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The Legend of Heroes: How to Get Started With This Popular RPG Series

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There is nothing quite like finding a series you can really sink your teeth into, whether you’re talking about books, TV, movies, or even video games. If you really enjoy a given series, it’s nice knowing that even when you finish the current installment, there’s much more to come.

This isn’t all that common in games, especially RPGs. Yes, you have long-running series like Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and the Elder Scrolls games, but they’re not very interconnected. If you’re looking for something more interwoven, look no further than The Legend of Heroes.

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A Tale of Two Series… and More

If you’ve heard of this series, you’ve probably heard of at least one of two sub-series: The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky or The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel. These are the two most current sub-series, and they’re the most popular, but they’re far from the beginning of the series.

The Legend of Heroes dates back to the late 1980s and a game called Dragon Slayer: The Legend of Heroes. This was actually the sixth game in the Dragon Slayer series, but the first in The Legend of Heroes series. The series didn’t gain much popularity in the west.

DragonSlayer : Legend of Heroes (TURBOGRAFX CD) Part 1

From here another sub-series spawned: the Gagharv trilogy. This is a fairly confusing point in the history, as while some of the games were released in the west, they were released out of order and differently numbered. It was the series after this that begun to make The Legend of Heroes a more recognizable name outside of Japan.

Trails in the Sky

The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky is a series of three games, and you’ll really want to play them in order. If you start with the second or third game without playing the games before them, you’ll be hopelessly lost and won’t get most of the story.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky trailer

The look and feel of these games is similar to Grandia and other RPGs for the original PlayStation. While they use a 3D engine, the overall look is reminiscent of 2D games and they generally have a classic RPG feel.

Until 2017, only the first two games in the series were available outside of Japan. We’ll get to how you can find them and play them a little later.

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Trails of Cold Steel

While The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky is what kicked off the series’ popularity in North America, it was the followup that made an even bigger splash. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel is a longer series, with four installments. The games themselves are long as well, so expect to sink hundreds of hours if you want to see it all the way through.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel - PS4 Launch Trailer

Unlike Trails in the Sky, the Trails of Cold Steel games more closely resemble modern RPGs, with a 3D engine and what you’d generally consider (relatively) modern graphics. The first game in the series follow a class at a military academy, while the rest of the series follows the characters forward from there.

Don’t expect the level of polish or bombast you’d find in a FInal Fantasy sequel. These games take their time, and you’ll frequently hit a major plot point, only to spend the next few hours in the game doing something entirely unrelated. That said, the series has a way of hooking you, especially if you make it past the first few hours.

Where to Get Them

While the Nintendo Switch might be the portable console du jour, if you’re still rocking a PlayStation Vita, you’re in luck. You’ll find the first two The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel games available on the portable, but that’s not all. The PSP versions of the first two The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky games are available on the Vita as well.

If you prefer your games on a TV, all of the installments in The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel games are available on the PlayStation 4. The first two games in the series are remastered versions of the Vita games, while the third and fourth installments debuted on the PS4. For Switch owners, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III and the upcoming forth installment will be available on the console, but not the earlier games.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III - Launch Trailer | PS4

If you want to gather all of the games available in the west on one platform, the PC is your best bet. The entirety of the Trails in the Sky and Trails of Cold Steel series are either available or will be available on Steam and GOG.

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Looking for More RPGs?

If The Legend of Hereos doesn’t seem to be the type of series you’re looking for, don’t worry. You can still find enough RPGs that you could play them for the rest of your days and probably never run out of new things to see.

For Nintendo Switch fans, take a look at our list of awesome RPGs for the Switch. Prefer your games with a bit more retro flair? Take a look at our roundup of PlayStation 2 RPGs you should play if you haven’t already.

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