The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Albert Lichi 28.05.2023

Review for The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero on Nintendo Switch

The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero is fourth in the Trails series' chronology. It follows just after the Trails in the Sky trilogy in the greater The Legend of Heroes canon, but is set before the Cold Steel tetralogy. Trails from Zero is the first part of a two-part arc, with the second part being Trails to Azure. Needless to say, anyone going into Trails from Zero will be utterly lost on a lot of concepts in the narrative, especially since protagonists from the Trails in the Sky trilogy have crucial roles in the plot. What can gamers expect from this latest entry? Find out in Cubed3's review!

The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero is not like most RPGs; it centres on a police squad of fresh recruits in a major metropolitan city known as Crossbell. The Special Support Section (SSS) newest squad leader is Lloyd Bannings, a natural detective, and a demon with twin tonfas. What separates Trails from Zero from being like most RPGs with a cast of young heroes is that so much of the narrative is driven by the SSS organisation and actually having to do police work. Lloyd and company spend a lot of time helping people, solving mysteries crimes and serving the public trust.

Screenshot for The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero on Nintendo Switch

The characters are not especially deep or original, but they are fleshed out. The cast is made up of familiar anime archetypes and prodigies. What makes them feel real is Trails from Zero's dedication to world building and attention to detail. Things like Randy's apartment being festooned with various bottles of liquors, whiskeys and erotic paraphernalia are cheeky flourishes that go a long way when the dialogue doesn't call attention to it. Seeds are planted very early on and have big payoffs much later, making revelations feel earned without ever coming off as forced.

The drawback to Trails from Zero extensive and dedicated commitment to its story is that it is extremely verbose. This is one of the wordiest and text-heavy RPGs around, which is par for the course for a Legend of Heroes game. Veterans of the Trails in the Sky trilogy will note that it eclipsed the Lord of the Rings books in terms of word count and Trails from Zero is not that far behind. This is especially impressive when considering that it is only the first half of a two-part arc. The lengthy dialogue and text can draw out an already long game and the battle system can further pad it out.

Screenshot for The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero on Nintendo Switch

Battles are turn-based, but mix things up with a strategy-like element where players also must consider character placement. Compounded with managing units and being mindful of where enemies move on the board, special attacks and magic always have their own bespoke range. Battles unfold with HP, EP and CP resources being in a perpetual state of tug-of-war. This is why the battles can drag out the length to the 70 to 80-hour range. Thankfully, Trails from Zero does come with several toggles for speeding things up several times over. This feature is a godsend and can shave off extraneous filler animations, lowering the playtime from an absurd 80-ish hours to a more feasible 50-60 hours.

The orbment system is almost the same as it was in the Trails in the Sky instalments, and anyone who enjoyed that will feel right at home. It is seemingly limited at first, but the system is very flexible and allows for a lot of customization for a vast range of builds and play-styles. Elements can be assigned, different spells can be allocated to whoever the user desires, and this all impacts the stats. Every unit has limited slots for abilities, so gamers will be pushed into situations where they must be creative with their builds. The variables are almost endless and there is no limit to how players can express themselves.

Screenshot for The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero on Nintendo Switch

A large chunk of Trails from Zero is set in Crossbell. It is a large setting, but the scenario does expand and the SSS will eventually find themselves venturing beyond the city limits. The quests will keep coming and new dialogue will keep fleshing out the state of the world at large. Character development for minor NPCs is given surprising attention; expect to find inconsequential characters on the far side of the world map undergo a change. This is the kind of attention that is rarely seen in RPGs.

Trails from Zero looks like a PSP game from 2010. This is because it a PSP game from 2010. It had a PS VITA port and a conversion for PC where Falcom sharpened the visuals. There is a quant charm about the stubby 2D prerendered sprites that evoke memories from the PlayStation era. The timeless graphics will hold up in any era due to the emphasis on art over specs. The low poly environments are readable and are more detailed than anything that was possible on the fifth console generation. Textures end up looking more painterly than chunky or pixelated.

Screenshot for The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero is a very beefy RPG that is way longer if the speed-up functions are never used. The imaginative premise and complex battle system are what makes it stand out. The text can be really long-winded, even for RPG fans, but it all pays off for the diligent reader with patience to parse it all. Regretfully, there is no English voice acting - a first for the Legend of Heroes. While that is initially disappointing, the realization of the voice acting padding out an already very long RPG quells the desire.


Nihon Falcom


NIS America


Turn Based RPG



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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