Whereabouts of Light: a Trails in the Sky Review/Retrospective

In 2014/2015 I was a college sophomore. I had just returned home, transferring from a school away from home to one I could drive to from my family house. I spent my freshman year at a school I knew I would leave before even going. In my first semester I quit the soccer team I had gone to play on, got broken up with, and generally spiraled. I was depressed before I left and was a wreck upon returning. I got through the year and spent my summer not taking the summer classes I was signed up for and hiding it from everyone. I had a full breakdown and revealed that I had already applied to transfer to the local university during my second semester away. I was then in the throes of adjusting to my new reality and school throughout my sophomore year. I tell this all not to garner sympathy, but to give the background of where I was and who I was when I played this game for the first time. I am a big believer in the idea that sometimes you get the right experience you need at just the right time and pop culture is no exception. You watch the right movie or show, you read the right book, you play the right game. These experiences have a way of etching themselves into us in ways they wouldn’t otherwise. This game shot me through the soul right when I needed exactly what it provides. It would be impossible for me to untangle the personal meaning the game and series has for me. I am not going to even try. The above was my starting point when this game with its incredible characters and writing reached me in a way few things ever have.

Well, with that out of the way, hi! I’m known here as 3rdstringhero and I will be writing this series of articles on the Trails series of jrpgs in a loose review and retrospective style. I have no actual qualifications for doing this other than that I want to and The Avocado inexplicably will let me. You can certainly trust my knowledge of the series as all told I have over a thousand hours across multiple playthroughs of each game in the series. These might get a little long to be honest as I tend to write with 10 words when 3 would suffice. I previously wrote a guide to competitive pokemon breeding and training here as well. I spent a lot of time thinking about what format these would take. For now, I am going to write an introduction, gameplay, and discussion section for each game and then have more random spoiler thoughts behind spoiler tags. I may put more stupid/fun ideas I have behind them as well. My goal is to somehow write about this series without spoiling it for potential new players. I might mention broad strokes or the bigger points that are required for set up, but I won’t talk about specific moment to moment spoilers except in the section at the end behind spoiler tags. Without further ado, let’s begin and thank you in advance for indulging me. This was a lot of work but also a lot of fun.

The Trails series, known in Japan as the Kiseki series, is a long running series of jrpgs developed by Nihon Falcom that is technically itself a spinoff of an even older series of games. However, for simplicity, I am not going to be discussing those at all because starting with Trails in the Sky FC they started a brand new universe unrelated to any of the previous games. They did however confusingly keep the full title The Legend of Heroes VI: Trails in the Sky. Later it would be shortened to simply Trails in the Sky FC (for First Chapter). The “Trails” series is now itself made up of 3 (and more coming) sub series or arcs within the larger Trails storyline and narrative. These arcs all take place within the same universe on the same continent and are essentially sequels to each other but taking place in a different location with a different core cast. There is an overarching narrative shared between the 10 (at the time of this writing) games. I will be starting at the beginning with the first game in the Trails series and the first game of the Sky or Liberl arc. For simplicity I will mostly shorten the title to Sky FC or simply Sky throughout and will just add the subtitles for the sequels in each arc.

The home menu actually adjusts its image based on where you are in the game. All screenshots used in this piece were captured myself on my own copy of the game.

Trails in the Sky FC is a 2004 jrpg that was originally released for Windows in Japan. In 2006 it was ported to the PSP. In 2011 it finally made its way to the west with a localization by Xseed for Steam. The game tells the story of Estelle Bright, a bright and sunny (I get it!) 16 year old girl in the small country of Liberl that is nestled in the South of the continent of Zemuria, where the entire series takes place. Joining Estelle is her adopted brother Joshua who is the same age but more the calm and collected type. The two of them will be the set party members for the entirety of the game. They live with their father, Cassius Bright, a man of much respect and renown the reasons for which you, and Estelle for that matter, will learn as you play. When we join them, the pair are on their way to finish training to join the Bracer Guild, an organization dedicated to protecting and fulfilling requests for citizens across the continent and therefore a justification to do any manner of sidequests!

