Trails In The Sky SC is the second chapter in the Sky trilogy. It was developed by Nihon Falcom in 2006 for PC and then in 2007 for PSP. It was only available in Japan until 2015, when it launched in the west under the publisher XSEED Games.
Trails In The Sky SC picks up right where the first chapter left off. Joshua has gone missing and Estelle is on the hunt for him. She fails at locating him. Two months pass and Estelle has been training at a secret bracer facility in the Leman state. But eventually she finds her way back to Liberl and before she knows it, she is once again tossed back into a power struggle for power of the country, and so much more.
The story starts off a bit faster than its predecessor and before long, things are getting hectic and you’re running around excited that it picks up the pace immediately. But then the pacing really dips shortly after. The game takes its time introducing you to the criminal society known as Ourobouros. You hear about them in the first game, but this entry really focuses on them and their plans for the region of Liberl. You meet a bunch of the members of the society, or “Enforcers” as they’re known as, during each section of the game. But getting to each reveal is a slow paced walk through a tar pit. Especially if you’re doing every side quest in the game, as I did. But just like the last game, this is the only way to truly make money, so you’re not left with much choice in the end but to do the side quests.
The story really ramped up for the last 4 acts. It was a constant flurry of intense situations that really kept me on my seat. The game was definitely much longer than I expected though and definitely felt like it dragged on a few times. The pacing was a lot slower than its predecessor. But there was also a lot going on. You learn more about each and every character, which made me love them even more. Whether it was learning more about Schera and her time before she became a bracer, or about Zin and how he’s out for revenge for his former master. But my favourite reveal of all is Olivier’s, because it’s so crazy and makes for a wonderful scene. Even by the end though I cared about most of the Enforcers that you go toe to toe with. I do wish we learned more about the new character Father Kevin. But his time will come.
By the time the end rolled around, I was filled with a bunch of different emotions. Happy that it was finally over after my whopping 84 hours. Happy about the character’s journey. Sad that it was over because I truly loved the characters. Excited for the next entry. I truly got so heavily invested, even if the pacing was super slow to me. It’s really hard to get such a large game perfect though. With the plethora of side quests inside of it. When you start the game, you get to choose to import a save from the first entry, if you’ve beaten it. It carried over my levels for each character, but I’m not sure what else honestly. But as I completed side quests, some being deep little stories, a lot of the characters involved were familiar, and even talked about how I helped them before. This was a fun little touch. I’m not sure if it’s because of carrying over my saves though, or if it’s just the general dialogue. But I loved it. There was just a series of quests that started off fun, and just got tedious by the end. These were the riddle quests. There’s so many. Every time, a valuable item was stolen, and you’d have to read a riddle, figure out the place it speaks of, then do it five more times just to beat the quest. By the time I was doing the quest type for the fourth time, I was immediately pulling up a guide. Plus there was a fishing side quest, where I had to go and look up how to actually fish, because the game doesn’t explain it well at all!
The gameplay is more or less the same in this entry, just with a few added things or tweaks. The combat is turn based gameplay, once you decide to initiate combat by running into the enemies. The new big combat addition was the ability to chain together attacks. So you use some of each character’s special bars if they’re included in the chain, to all attack an enemy at once. The characters that take their turn near the end of the chain, do more damage to whatever you’re attacking. This seemed like it would be a wonderful addition at first, but after trying to use it here and there for the first few hours, I never touched it again. Instead I’d just save up the points for each character’s super attacks so I could deal out massive damage, whether to a single target or multiple. Plus when a character is added to the attack chain, it’s counted as a move for them, so they’d end up at the back of the line for their actions, whether they were up next or not.
The other change is the way the Quartz system works. In the first one, you slowly use the shards, known as sepith, to unlock spots to place more Quartz so that you can get more MP and therefore get the ability to have more spells. But in this, all the slots are immediately unlocked. So if you wanted to, you could immediately grind to fill up all the spots and start off with a plethora of magic spells. As you progress through the game, you then get to upgrade the slots, which then let you use level 2 magic Quartz. These usually have a special effect tied to them, and give you more points to healing magic, than a regular healing one does.
Just as the first game though, this system let me build the character the ways I wanted. Like making Zin a tank who could talk a ton of physical and magic damage. The side effect is that he couldn’t do much damage. But I also loaded him up with healing magic, so when the time arose, he could heal himself. Then there’s Joshua for example, and all around powerhouse. At first he was a great physical fighter. But by the end of the game, he was sitting in the back, shooting magic, because with all of his gear and stats buffs from the Quartz he had on, he did even more magic damage than physical. It was fun building him this way. Plus if it came down to it, he could handle close range. It was so fun to experiment with everyone to get them exactly how I wanted! Except for Estelle. I couldn’t find the proper way for her, so she was the team healer. But every team needs a main healer!
In battle, the game gives you a plethora of characters to choose from. Though you can only take 4 into battle, the game does a good job at having you use everyone for a little bit so you get used to them. Eventually though, there were a few characters I had to use that I never used when given a choice. Like Tita. So when I was forced to use her, she was 20 levels lower than anyone else. I thought it would cause a lot of issues. But the game sets the experience scaling to be quite high, so within a matter of battles, she was only 5 levels behind everyone and could suddenly deal damage in battle. It was a nice surprise, when I thought I’d have to grind like crazy, or leave her dead in battle for hours on end.
- Deep Amazing Story
- Builds On Already Lovable Characters
- Side Quest Stories Were Fun
- Pacing Was Very Slow If Doing Everything
- The Chain System Felt Useless
- Too Many Riddle Based Quests!
The second entry in the Sky trilogy was exhilarating and exciting and I had so many feelings by the end of it. It builds on characters I already love and I enjoyed that side quests felt like a continuation to some stories. It’s just a shame that the pacing was slow while I was doing everything, a series of quests was repeated too much, and the new combat addition felt pointless. I highly recommend the game, but be prepared for a very very slow burn if doing everything!
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