ High Schoolers element every other JRPG/anime seems to have. Now what I need is a TitS reboot using this games combat system :P
Since excellent classic JRPG is now on sale on Steam, I figured this would be a good time to bump this old thread with a wonderful mini-documentary on the history of Falcom by a relatively unknown Youtuber. In addition to the charming footage of the 80s game scene in Japan, which always makes for a fun watch, I found the video quite informative.
That was pretty good. Watched the whole thing anyway. I really love the Trails games (well, the two that I’ve played) but this made me want to check out the Ys games and some of the earlier Legends of Heroes ones.
I just finished watching that. Very interesting. The most interesting part was right at the start when it started as a computer store. When I got to the part where they made the biggest hit PC game ever in Japan, Xanadu, I was thinking, how can a company this successful be one that I’ve never heard of? The video doesn’t really go into the reason for the massive brain drain that effectively killed them in the 90s. I wonder if other successful companies of the late 80s faced similar obstacles? Or perhaps Falcom didn’t share the wealth enough and all these great developers that left didn’t feel appreciated because of that?
It was also interesting just how long they stubbornly kept making Japanese PC games despite Japanese no longer buying PC games. What the heck were they thinking? It’s also charming that Kondo, who runs the company now and led their recent resurgence, started as someone who ran a fan site for their games.
I haven’t played any of their games, but that was certainly an interesting story. Since the video never really went into what kind of space they moved into, in my mind they still operate out of that original computer store where they sold Apple II and other PCs. Though I’m 99% sure that’s not true.
I’m keen to pickup one of the Ys games during the Steam sale. I’ve heard they’re all standalone, so you can jump in anywhere. Right now, I’m leaning towards getting the remake of the 3rd game (Ys: The Oath in Felghana), which was originally a Zelda 2-esque side scroller, as it seems to be consistently highly regarded by the fans.
I would’ve loved to see more detail on the talent exodus, too. For me, I appreciated the start of the doco the most as it was such an exciting era. Can you imagine going from running a mom and pop store to having a beloved company with a music publishing arm and super-successful blockbusters that supported by endless ancillary products in just a few years? That’s insane!