After some simple tutorials led by family friend, senior Bracer, and of course eventual party member, Scherazard, the prologue sets the core loop of the game. Bracers fulfill requests big and small that require both brains and brawn. These tasks are typical jrpg fare, monster exterminations, finding items, helping people etc. These don’t sound that exciting, but it is a genuine strength of the series that even the smallest sidequests contain characters and world building that is worth seeing. In my personal opinion, Sky does not overload you at any point. The sidequests will be on a time limit which encourages a loop of doing a few sidequests and then moving on to the next main story segment. There are also hidden, missable quests that can only be found by talking to the right people at the right times. These should pretty much be done immediately if they are found and to be honest in Sky there is quite a limited number of them. They are quite easy to miss however so be wary. Even in the most basic of sidequest the dialogue is so sharply written that it rarely feels like you are wasting your time once you have bought in. Couple that with a relatively well reserved number of quests for a jrpg and you get a solidly paced adventure rife with character.

Like most jrpgs, the Trails games encourage talking to NPCs often. I actually find these conversations rewarding which is not always the case. The world building in these games is genuinely impeccable, some of the best I have ever seen and I don’t say that lightly. You can get interesting tidbits about the world, country, region, or characters by talking to people and the world feels lived in in a way few games can compete with. This is only made more rewarding over time as future games add to the information you have or take place in other locations and countries that you have heard about. I’m getting ahead of myself but as an example, the Sky games build an expectation of what the Erebonian Empire is like, and the Cold Steel games that are set there later provide both proof and refutation of the perspectives and stereotypes that the people of Liberl offer. Every character, family, town, region, and country feels like its own entity. A remarkable feat for a nearly 20 year old game made by an indie sized studio. The sheer size of these games’ scripts is massive, and yet only rarely do you feel like you are simply getting exposition (this will get a bit worse in later games in my opinion). This is the first thing any fan will point to and is the most often mentioned strength of the series.

Wandering around the regions of Liberl and talking to the residents is a great way to get a feel for the country and cities.

Each of Sky’s chapters essentially consist of doing sidequests, doing main story events/quests, and then fulfilling the big mission of the region as Estelle and Joshua travel around the country from region to region, learning to be better Bracers and investigating whatever event has occurred. Obviously throughout you are talking to other characters and beginning to see a larger picture unfold that I will not spoil. Estelle and Joshua are a delight and seeing them interact is a lot of fun. In an interesting decision, party members actually come and go in Sky FC. Typically, each chapter will introduce one or two and then you will be working with them for that chapter but they will not continue traveling with you. Estelle and Joshua have their journey, but the other characters have their obligations as well. Because of this you can actually feel undermanned compared to other jrpgs as the party size is technically 4 but much of the game will be played with 3 or with only Estelle and Joshua at your disposal.

Until the very end of the game you do not have access to the entire cast at once. While this works from a story standpoint, it can be annoying from a gameplay one. You simply may not have access to a character with strong healing abilities or an offensive powerhouse for certain sections. You might learn how you want to set up a character to play only for them to be ripped away from you as the chapter ends. I have played Sky FC 4 times at the time of this writing and at this point know exactly what I’m doing with each character. Coming into the game without that familiarity and knowledge could prove to make the rotating party a gameplay challenge rather than a story feature.

Which brings me to…

Gameplay

In Trails in the Sky the player controls characters from a top down perspective. In the “overworld” there are town maps which consist of the towns and villages you will spend time in, and field maps which are the roads and any locations enemies can appear or roam around. The towns consist of the standard fare of weapons shops, inns, orbment factories that are used for the magic system, and a local Bracer guild for starting and reporting quests. Additionally each town or village might also have their own unique features or buildings. There are also a lot of NPCs whose dialogue changes as you move forward through the game. If you pay enough attention you can even follow along with some of the NPC’s mini stories as well.

When controlling your characters on the field maps you can initiate battles by running into enemies. If you run into their back you will start with an advantage (usually going first or getting 2 turns). However, enemies can also run into you from behind, granting them an advantage state which can be quite dangerous if you are low on health. Because all the party members are present in the field maps you can actually get caught on accident as the 4th member of the party lags considerably behind the front but can still be attacked or hit by any field effects (these are quite rare).

