If it weren’t apparent sufficient, I’m a giant fan of Falcom’s video games, whether or not it’s The Legend of Heroes Kiseki collection or Ys. The turn-based fight of the previous, mixed with its deep story-telling and intensive characterization, makes for a compelling saga. The latter’s hack-and-slash fight, rewarding exploration and stellar boss design permits for a number of the finest motion RPGs in the present day. So what occurs if you happen to merge the 2?
No, not Ys vs. Trails within the Sky, however The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails. This motion RPG has all the time stood out as an anomaly for the Kiseki collection as a result of its gameplay but in addition as a result of the story doesn’t straight tie into it. Nonetheless, sure parts have remained intriguing, from the protagonist Nayuta’s household title Hersche,l to Creha and her similarities to a sure Kiseki antagonist.
“The story begins with Nayuta and his finest good friend Cygna returning to their dwelling on Remnant Isle on a ship (which fortunately doesn’t find yourself shipwrecked).”
Boundless Trails was launched for PlayStation Transportable in June 2012, earlier than it was remastered for PS4 and PC in 2021, then Nintendo Change in 2022. Nevertheless, this would be the first time North America and Europe can lastly expertise the sport with English localization and voice performing. Lengthy story quick, whether or not you want hack-and-slash video games or are merely interested in Falcom’s choices past Ys and Trails, The Legend of Nayuta offers a pleasant diversion with surprisingly enjoyable gameplay and great-looking visuals.
The story begins with Nayuta and his finest good friend Cygna returning to their dwelling on Remnant Isle on a ship (which fortunately doesn’t find yourself shipwrecked). Nayuta has been away to check on the academy, studying extra concerning the world to resolve the thriller of Misplaced Heaven. Remnant Isle is unusual in that it sees mysterious ruins periodically falling from the sky. In the future, a significant chunk falls, and Nayuta and Cygna enterprise to research.
After rescuing the fairy-like Noi, the duo face off in opposition to Zechst and the mysterious Serum, who search the Grasp Gear. As soon as they escape, Nayuta and Cygna enterprise by a portal and arrive in Misplaced Heaven, studying extra about Zechst’s plan to throw the world into chaos with the Grasp Gear. Working with Noi, Nayuta should enterprise by the 4 continents of Terra and their temples to in the end cease Zechst.
As is usually the case with Falcom titles, there’s a strong solid. Noi is upbeat and possesses highly effective talents often known as Gearcrafts however is cautious of working with people as a result of a previous incident. Cygna is a venerable older brother to Nayuta, having arrived on Remnant Isle 5 years prior with no recollections. Eartha is Nayuta’s older sister who prepares lunch containers when she’s not star-gazing however suffers from a mysterious illness.
“It isn’t the deepest story on the market, but it surely by no means turns into too expository or overbearing, and there are some good twists (even when some are pretty apparent).”
The motivations of main characters additionally develop into extra fleshed out over time, so even when Nayuta comes throughout as little greater than a naive do-gooder, his worries and tragedies lend some complexity. Not each character is as extensively fleshed out, particularly when contemplating the residents of Remnant Isle. Finishing requests can shine a lightweight on their circumstances, and their responses evolve all through the story. Don’t count on something akin to Trails within the Sky or Chilly Metal, and also you’ll be high-quality.
The writing is fairly easy, with a crisp localization. It doesn’t get too lengthy winded, which the smaller occasion measurement assists with. Regardless of some characters like Zechst coming off as cliched, the plot is compelling. What’s Terra, and who’re the Folks of Mythos? Who’s Creha, and what’s her connection to every thing? It isn’t the deepest story on the market, but it surely by no means turns into too expository or overbearing, and there are some good twists (even when some are pretty apparent).
At first, the gameplay might remind you of older Ys titles, with its real-time hack-and-slash mechanics and overhead perspective. There are some similarities to Falcom’s underrated Zwei collection, particularly with the fight. Regardless, it’s fairly responsive, as Nayuta can use totally different combos with one-handed and two-handed weapons and unleash spells with Noi. There’s additionally a dodge roll and double-jump, and touchdown profitable hits builds up a sequence, granting advantages like elevated Power, Intelligence, Vital Hit Fee and extra.
