At long last, The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie is available for Western audiences, serving as a brilliant conclusion to this arc of the series, with a tense and twisting story with drips and teasing what has yet to come next. But I want to clarify: do not play Reverie as your first entry into the series and do not play Reverie if you haven’t completed the Cold Steel and Crossbell games.
Acting as a bridge between what has come before and the next arc to come, Trails into Reverie opens up shortly after the conclusion of Trails of Cold Steel 4 and the conclusion of the Rivalry in Crossbell. Unfortunately, it seems our dear city can’t catch a break and we immediately rejoin our beloved Special Support Section from previous games as they mop up a small contingent of holdouts from the events of the Great Twilight. In typical Trails fashion, it doesn’t take long before events quickly escalate into a threat that will require the efforts of bracers, Class VII, the SSS, and others to quell.
Returning players may be surprised by the change in pacing this time around. Due to the sheer number of characters present in Reverie, the story itself has been split up, allowing you to witness the events from Rean, Lloyd, and the mysterious C (no, not that one), each of whom will have to contend with challenges and dangers all their own. Progress will stall throughout the game, requiring you to swap to one of the other three’s stories, a feature that can be done almost at any time and by simply entering a menu and selecting them. In the scheme of things, this approach worked well enough, and I understand the need for it, but I’d be lying if it didn’t occasionally irk me to leave a plotline on a small plot hook.
It was a joy to reunite with so many familiar faces, especially the SSS team, having finally witnessed the conclusion of the Crossbell arc earlier this year with the release of Trails to Azure. Unlike the Crossbell games, Reverie has received a full English dub with most of the cast returning to reprise their roles from Cold Steel 4! It was great to hear characters like Wazy finally get the localized dub treatment and hear old favorites return.
My favorite new aspect of Reverie is the re-introduction of the Reverie Corridor, a special area that exists outside of reality and continues to serve as a training and preparation area for our heroes. This place may be a name that will sound familiar to Cold Steel players, but this time around, this strange place will serve a much greater purpose and prove to be instrumental in tackling the dangers the heroes all face and also in unraveling Zemurian mysteries and left open plot holes. In this magical area, you will eventually gain the ability to create your dream team of fighters from all three storylines to tackle the randomly generated dungeon and monstrous foes found within. As someone who finds the act of mindless grinding to be therapeutic and cathartic, the Reverie Corridor was where I spent many long hours during my playthrough rushing through dungeon floors, leveling up, and devising team strategies to take with me back when I picked the story back up.
When you aren’t tackling foes in the randomly generated dungeons, contained within the Reverie Corridor are various amenities like your typical weapon, armor, and orbment shops and places to partake in the returning minigames. Additional aspects will be unlocked over the course of the game, which will further reveal lore and interesting elements of the conflict going on within Trails into Reverie, including letting your playthrough moments from different groups of characters’ perspectives, further elaborating on events taking place both in Reveries and prior. Many of these unlock via a gacha system, using special orbs you will earn through defeating strong enemies and bosses in the corridor dungeons. This gacha system is also the method that will allow you to recruit powerful NPCs from the main story, allowing you to include them as party members while exploring the corridor. While some scoff at gacha systems in games, here in Reverie, it was never pervasive or intrusive enough to become off-putting for me, and worst case, I could always save before redeeming one of the orbs and trying again if I didn’t get something I was hoping for.
For as fun as it was to put together my group of favorite characters, managing and outfitting the 70+ characters you eventually are juggling can be an overwhelming (and expensive) prospect. Admittedly, Reverie does attempt to help reduce this pressure by rather frequent drops of experience-granting items while in the corridor, but there is still gear, orbments, and slots to consider on every single character too. At the end of the day, you really only need to make sure you have a good 10-15 main characters kitted out, which is far more manageable but can still be a daunting task, to tackle the challenges you are faced with; any more are just a nice safety net.
From a gameplay standpoint, Reverie feels nearly identical to Cold Steel 3 and 4, with Master Quartz, orbments, orders, and rush attacks all making their return. The main new combat addition is the United Front ability. While your party contains reserve units, you will be able to call them in to join with your active party to perform either a powerful magical spell, physical group attack, or massively heal and restore your active party. These special attacks, powered simply by a bar that fills by performing attacks in combat,, tend to be wasted during the standard fights you will encounter but can prove incredibly beneficial and pivotal to swinging the tide back in your favor during particularly brutal boss fights. If you have played Trails of Cold Steel 3 and 4, you will feel right at home jumping into Reverie.
There are a lot of great plot twists and intriguing reveals in Trails into Reverie, and when combined with the endlessly explorable and grindable Reverie Corridor, this latest entry of this historic series ended up ranking pretty high on my favorite entries list. As credits rolled and we bid farewell to Erebonia and Crossbell, knowing that this would be my last time with many of these characters, it was a bittersweet experience. Even though new threads and mysteries teasing the next arc, bidding a fond farewell to so many favorite characters got me choked up more than once. And in my heart, I know we will meet them again, but for now, my eyes are turned forward and to the east, towards Calvard and the trails ahead.
This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 5 using a review code provided by the publisher.