The “field map” in this case a standard road. Note Estelle facing the monster while the other party members trail behind. The monsters can pretty aggressively chase you and if they hit you or a party member with their back turned can prove quite bothersome.

Battles in Trails are turn based and in Sky take place on a simple grid. Turn order is determined by the AT Bar which you can track on the side of the screen. AT bonuses will show up next to the bar giving additional effects to actions taken during those turns. For example, if you see a heart next to one of your characters that means they will heal at the start of their turn. Making proper use of some of these turns, especially criticals, will be key to properly playing. There will also be some ways to manipulate the turn order which can be vital when you need to take away a bonus from an enemy such as stealing a critical or preventing a boss from getting a big heal and undoing all of your work.

In combat each character has a few options at their disposal. Move, Attack, Arts, Crafts, Items, and S-Crafts. Movement is self explanatory and will actually rarely be used as the attack command automatically moves the character as well. It can still be useful if you need to get positioning correct and also has the least delay before your turn will come up again. Attacking consists of every characters basic attack. Simple and surprisingly effective on the stronger characters. Items means using items, very complex I know.

The battle system. Note the AT Bar and its bonuses on the left and the options on the right. Plus keep a careful eye on those red orbs above the character information. The “A” on the enemy in the bar signifies that it is casting an art, which takes time.

The real bread and butter of Trails comes with the other options, Arts and Crafts (love that naming convention). Crafts are each characters’ unique abilities. There are a wide range of effects they can have but they all require a resource called CP to use. CP is built up by dealing and receiving damage and can then be spent on craft abilities. Every character has their own list of crafts they learn as they level up and these are part of what will make each character unique to play. The physical oriented characters will get a lot of use of their abilities that hit harder or have more effects than their standard attack. At 100 CP characters can use their S-Crafts, basically a super move. At 200 CP it will be more powerful but it will always use all of a characters’ CP and there is only the bonus power at 200. So weigh building up more CP with how much you need to use crafts and S-Crafts. What makes these really unique is that they can be activated as an S-Break to interrupt the turn order and unleash the attack immediately at any point. This makes activating them to steal a critical or heal AT bonus very crucial. Or saving them until the end to unleash all at once to finish off a difficult fight.

Estelle bringing the pain with an S-Craft.

Settle in if you weren’t before because now we are going to discuss Arts. Arts are the magic system of Trails. They take multiple turns to cast and cost EP to use. Arts allow characters to hit the elemental weaknesses of enemies and many also have wide ranges to serve as effective crowd control. There are of course Arts that serve as buffs or debuffs as well. By the end of the game some of the more magic based characters might only be casting Arts. Unlike Crafts, Arts are not tied to specific characters. Rather, every character can technically learn every Art. The Arts that a character can use are tied to their orbment and orbment lines. I’m going to do the rest in bullet points.

  • Each character has an orbment that has a particular layout of lines.
  • These lines contain slots.
  • Each of these slots can have “quartz” placed into them (once they have been opened at an Orbment Factory).
  • The quartz have a “sepith value” which are basically tied to an element.
  • The total sepith value of all installed quartz in a line determine with spells are usable.
  • Finally most characters have slots that can only install a particular element of quartz which will inevitably lead them down that path.

Every character has a unique orbment set up of lines and slots tied to them. One glance at these orbments can give an experienced player a good idea of what type of character they can be built as. For example a character that only has one single line will be great at Arts because that means all of their quartz are building to one overall sepith value. On the contrary, a character with a few one or two slot lines will simply not be able to reach the higher sepith values that are necessary unlock higher tier Arts. It sounds complicated, because it is, but I actually think it gives quite a bit of character and personality to the Arts system once you figure it out.

