The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie


Review by · June 30, 2023

The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie is a challenging game to review, but not because it’s terrible. Far from it! But given how deeply established the lore of The Legend of Heroes: Trails series is and the built-in fanbase the game already has, it’s challenging to pin down my thoughts succinctly. Plus, to avoid spoilers, there are many late-game plot reveals I can’t discuss. Trails into Reverie serves as an excellent epilogue to both the Crossbell duology of Trails from Zero and Trails to Azure, as well as for the four Trails of Cold Steel games that precede it, all while simultaneously being an excellent prelude to adventures yet to be seen. In that regard, this game is a resounding success!

Though I’m an unapologetic Trails fan, I’m the first to admit that if you’ve yet to enjoy a Trails game, Reverie won’t be the title to change your mind. Those familiar with the series’ status quo know what to expect here, for better or worse. I know the games sometimes rely on frustrating and occasionally tedious tropes, but I have long appreciated the extensive world-building and likable characters that make up the series’ core. Throw in a turn-based combat system that can be profoundly satisfying and surprisingly strategic alongside atmospheric music, and naturally, I’m hooked! This title isn’t The Legend of Heroes: Trails game I’d recommend newcomers start with, proving once again Trails’ most significant strength and biggest weakness in equal measure: its impressively interconnected storylines make for a daunting gameplay experience. Since the game is an epilogue to the previously established Crossbell and Erebonia story arcs, familiarity with the games that came before will enhance your enjoyment of Trails into Reverie.

Rean and company share a touching moment in The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie.
The cast is enormous and includes over forty party members.

Speaking of story, I cannot dive into the narrative without spoiling the ending events from Cold Steel IVTrails into Reverie starts shortly after the events of the Great Twilight in Trails of Cold Steel IV, as peace slowly begins returning to the battered continent of Zemuria. The city of Crossbell is finally preparing to gain recognized independence after much hardship and imperial occupation. Lloyd, the main character of Trails from Zero and Trails to Azure, alongside his comrades in the Special Support Section of the city’s police department, is as happy over this turn of events as the rest of the populace. However, just as the historic event gets underway, Crossbell is attacked and occupied by a terrorist group called the Ebon Defense Force, led by Rufus Albarea (despite the Ironblood getting locked in jail after the events of Cold Steel IV). Rufus declares himself supreme leader, proclaiming his desire to create a united Zemurian continent with Crossbell at its center as the SSS and their allies are scattered in the ensuing chaos.

Around the same time, Trails of Cold Steel protagonist Rean and his students in the new Class VII receive their high-stakes mission for the Erebonian Empire. The recently married royal couple Prince Olivert and Scherazard have gone missing from their honeymoon. A mysterious individual named C, the former moniker of leader of the Imperial Liberation Front, claims responsibility while promising further action. Rean, along with Class VII members and their allies, begins investigating.

Meanwhile, two young mercenaries named Swin and Nadia attempt to make a delivery to C from famed doll maker Joerg Rosenberg. The trio opens the mysterious case, discovering a living sentient doll named Lapis who has been entrusted to C for reasons even she doesn’t know. The masked C decides to help Lapis recover her lost memories while investigating the events surrounding Erebonia and Crossbell, hiring Swin and Nadia to aid them in their journey.

A screenshot of the Trails to Walk menu in The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie.
Trails to Walk is the character route menu.

Those plot summaries only scratch the surface of Trails into Reverie‘s storyline. In true Trails fashion, the narrative starts slow, subsequently building upon itself as it progresses. You play as Lloyd, Rean, or the enigmatic C at various points throughout the game as their differing storylines ultimately converge. You choose which character’s route you want to play through using a menu called Trails to Walk, and for the most part, you can switch freely between any character route you see fit. You’ll advance in one route until you reach a cutoff point requiring you to advance further in one or both of the other routes before you can unlock further story segments.

For the most part, Reverie‘s combat experience is in the same vein as Trails of Cold Steel IV. Your party’s goal in combat is to “break” an enemy so you can deal even more damage. Orbment slots are now upgraded to a higher level, allowing you to equip even more powerful Quartz to give you an edge in fights. Crafts, the special abilities unique to each character, level up along with the characters, as do the potent S-Crafts at their disposal. You move characters within the fighting range of an enemy to deal damage, and Brave Orders give your party a stat boost, provided you’ve got the points for them.

Lloyd's party deals a decisive blow using the United Front mechanic in The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie.
The United Front is a powerful new battle tool at your disposal.

The most significant new addition to combat is the United Front feature. When you have five or more characters in your active battle party (including non-combatant tag-alongs) and enough Brave Points, you can unleash a powerful united attack against your foes. This powerful ability can deal physical or magical damage or benefit your heroes with a massive group heal. United Fronts can be devastating moves to unleash in battle, significantly if you strengthen them in the True Reverie Corridor.

The True Reverie Corridor is a dungeon that exists outside space and time where all character parties can meet up and pool their resources. The dungeon features strata levels you must progress through to gain levels and resources, including sealing stones with various effects. Blue sealing stones open up short story vignettes featuring different characters. Gold sealing stones grant access to special characters you can add to your True Reverie Corridor party through a gacha mechanic. Red sealing stones unlock mini-games that vary in quality, while silver ones allow you to acquire rare materials and equipment. You also unlock missions with objectives to complete in or outside battle, such as opening every treasure chest. These actions award you the True Reverie Corridor currency Phantasmal Shards, which you can trade in for a wide variety of bonuses like increasing overall Brave Points, gaining extra support and tag-along character slots, or strengthening United Fronts. By exploring the True Reverie Corridor, you can create truly powerful builds whenever a new stratum opens up due to high-level equipment and stat boosting.

