I want to tell you about a story. It’s a story that starts with a young man and woman. It begins as a simple coming of age story. They work for a guild that is a quasi-police force that operates internationally. They encounter colorful characters across many parts of their land. And, ultimately, they become embroiled in a vast political plot. Later, we want to learn more about the many, many characters they encountered. Trails in the Sky the 3rd is that latter story. It’s the conclusion of the Trails in the Sky trilogy.
The gameplay of the 3rd is different in some ways from the first two. The first two allow players to explore the nation of Liberl. This game is essentially a lengthy dungeon crawl with huge story asides scattered throughout. It’s a gameplay loop that may turn off some players but quickly becomes addictive as you get through the dungeon to learn more about side characters. This is largely done through the discovery of Sun, Moon, and Star doors which unlock minigames and flashbacks that tell sometimes lengthy stories about characters who had–at times–only minor roles in the first two games. Some of these are carefree fun. Some are heartfelt. A couple are… honestly devastating emotionally. The depth of the game’s story is almost impossible to overstate. The main plot is a good enough tale to keep you invested, but discovering even more about all of the characters on the side sustains the plot. Until you get towards the end and discover even more about the two main characters of this game–Ries and Kevin (pictured here). You become hugely invested in these two as well.
The dungeons are occasionally sprawling, with a few easy puzzles and tons of treasure to find. The fun of the gameplay for me was found in messing with the Orbments (the game’s magic system) and equipment to make unstoppable parties that rolled over normal enemies. With a huge cast of characters to choose from, it’s fun finding combinations of characters who play well together and balance each other out.
I hope you’ll give the “Trails in the Sky” trilogy a chance. If you’re a fan of role-playing games at all–especially if you’re a fan of traditional turn-based JRPGs–you owe it to yourself to give these games a try. The first game is a slow burn, but eventually you’ll find a beautiful, epic story that
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