As an example, if the art Aerial takes 4 wind (green) sepith to unlock you must have quartz totaling at least 4 wind sepith in a single line on a character in order for them to use it. As a bonus hint here if you play Sky, get Aerial as quickly as possible and spam it for most of the game and you’ll do alright. A weird potential downside of this system is actually that by the end of games you will have some really high sepith values with almost everyone and will therefore have an absurdly long list of Arts to scroll through to find the right ones to use, even for the less arts-oriented characters.

You unlock slots and make quartz by spending “sepith” which is dropped by every enemy you encounter, or which can occasionally be found in large quantities in chests. You then spend this sepith on quartz or slots at the orbment factory located in every town. Quartz is tied to elements and you will need to spend sepith of that element to obtain a quartz. For example, an Attack quartz is red/fire so you will spend red/fire sepith to obtain it. Alternatively, sepith can be traded in for money. To be honest I rarely make use of this in Sky (I do it more in later arcs) as I find having the sepith to be more valuable but you absolutely can do this if needed as you can always grind for more sepith if you really need it. If you find yourself really not using a particular color of sepith and need cash then go for it as well.

I explain in this level of depth here so I can just mention changes for each subsequent game. Every Trails game builds off this system. In fact, the Arts system gets really revamped by the Cold Steel era and will be much simpler from then on. The important thing to remember is that the quartz and orbment system is how you will actually be building and setting up your characters along with the usual equipment and gear which is simple and more self-explanatory. Every character has their particular style of weapon, chest piece, legs, and 2 accessory slots. For nearly the entirety of the series these will simply be replaced and upgraded as you go section to section. 

I mentioned the core loop before but will reiterate it here. Estelle and Joshua will be traveling around the country from region to region (by foot!). Starting in their hometown of Rolent and moving through the other regions until ending at the capital. Each town and region have their own character, vibe, inhabitants, and problems that you will get to know during your time there. While you are in each town you will take on tasks and sidequests before engaging in main story events and quests. There are also some classic jrpg side things you can seek out, like collecting every issue of the newspaper, book series, and recipes to make food. Most Trails games have a book series which the careful collection of the entirety of will allow the creation of an ultimate weapon at the end of the game.

Get used to hanging out in the Bracer Guild in each region. The board there is where you pick up quests and everything is always reported to the receptionist.

Completing quests and other tasks throughout the game will earn you BP (Bracer Points) which serve to let you climb through the ranks as a Bracer. In actuality this is just a type of scoring system that rewards you with items as you progress. You can get bonus BP in certain quests, answering prompts correctly, or just not missing anything. I use a guide now so I never miss anything, including BP, but it is hardly make or break and you can safely play without worry if you so choose. You’ll just miss out on some pretty strong rewards from not getting the last few ranks at the end.

The balance of these games is always interesting. The Trails series does not really require any grinding, though you of course can if you so choose, especially for sepith. Level wise you will do fine just by clearing enemies out as you move through, its honestly one of the most balanced games I’ve ever played. In fact eventually you will start barely earning any experience. On the player side, Sky tends to heavily favor using arts in my experience though some of that may just be my playstyle and the fact that many of the strongest characters are arts users. 

Thoughts

The actual plot of Sky FC is somewhat small in scale and stakes. Until the end the chapters might feel quite disconnected for some players. Personally, I found the story to work well because of how low-key it was. It being more down to earth than the over the top “anime” plots of other jrpgs (and future games in this series) actually makes it appealing and really drew me in. There is such a strong cast of minor characters and you get a great feel for each region and Liberl as you travel through it. This is really Estelle’s story though and having a strong female protagonist to lead off the series is quite a bold choice indeed that reportedly the dev team was unsure of. Estelle does not arrive fully formed and players will get to see her grow in strength and character over the course of the Sky trilogy. At the same time, part of the appeal of the series is the fact that Estelle and Joshua feel like a part of a world, not the center of it. There are other things going on and a full history here that they truly are just a part of.

The world and character writing in Sky is rock solid. Trails takes place in a world that hits my personal sweet spot of tech level. A pseudo steam-punk level of technology and magic in the middle of a technological revolution. It is the characters that inhabit the world that bring it fully to life though. As I mentioned, every NPC feels like they have their own story, connections, and place in the world. The main characters that become party members are also vibrant additions that bounce off each other well and become a delight to get to know. From the flamboyant bard searching the continent for the essence of love, Olivier, to the lovely academy student Kloe, to the young engineer girl of distilled adorable that is Tita, every character brings something to the table as we follow Estelle and Joshua getting to know them.

