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Change YoY: =   My Rating: 9.6 / 10

Trails in the Sky SC is the absolute peak of the series, one that no other game in it has managed to reach despite several excellent entries having followed it since. Picking up pretty much immediately after the first game, following mostly the same cast of characters with a few nice additions thrown in, SC uses the foundation set up in the first game to push the story to new places and begins to reveal the larger world that would soon be explored even further. However, even with the scale of later games dwarfing this one, none of them have quite reached the same heights of storytelling and character development as Nihon Falcom did here. 

The writing here is excellent (owing much to the wonderful localization work by Xseed Games), and though it is not quite as vast as some of the later games in the series, anyone who wants to experience everything Trails in the Sky SC has to offer can still expect upwards of 60 hours of game time, practically all of it brilliant. A distinct element that makes The Legend of Heroes games stand out are the little stories that happen around the main characters. There are several minor characters in this series whose exploits have spanned several games in the series, across different sub-series. You can meet characters here that will later appear in the Trails of Cold Steel games for example, still continuing their own stories that began here. It's not something the developer really needed to do, but it makes the world feel so much richer and lived in, simply because it's not just the main cast that have lives. People around them travel the world, get married, find jobs, and it's all up to the player to witness these little stories should they choose to do it.

With an excellent score and a great, tactically deep battle system rounding things up, this is simply one of the best games I've ever played. I started playing video games over 30 years ago now, and in that time very few games have had such an impact on me as the first two Trails in the Sky games. The Legend of Heroes is a series that is behind only Final Fantasy and Dark Souls (or just Sousborne in general) in my personal estimates, and this is the very best entry in it thus far.