A battle screenshot from The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie.
C’s group makes for a formidable team.

The True Reverie Corridor highlights my two most extensive critiques of Trails into Reverie: the massive number of characters and pacing. There are over forty characters in the party roster to choose from, and it is nigh impossible to utilize them all. I narrowed down my True Reverie Corridor combat team to some of my faves in the cast: Swin, Elliot, Wazy, Tita, Crow, Lechter, Tio, and Laura. Then, I used experience-gaining items to keep other characters such as C, Rean, Lloyd, Lapis, Nadia, and Estelle close to their levels so I’d have a pool of higher-level characters to pick from during the story battles along the various character routes. Even with that strategy, I still sometimes had under-leveled characters forced into the party. Several cast members feel under-utilized unless the game forces them into combat, such as when activating Spire battles in the True Reverie Corridor, where a limited pool of characters outside your main combat party have to fight instead. This character bloat is even more prevalent with characters unlocked from gold sealing stones, as you can only use them in the True Reverie Corridor. I eventually unlocked Angelica, Toval, and Aurelia. Still, I only used their Brave Orders in combat as tag-alongs despite being powerhouse fighters because you cannot use any of them in a party outside of the True Reverie Corridor. Because of the randomness inherent in acquiring these extra characters, you also miss fun dialogue between them and other characters in the True Reverie Corridor if you don’t get them.

Regarding the story’s pacing, it starts slow in each of the three character routes. Whenever things drastically pick up in one of the routes, that route gets locked for a given amount of time, throwing you out of the story’s immersion. Not all routes are created equal, either. I adore C’s route and like the characters of Lapis, Swin, and Nadia. They have the benefit of their roles remaining constant throughout the route, as opposed to the many comings and goings of the characters in Lloyd’s and Rean’s. Lloyd’s route focusing on Crossbell’s struggles is also heartfelt, while Rean’s takes the longest to develop into a more exciting tale. Jumping between the routes causes tonal whiplash, and taking the time to explore the True Reverie Corridor whenever it opens up further serves to break the story’s immersion.

In true Trails fashion, the pacing and plot ultimately pick up, especially once the differing routes’ connecting threads tangle. I feel like Trails of Cold Steel IV’s narrative dragged on a lot, but I’m pleasantly surprised at how everything comes together by the end of Reverie. The resolution of story points, even those of minor NPCs, is a true delight! I won’t say who C’s true identity is for spoiler reasons, but I’m surprised by how much I came to appreciate his character. I genuinely love the found family dynamic between him, Lapis, Swin, and Nadia. Thanks to this game alone, they quickly became some of my favorite Trails characters! The ending to the main story is an excellent sendoff to both the Crossbell and Erebonia arcs, making me all the more curious about what awaits in the Republic of Calvard.

Wazy, Lloyd, and Noel having a conversation in The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie.
Wazy is a standout character amongst a cast full of many!

Graphically, Trails into Reverie is easily one of the better-looking Trails games. However, it still suffers from graphical hiccups, such as hair disappearing into shoulders, groups of NPCs with the same face, and some distracting graphical stuttering in story cinemas. While it looks better than past Trails titles, Reverie still looks dated compared to other series. Like in the Cold Steel games, there’s female character fan service, especially in the 3D character models. It creates a visual discrepancy with how the characters appear in their 2D art since the 3D renders tend to accentuate specific “assets” of certain characters. The music is phenomenal, especially the later boss battle and dungeon themes like “Steel Fortress.” The English voice acting might not always wow everyone, but it admirably gets the job done. However, like the Cold Steel games, Reverie features limited and sporadic voice acting. Having scenes where voice acting jumps between on and off is jarring. I only noticed minimal grammatical or text box errors, but given the sheer size of the script, that’s pretty impressive! The PS4 version does have slightly longer loading times, though, which sometimes affects the immersion of story cinemas.

Occasionally, this game is a significant time sink. Trails into Reverie is a long game, especially if you want to experience everything it offers! Most of the True Reverie Corridor doesn’t even open until you beat the game’s main story, which means even more playing time if you don’t want to miss out on boss challenges or optional episodic content. Some mini-games, such as the card game Vantage Masters, are involved enough that you could devote hours to them alone! In terms of accessibility, the game provides six different difficulty modes. It provides story summaries for the past Crossbell and Erebonian games and the in-game 3 & 9 novel, which is essential for Swin and Nadia’s plotline. Regarding extras, the game has a gallery with artwork and movies and a model mode.

Despite its pacing flaws and character bloat, The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie is an excellent addition to the Trails series lineup. After nearly burning myself out on Trails of Cold Steel IV, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but Trails into Reverie sparked my fondness for the series all over again. Fans of the previous two story arcs will want to see the resolutions at play here, left feeling hopeful about the future of the series.


Excellent epilogue to two compelling The Legend of Heroes: Trails story arcs, entertaining battle system, wealth of content to uncover, amazing music.


Pacing can interrupt story immersion, some aspects of the True Reverie Corridor aren't as memorable or engaging as others, suffers from character bloat, sporadic voice acting in story scenes.

Bottom Line

The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie is a solid addition to the series, serving as an excellent epilogue to the Crossbell and Erebonian arcs.

Overall Score 87
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Audra Bowling

Audra Bowling

Audra Bowling is a reviewer for RPGFan. She is a lover of RPGs, Visual Novels, and Fighting Games. Once she gets onto a subject she truly feels strongly about, like her favorite games, she can ramble on and on endlessly. Coffee helps keep her world going round.