Professor Alba. A good dude.

All of the characters have their own arcs that they must undergo. However, to see them fully it requires playing the direct sequel, Sky SC, as well. This aspect is a mixed bag to me. I personally know going in that most of the games are parts of a duology. I know going into the first that I will be playing the second. However, for new players this can make individual games feel unfinished, with the entirety of Sky FC feeling like a prologue to SC. I would not begrudge anyone for feeling like they had been cheated of a complete story or character arcs. Sky FC spends its time establishing the locations and characters that will make up this story. It is honestly not until SC that we get to see those characters really be fleshed out. When I first played these games I actually liked that aspect. Everything felt fully formed and time was not wasted on every character’s full backstory. With time I have arrived at more mixed feelings and understand why it might make some players feel like the game and story is incomplete. Even more so, it may make Sky SC feel like it goes backwards in some ways as spends much more time on those character backstories. 

I could not talk about this game without bringing up its presentation, which I really love. For starters, I really like the graphics engine it uses that somehow feels like it matches the bright tone and style of the game itself. Nothing looks quite like this game does (I believe Falcom used their own in-house engine but don’t quote me on that). The music is impeccable and again is pitch perfect for the tone of the game. The entire vibe of the game feels unified in its overall presentation. Most of the music is tied to specific locations or events and matches them quite well. The soundtrack sounds genuinely unique and is incredibly well crafted. The instrument choices themselves are even quite interesting and I wish I knew enough about music to analyze the score more fully outside of expressing how much I like it and how much it fits. When the standard walking around music sounds so good you know you are doing something right.

For me, Sky FC is a brisk 30 hour play through every time, an aspect that might make it feel even more like an extended prologue. I should point out that for the most part I cruise through games faster than anyone I know. Howlongtobeat? Puts the time at more 40-50 hours and it is worth pointing out that all the older games in the series have a turbo function on PC. Either way, this by far the shortest game in the series with only the possible exception of Sky the 3rd depending on how you play that entry. Extra length can obviously be added depending on the type of player you are. If you talk to every NPC you can increase the play time considerably, if you skip all the dialogue and sidequests, well, you could probably do this in one sitting given that Trails as a series is quite evenly split between gameplay and story. All of this adds up to the game being a relatively tight experience in length and story but one where the personality and setting are more important than “completeness.” I have heard a common complaint about Sky FC where people say they “kept waiting for it to start.” While I don’t share this feeling as a negative, I do understand where it comes from.

The Legend of Heroes_ Trails in the Sky (DX9) 11_2_2020 3_34_42 PM

What struck me years ago and what continues to stick with me about the series is the genuine heart that comes through. Sky FC is a 16 year old game and it shows. The game can have some rough edges and overly complex systems in terms of gameplay, but its heart, soul, and charm keep me coming back over and over again. I love how natural the world building feels. I love how down to Earth the story is in this first chapter. I love Estelle, Joshua, their relationship and the other characters that we get to meet. I love the absolutely ridiculous undertaking that this game begins, both from a development and player perspective. Setting the stage for much bigger things.

Sky FC begins a series that spans 10 games at the time of this writing. Unlike other jrpgs such as Final Fantasy or Tales, every single one of these games tells a continually evolving and connected overall story. The “plot” of every game may be different, but the overarching narrative and certain connections between games is always continuing as well. To my knowledge there really isn’t even a comparison, at least in gaming, to what this series attempts and mostly succeeds at pulling off. This does make the “cost of entry” in terms of time rather high. You truly have not beaten even just “Sky” until you have played both FC and SC (and then the 3rd on top of that). Many games end on harsh cliffhangers that are immediately followed up on by the next entry in the arc, and Sky FC started that trend from the beginning. Sky FC is the first game in the series overall and there is really only one other potential starting point which I will cover later. You won’t be completely lost or anything, but I do mostly recommend playing in order if you can.

