Kiseki Thread

Short Version: This game series is my absolute favourite thing ever and I just wanna infodump somewhere where I’m not likely to have people replying with spoilers for the unlocalised games.

Long Version: (Oh, and this first post is spoiler-free!)

The Kiseki Series (officially localised as the Trails Series) is my favourite game series ever. It’s a JRPG series starting with Sora no Kiseki (Trails in the Sky) which was first released in Japan in 2004. The official English Translation was released in 2011, and I discovered this first game on Christmas 2015 when it was gifted to me.

Zeiss Central Factory featured on the main menu screen.

I finished the game within a month, with almost 50 hours of gameply (47 hours and 3 minutes to be exact) despite it being a time when I was only allowed on the computer in the morning before my dad woke up. On my second playthrough of the first game, I chose the hardest difficulty (though the challenge was ruined by a setting I didn’t notice until much later) and I chose to go out of my way to speak to every single NPC I could find and do every single side quest and exploration point I could find. That was 148 hours and 18 minutes of gameplay, and I still managed to miss stuff.

One of my favourite things about this series is the world building. The prologue starts really slow in terms of standard plot stuff happening, but it is full of all sorts of little details of lore and characters and stuff. You can buy the newspaper at the local shop and read not only tons of foreshadowing, but also get a glimpse of how the world is changing even without your protagonist’s direct input. Almost every single NPC has their own name and life, and by talking to them all you get to see how those lives change.

And the foreshadowing. There is so so much of it. I’m pretty sure I’ve spotted new pieces of foreshadowing every time I’ve replayed (or rewatched) the games. I can’t talk too much without spoiling specifics, and I really really hate spoilers so they’re all going to be behind this handy little thing. This is for me pointing out all the foreshadowy goodness. There isn’t an actual spoiler in there, for the record, it’s just a demonstration.

So I had this very odd idea, which is typical of me really, that to both ramble about my favourite thing without spoiling anything and to be able to share that with people who (hopefully) won’t get too annoyed at me (or at least are able to mute me if I do get too annoying). What if I was to just play through the whole thing again from the very beginning and share screen shots and stuff?

Then anything I have already shared wouldn’t be a spoiler because I’ve gone through it since the beginning, though I’ll probably be using the spoiler tags an awful lot if I want to point out all the foreshadowing or other future details that may change how a scene reads. Or maybe this is a terrible idea. I have no clue. Let me know.

Before I go any further, I want to give all the content warnings that I know about here. I haven’t finished playing all the localised games, never mind the unlocalised ones, so this may need to be updated. If I remember anything I forgot, I’ll edit to add it in. While not an actual content warning, I do also want to note that there is stereotypical Japanese ecchi stuff which is not everyone’s cup of tea. The content warnings will obviously contain spoilers, but I think it’s better that people are warned than not spoiled.

CW: incest (of the adoptive sibling variety, not that this makes it any better), character death, war crimes, rape, pedophilia, child abuse (all types of abuse), child death (flashbacks only), sexism, sexual harrassment, sexual assault, racism (apparently the focus of the game that will be localised next, I don’t know how bad it gets), corrupt police force (not as severe as current events), rich arseholes getting away with stuff just for because they’re rich, drug use, suicide, some excessive descriptions of violence (most of the shown violence is not graphic)

Not every content warning will be relevant in every game, so I will be providing relevant content warnings at the top of each post that may need them. If anyone wants to ask about a specific warning, feel free to. If I forgot it I’ll add it to the list and if it just doesn’t apply then yay.

If after that bombshell anyone is still interested, I think the first question is “Which difficulty?”

Grancel Castle overlooking Valleria Lake

I have no clue how often I would be updating this if I do go through with this odd plan of mine.

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What platform? I enjoy my JPRGs and wouldn’t mind checking this out if convenient.

PC. First game is currently £13 on Steam, though it will often drop to £6-7 on sale. Some of the games are also available on various playstation platforms, I think 1-5 on psp, 6,7 on PS3, and later on PS4 but I’d have to double check those.

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This sounds really interesting. It kind of reminds me a bit like the early Nancy Drew video games I use to play mix with Sid’s Meiers Cilvization games I haven’t played (yet).

