The gaming world is built on the backs of fantasy RPGs and we’d be leaving out one of the most criminally underrated contributors from the list if we didn’t get around to writing this Legend of Heroes: Trails Through Daybreak review. The game was originally released in Japan for the PS4 back in 2021, and other Asian countries also saw a release in 2023. Now, NIS America’s Legend of Heroes installment in English has brought back joy to many lives through its July 5 release, with a Nintendo Switch port gift-wrapped with it to boot. 

The Trails through Daybreak game is not the latest release in the arc—it already has a sequel—but the second part of the arc has not been localized for English speakers. Thankfully, Legend of Heroes Trails through Daybreak II will also get an English, Nintendo Switch release early in 2025. All things considered, it’s a great time to be a fan of the franchise.

Trails through Daybreak games

Image: Legend of Heroes: Trails Through Daybreak

Legends of Heroes: Trails Through Daybreak Review 

If you haven’t heard of the game series before, you should probably know that the saga doesn’t start here. The Trails Through Daybreak game comes fifth in the order of the “Trails” so if you want to have an authentic experience, you might be better off following the intended Legend of Heroes game order to recreate the arcs. The original The Legend of Heroes began with the Dragon Slayer series which was released in 1989, and then the Gagharv trilogy followed with varying degrees of commercial success. The Trails series began in 2004 with Trails in the Sky—although it was originally called Legends of Heroes VI.

The Legend of Heroes Games in Order

The story and characters introduced in older editions of the game come into relevance with every sequel, so if you’re interested in following the Legend of Heroes games in order, here’s how you can get started:

  • Trails in the Sky First Chapter
  • Trails in the Sky Second Chapter
  • Trails in the Sky the 3rd
  • Trails from Zero
  • Trails to Azure
  • Trails of Cold Steel
  • Trails of Cold Steel 2
  • Trails of Cold Steel 3
  • Trails of Cold Steel 4
  • Trails into Reverie
  • Trails through Daybreak
  • Trails through Daybreak 2

There are a couple of spinoffs that have arrived in between the series such as The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails, which doesn’t link back to the main series quite so well, and there’s also The Legend of Heroes: Trails at Sunrise, a gacha spin-off experience. If you’re not interested in tracking the whole series and going back to older graphics, then you can just start with the Trails Through Daybreak game considering its fresh start to many aspects of the storyline, but the lore will not flow as smoothly for you.

NIS America Legend of Heroes

The Trails Through Daybreak Story—A Case for Van Arkride

In Trails Through Daybreak, you begin your journey as Van Arkride, a brave Spriggan undaunted by the mysteries presented by the Republic of Calvard and its city of Edith. It has been a year since the ongoings of the Trail of Reverie, and a high-school student, Agnes Claudel, approaches Van to take on a quest for her. She needs him to locate her great-grandfather’s lost memento, an Oct-Genesis orbment. Sounds simple enough. 

Valiant as ever, you agree to take on the mission as Van, meeting an eclectic cast of companions as you progress through your journey. Some of these faces may even be familiar to returning players, such as Zin and Kilika from the Sky game and Rixia and Cao from the Crossbell arc. If you give the game a chance, you might even find some of them to be playable characters added into the mix. The Calvardian society that surrounds you has seen a burst of economic progress but despite its more urban setting, socially and politically, things don’t feel so stable.

Agnes and Van Journey Through the Calvardian Society  

As Agnes and Van continue their investigation, they’re forced to fight off monsters and talk to different sources, all while being pursued by the mafioso who also want to get their hands on the orbment. In all the chaos, Van is forced to merge with the powerful demon Grendel, which makes him stronger but adds an additional layer of tension to the mysteries that follow them. This marks the beginning of their journey and it only gets more complex from there on. 

If we had to base our Legend of Heroes: Trails Through Daybreak review solely on the storyline, it would receive a full five stars because of its ingenuity. The narrative is unique, the characters are complex, and you even have some moral dilemmas thrown in to pass the time. Despite the lengthy cutscenes, we don’t think you’ll find yourself getting bored.

Legend of Heroes Trails through daybreak II

The Combat Does More For Us Than Previous Legend of Heroes Games

Just like its predecessors, the Trails Through Daybreak game uses a turn-based combat system that can be fun to progress through even though you have to get through considerable amounts of the plot to find it—just like the Zenless Zone Zero release we covered recently. As a new addition to the combat in the series, you also have a new real-time action system that lets you slash through your enemies without ever having to enter full combat. Maxing out your strikes can help you stun your enemies, and get in an extra attack as you switch to a turn-based system. It is not an exact science and can get confusing sometimes, but you’ll be able to get through just fine.

NIS America’s Legend of Heroes series is not known for having the most challenging boss fights, nor does it require incredible strategy, but what it is good at is providing an engaging gaming experience regardless of the player’s skill levels. Shifting up your attack and moving across the battlefield to land a blow gets you some simple advantages, so if you really want to experience combat in Legend of Heroes, this particular game is a good one to start with. 

Getting through the dungeons is not too complicated and the new Shard system can help you reap greater rewards, so overall, we’re quite satisfied with the combat experience here.

legend of heroes games in order

Final Thoughts To Conclude Our Trails Through Daybreak Review

Trails Through Daybreak has a lot to offer in terms of story and action, but that’s not all. The characters are easy to love, the music helps create a fully immersive experience, and the more mature tone of the game suits the fact that its audience has also grown up with it. Van has to be one of the most enjoyable protagonists we’ve had across the series, and his many quirks make him more endearing. His love for his trunk and for sugary sweet delicacies adds some personality to the game, but his relationship with the other characters is what makes the experience so interesting.

Many of the characters are well and truly fleshed out in a way that gives the game a better connection with players who want to understand their favorites, but there are also some skippable elements for those who don’t care as passionately about the lore. You get to make some important decisions that may shift the narrative, so your own moral standings are put to the test. Maybe the moral grays are not as ambiguous as those in a game like WH40k, but it allows you to flirt with the boundaries of chaos quite wonderfully.

NIS America’s Legend of Heroes series is a cult classic for fans of the RPG genre for a reason—it has one of the most intricately created universes in the gaming world. Now that we know its sequel, Legend of Heroes: Trails Through Daybreak II, could arrive early next year, it is a great time to get started with the series and determine if the next game is one you want to wait for or ignore entirely. We’re hoping everything we’ve explored during our review of The Legend of Heroes: Trails Through Daybreak has provided you with enough incentive to give the game a chance because it is definitely an experience you will find easy to love.