I played Sky when I needed it the most. It left me in a place where I was once again amazed at what games could make me feel. Even now, the series continues to be a comfort series for me. I can return to the world and characters endlessly and it simply makes me feel better no matter what is going on. Every time I finish any other game I always consider replaying one of the Trails games next. My most recent replay of Sky FC left me with an even more positive impression. It had been a long time since my last run and it was nice to come back and feel validated in my own feelings while playing. I truly do believe this game is a wonderfully made experience that more people should take the time to play, especially jrpg fans.

This series punches way above its weight as they are essentially indie games in terms of team size, budget, and sales. I think they carve out a unique niche and are effective at what they set out to do. I will continue to do my best to discuss the series without spoiling anything in the future. Which has been quite a challenge from a writing perspective. Behind the spoiler tag will be a more free form section with more spoilers where I can discuss aspects I really like, as well as simple explanations of the party members. There will 100% be spoilers obviously. Sky SC is up next as everything gets turned up a notch. I don’t really have a timeline for when it will go up so lets say 2-3 weeks? If you took the time to read than I sincerely thank you and appreciate it. I hope you enjoyed.

If you want to see someone else’s take the youtuber Mother’s Basement has a whole video on the worldbuilding of Trails. KillScottKill is a Trails/Falcom youtuber who is also part of the Geofront fan translation team (more on them later). He actually has a complete playthrough of most of the games as well as some lore and discussion videos that are great. 

Spoiler

• Estelle and Joshua’s relationship feels pretty believable to me. Its an adopted sibling relationship that becomes romantic and yeah, you do have to get past that and if you can’t, I understand. I manage to do it for this one though. Throughout the game you see Estelle slowly realize and come to terms with her feelings toward Joshua, culminating in a confession in the last scene of the game that ends with both love and heartbreak. Between this and the next games it is my favorite relationship of any games I have played.

• You get to see this develop in some great scenes. Early on at the farm, at the Valleria lakeshore, sitting and eating together in Manoria, their time at Jenis. Their growing feelings for each other feel true and earned in a way few games match. I think this is because many games now prioritize player choice of their partner rather than writing a more fleshed out focused narrative. Sky FC and SC are carried by Estelle and Joshua’s relationship as opposed to getting a couple of scenes with a chosen party member that the actual narrative will never acknowledge.

• Speaking of which. Joshua obviously has some dark past and if you have ever seen any shonen anime or played any game you know the signs. The full reveal is not what I saw coming though. Professor Alba being revealed as a top level evil villain that has secretly been using Joshua, a former enforcer for his organization, Ouroboros, is a twist I didn’t see coming the first time. That it comes during the happiest time of the game, after you have saved the day and are celebrating makes it hit even harder. The next game will fully reveal just who these true villains are and they become the main villains for the entire series. That they were allowed to be in the background for the entirety of the first game is a pretty bold choice.

• The entire game ends with Joshua, now knowing he was unwittingly feeding information to Ouroboros (the big bads), telling Estelle a bit about his past. A tragic tale that left him completely broken. Estelle confesses her love and Joshua replies that he always loved her from the beginning and they kiss for the first time. However Joshua used the kiss to drug and sedate her in order to escape. In a beautifully subtle moment, Joshua’s character portrait changes for the first time as the full reveal sets in. The game ends with Estelle losing consciousness and Joshua making clear that he is leaving and never coming back. Cut to black.

• This begins the trend of the series. The first game in nearly every arc ends on a pretty hard cliffhanger that the next game will pick up on immediately afterward. Sky FC, Cold Steel 1, and Cold Steel 3 all end this way with so far, with Zero avoiding a cliffhanger but still pretty much requiring Ao to finish its overall story.

• Richard is an okay villain that is also clearly not “evil.” He is being manipulated by Ouroboros as well. He attempts a coup in order to take over for the more peace loving and diplomatic queen and defend Liberl from aggressors. Given the war that occurred 10 years ago and serves as a backdrop for so many events and characters it’s an understandable motivation. He loves his country and wants to defend it but goes too far in doing so. A pretty classic story.