While I haven’t played any of the Nancy Drew games myself, I’m fairly sure the investigative parts of the game wouldn’t be as in depth as a dedicated mystery game would have them. Can confirm it is nothing like Civ though. It’s more of a style where you run around battling enemies, doing quests for people, and following the main plot.

How freaking huge this series is

I forgot to mention in the original post that this is a long game with much text. I don’t think that really gives it enough justice, so here are some images I’ve seen floating around for comparison.


This first image was floating around after Trails to Azure (5th game) was released. From what I can tell, those scenario books are only available in Japanese, and it is just a guesstimate with comparing the Japanese text with the English. That said, having played through (most of) Trails to Azure I can confirm that by the main plot is going to reach that level.


This image is referring to only the amount of text in Trails of Cold Steel III. When this image came out, it was the longest game in the series. I’m unfortunately not sure if it still is because I’ve had to avoid some parts of the internet due to some insensitive people spoiling shit.

Anyway, here’s a super quick overview of the games currently released in the series. They’re split into several arcs which have their own mostly contained storylines, but they are not going to shy away from referring to the other entries.

Sky Arc: Trails in the Sky, Trails in the Sky SC, Trails in the Sky the 3rd
“Crossbell” Arc: Trails from Zero, Trails to Azure
Cold Steel Arc: Trails of Cold Steel, Trails of Cold Steel II, CSIII, CSIV
Unknown: Trails into Reverie
“Calvard” Arc: Kuro no Kiseki, Kuro no Kiseki II - Crimson Sin

The Sky and Cold Steel arcs both have all of their games officially localised. The fan-nicknamed “Crossbell” arc only has fan-translations. That said, they are very good fan-translations, and the official localisation team is working with them on the official translation. They’re coming out this year and next, but for many years we were told that it was not going to be profitable for them to ever be localised since no PC port existed. Trails into Reverie is the next to be translated after they’ve caught up and already has its title translated, while the temporarily dubbed “Calvard” arc still has no official English title.

Now, apparently somebody claimed that you can start with any first game in any arc. Meaning it was equally okay to start with Trails in the Sky, Trails from Zero, or Trails of Cold Steel. I strongly disagree with this, but it is an official opinion and all that. Some people would recommend starting with Cold Steel due to the newer graphics and QoL changes. I’m personally not actually a fan of most of those QoL changes and prefer the older graphics.

Even the first game of the later arcs are going to spoil the others at least a bit if you play them out of order. Trails of Zero is especially spoilery for major plot points from Trails in the Sky SC, and Trails of Cold Steel and Trails of Cold Steel II are spoilery for Trails to Azure in particular.

Then you get Trails of Cold Steel III. Trails of Cold Steel III does not shy away from spoiling any of the previous games. It assumes you played them already, because that’s what you do when you have a long story, you read it in order. I did not realise this, and started playing it alongside Trails from Zero (whose fan-translation had just come out). I stopped playing Trails of Cold Steel III after the first chapter spoiled major plot points specifically about one of Trails from Zero’s main characters.

In terms of gameplay, battles are turn based and I really like the magic system. The first three games can be played completely by mouse alone, the fourth and fifth I like to play with mouse and keyboard, and the sixth onwards are easier to control with a controller due to the giant change in graphics and which controls you use. Anything that you can interact with will cause a ! or TALK to appear above your protagonist’s head, so there’s really no point in clicking on every random thing in hope of finding a secret. There are plenty of those hidden anyway.

Other things I like are the treasure chests. For every chest in the first five games, you can examine it after you’ve got the item to see the chest message. They aren’t quite completely unique, but there are a lot of them. Some are references to stuff, some are snarky, some are punny, and there’s at least one achievement dedicated to finding them all. (I missed five! So frustrating.)

I mentioned the newspaper, but I completely forgot to mention the other books. Each game has a series of collectable books that are hidden and can only be found to the right NPCs at very specific points of the game. Some have other challenges to find. These are ficitonal in-universe books that you can read through, though your eyes may hurt at the overly over the topness of them, though they’re not vital for understanding the main plot. What they do have, are hints of characters you are yet to meet. Everyone who appears in the Carnelia book series (collectable in the first game) is met by the time you finish the first Cold Steel game.

