I like the old art better, cause at least you can see their faces there.
I played about mid-way into the japanese version of the first Trails in the Sky game in 2006. It has really great music and the battles are fun and not too long, plus you can avoid them if you want. I played it with a barebones english faq, so I don't know much about the plot or the characters, but they seemed to be pretty good from what I could tell from the cut scenes. Even without knowing what the plot was about and what the characters were saying, I really liked it from what I played, and found it very fun.
I've been hoping to play this in English ever since then, and these games will definitely be a day one purchase for me. I just hope these games do well, since Legend of Heroes isn't really a big name in the US, and I really want to see the latest installment in the series, Zero no Kiseki, come out in the US too.
Legend of Heroes: Zero no Kiseki trailer (English subbed):http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vu2Udu0aFV8&feature=player_embedded