After the previous abominable attempt to bring The Legend of Heroes series to the west, gamers may have been a bit skeptical upon initially hearing that the first game in its Sora no Kiseki trilogy was heading over. Fortunately, with XSEED at the helm of the localization effort, such skepticism has proved unwarranted. Originally released on the PC in Japan, but an excellent fit on the PSP, The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky is one of the RPG highlights of the year. While Trails in the Sky may not be full of graphical marvels or tense action, it manages to maintain a firm grip on our attention through the engaging world and excellent story. Even the five year wait from its initial Japanese PSP release has done little to temper the overwhelming charm of the game.
Following the journey of Estelle and Joshua, the excellent narrative of Trails in the Sky rightfully forms the game's main focus. Full of likeable and believable characters who are certain to stick in the memory, it is easy to be enraptured by the nation of Liberl and XSEED's brilliant localization. The interactions between cast members are wonderful and the characters are all given the chance to shine — a chance that is always grasped tightly with both hands. Ably supported by a battle system that matches the overall pace of the game plus a highly enjoyable and fitting soundtrack, Trails in the Sky is not just the PSP RPG of 2011, but one of the greater handheld experiences in a long while. With an ending that wraps up the game superbly yet provides a mouth-watering tie-in to the second chapter, we can only hope that we won't be waiting too long to continue the legend.
Both of our runner ups for best PSP RPG helped us fulfill certain dreams. For Dissidia 012, we were once again able to go head to head with our favorite Final Fantasy characters, just in case the original Dissidia didn't offer enough. With Persona 2: Innocent Sin we were finally able to play the missing first half of the Persona 2 series that went unreleased in North America so long ago. These two games combined with Trails in the Sky made the PSP a great system for RPG dreamers this year.
by Alex Fuller and Michael Cunningham