It’s fairly easy at first, however over time, Noi will be taught new spells. Some have extra makes use of and might be fired off rapidly, like Ice Spear for inflicting the freeze standing or a Destructo Disc-like Fleur to penetrate a number of enemies. Others, just like the de facto cyclone, stay on the sphere and may function first rate single-target injury. Over time, you’ll be capable to equip a number of spells directly. Every has its use, particularly when contemplating a stage’s terrain, and so they’ll degree up over time. Noi additionally picks up new methods as you free her companions, which may smash in any other case impassable obstacles, traverse floating zip strains and way more.
“This isn’t a protracted sport if you happen to’re sticking to the story, so these further requests, collectibles to donate to the museum and missions do prolong playtime.”
The final format of phases additionally veers extra in direction of motion platforming, as you soar throughout gaps and navigate hazards like spikes, slippery ice or harsh winds. The trail on every continent culminates with the Temples, that are like dungeons. They’re damaged into two halves and have extra intensive mechanics, like triggering switches for platforms and gates or elevating and reducing the water degree. You’ll additionally encounter a number of the greater boss battles that Falcom is understood for, and so they’re simply as compelling as something from Ys, previous or present.
Every stage has distinctive missions and aims, like finishing it in a set period of time or discovering all three crystal chunks hidden inside (which normally entails going off the crushed path and finding some switches). Finishing these will grant stars, and by filling up Nayuta’s Swordsman Technique guide, he can be taught new methods, like a rising spinning slash, downward thrust or guard.
One of many cooler mechanics is manipulating the season of a stage. Not solely does the change numerous circumstances – new paths open up, greater degree enemies seem and so forth – however offers new enemies to combat. You solely need to revisit one stage to free a companion of Noi, which grants a brand new method for exploring the opposite continents however having new missions to finish, spells to unlock, and requests offers this some sturdy replay worth.
The angle can get a bit iffy generally, particularly while you journey down and may’t instantly see forward. Some sections may be a bit annoying, like combating enemies whereas concurrently hanging on for pricey life and coping with hazardous wins, however they’re few and much between.
This isn’t a protracted sport if you happen to’re sticking to the story, so these further requests, collectibles to donate to the museum and missions do prolong playtime. Nevertheless, there’s by no means the sensation of phases feeling too quick (outdoors of the preliminary few) or the story dragging on too lengthy.
“In a yr with blockbuster video games, The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails stunned me.”
Visually, The Legend of Nayuta is a good throwback. Its characters seem cel-shaded and boast unbelievable element, and although their expressions are restricted, seeing them react to numerous dialogue provides way more. The environments additionally look extremely sharp, whether or not you’re admiring the detailed water and results or the attractive texture high quality, which permits for seeing beforehand unknown particulars.
Like The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero and Trails to Azure, it skirts the road between remaster and remake, protecting the general aesthetic of the unique whereas enhancing it for contemporary consoles. Having all of it in flawless 60 frames per second can be nice, although I did play the PS4 model on PS5.
Maybe the one actual discernible draw back to the expertise is the music. It’s not terrible, and there are some distinct tunes, but it surely feels restricted. It’s maybe Falcom’s weakest work (and sure, that features Trails of Chilly Metal 3), but it surely signifies simply how excessive the bar is. General, the music is serviceable, with just a few stand-out tracks – nothing extra and nothing much less.
In a yr with blockbuster video games, The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails stunned me. I went in, understanding that it wouldn’t be a typical Trails expertise, and it received me over with its gameplay, presentation and intriguing plot. It’s not going to interrupt new floor so far as motion RPGs are involved, however that is an all-around good sport that delivers on just about each entrance.
This PS4 model of the sport was reviewed on PS5 by the latter’s backwards compatibility function.