• It’s a small thing but early in the game Scherazard is first seen reading Tarot cards that sort of tell what the story of the game will be.

• The harmonica song Joshua plays throughout the game can now make me tear up. It is an absolute dick move from the devs in a good way to make it the lead in song before the menu in Sky SC. The basic melody becomes a key part of some other songs in the series moving forward as well.

• The major spoilers that must be known before the Sky SC section: Joshua became a member of Ouroboros after surviving a massacre that kicked off the war between Erebonia and Liberl 10 years prior. He is much more powerful and dangerous than has been shown. Ouroboros is a secret society of immensely powerful members and underworld influence with unknown goals at this time (and maybe all time). Kloe is actually the princess of Liberl and granddaughter of the queen. Olivier has something going on that hasn’t been revealed yet. Honestly that’s kind of it. The attempted coup failed, Joshua is gone, Ouroboros is here and the mysterious “black orbment” seen throughout the game is involved.

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Characters

Estelle- warm, sunny, tomboy. Trying to become a bracer and then a better bracer. She is straightforward, earnest, and tries hard but likes the fighting more than the thinking. The Naruto to Joshua’s Sasuke. Lives with her father Cassius in Rolent after her mother passed away during the war. Gameplay wise she is the standard jack of all trades style protagonist. Probably easier to go physical as opposed to arts as she has some solid crafts. As the jack of all trades this actually makes her versatile but maybe most efficient as a support character, doing light healing and shielding of other characters while dishing out what damage she can.

Joshua- a polite and intelligent boy. Somewhat quiet. Likes to read and definitely has a dark past. The Sasuke to Estelle’s Naruto. Was brought home battered and bruised by Cassius one night and joined the family. Gameplay wise he is the speedy type and hits decently hard. Honestly, he can be a beast, with solid crafts and arts ability. Can be fragile though. In SC he’s gonna be an absolute monster but he’s not quite there yet here but is still great to use.

Scherazard-a senior bracer who acts as a mentor for Estelle and Joshua early in their journey. She has an “older sister” role for Estelle especially and is often who Estelle confides in. She is a dark skinned woman who fights with a whip and reads fortunes using a tarot deck. She can drink like a horse and seems to enjoy a good party. Gameplay wise she leans a bit toward arts over physical combat but has some alright crafts. One of the weaker characters gameplay wise honestly as the reality is the other arts users are stronger and the other physical fighters hit harder.

Olivier- a traveling bard from the Erebonian Empire to the north. He is eccentric and flamboyant, ever on the hunt for love and beauty in all its forms. Your mileage may vary on his humor and sexual innuendos. Personally, he’s one of my favorites in the entire series. Which is a bit unfair to say right now. He uses an orbal pistol to fight but heavily leans towards arts. He can become one of the strongest arts users in the game.

Kloe- a student at Jenis Royal Academy who Estelle and Joshua meet. They spend a lot of time with her helping prepare for the school festival and become good friends. She is kind but can be a bit timid and desires to get stronger as a person. I don’t want to spoil much so I’ll just say Kloe is great. She is an incredible arts user and healer. Can easily be the strongest you have access to.

Agate- edgy anime sword boy who is gruff and curt with everyone but has a heart somewhere underneath it. Yeah you’ve seen this character before. He’s an okay one of those. He’s gonna be a front line physical fighter with very high attack.

Tita- a young engineering girl whose eyes light up around any complex machinery. She is basically the ball of adorable that activates everyone’s sister complex but is an engineering prodigy. Fights with an orbal cannon that has an attack with a wide range. She is not incredibly strong and is quite weak with arts but she can be a useful party member. Future games will make her much stronger.

Zin- a massive bear of a man and martial artist who fights with his fists. He is from the Calvard Republic to the east and is an A-Rank senior bracer of great strength. He is one of those big, burly, but really just a teddy bear on the inside type of characters. Gets along with basically everyone and likes having fun but is also the most experienced of the party members and it shows a few times. His crafts tend to self-buff and he can be an effective tank and physical fighter.

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