My favourite book, however, is not one of those collectable one. It’s Kitty Talk for Dummies, which you can find and read during a side quest, and contains a translation for all the meowing noises the cats in the first three games will make. As in, an actual translation. Where if you copy the whole thing like I did, and then refer to it from the beginning of the game, you can translate every cat’s dialogue and it is all something that makes sense with the context of the scene. It’s completely unnecessary and I love it!

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Yeah… I am not sleeping tonight. Haven’t decided what I am doing, but sleep is not an option after that finale and seeing how much older (almost) everyone is in this AWESOME (and spoilery) end title screen.

I just had to share this somewhere or I’m going to scream, and it’s a bit too late at night for screaming, and I already scared my sister with my squeal of joy.

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It is turn based? I might have to check that out, I’m a big sucker for jrpgs.

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It is turn based. Not quite like final fantasy since there’s a battle map and positioning involved. And the turn order is based on speed stats and which action you’ve just done, rather than set in stone.

Trails in the Sky - Prologue - 1

Content Warnings for this post:
Implied child abuse

So I decided to go with normal difficulty because I don’t feel like dying in the tutorial. I also figured that posting screenshots would make these rather too long, so I’m testing out how videos work on here. For any “cutscene” I’ll try to use a video, but there is very minimal voice acting this game so be prepared for all your mental voices and pronounciations to be ruined when it is introduced. Luckily, I have a spare youtube account under Rebecca Blue’s name that isn’t linked back to the real me at all, so I’ll be using that to post the snippets of video.

All the wandering around will just be screenshots, and I’ll probably skip most the books and stuff completely (unless anyone specifically asks to see them). I will include the tutorial’s boss battle for those who wanted an idea of the mechanics, but won’t be including any others unless anyone wants me too. (I know, I’m so decisive.)

With that out of the way, here’s our introduction! (Yes the volume is stupid amounts of quiet, I’m sorry, this is new)

I will never get over the fact that little Estelle thought it was more likely her dad was going to bring her a dead boy as a present over an alive one…

Foreshadowing! Josh thinking Cassius should have left him to die makes a lot more sense once you learn that he was an assassin trying to kill him. More minor foreshadowing includes Schera’s name being mentioned. We’ll meet her soon.

With that opening, we’ve seen most of the major characters we’ll be meeting in this first game. There are a few who don’t feature in the opening, any many more NPCs as well. When we take into consideration characters we’ll meet in later games too… Well, there’s a lot. Eight of the characters in that opening will be playable this game, and another eight are joining over the next two for a beautiful segment where all 16 characters are played at the same time. Well, beautiful in theory, it’s a little clunky in practise. And as of the end of the seventh game, we have a grand total of (uh… counts… 16+11+19=) 46 playable characters so far. I think. Give or take a couple I may have forgotten or double counted…

Joshua trailing off before giving his name originally made me think I was going to choose it, like I have in RPGs before, but then that never happened. Despite that, I spent the entirety of the first game believing that he was the protagonist. He isn’t. Estelle is the protagonist, and she’s awesome.

If you’re wondering whether the incest warning in my first post was due to these two, the answer is yes. Estelle and Joshua were 11 when they first met and they’re 16 now, which does make it a little bit more tolerable. That said, there’s another brother/sister couple we meet later who were adopted when they were toddlers, and there is a lot more squick to that.

First thing’s first, settings! I turned the sound up after realising how very very quiet it was.

Also, this highlighted option is why my completing the game on Nightmare mode doesn’t count. It’s automatically on, and makes the fights easier every time you get a game over. I didn’t realise it was a thing until near the end of my nightmare play of the second game… So oops.

At the moment we have just these two party members, Estelle and Joshua Bright.

There are a lot of different stats and such, though the game doesn’t really go over them in detail. The main point though is that the Speed Stat is kinda overpowered.

You can talk to dear old Cassius again for some more dialogue.

I won’t be going through every line myself, but if you’re wanting to then keep in mind to keep repeatedly talking to people until they repeat themselves. Some NPCs can have three or four seperate dialogue interactions, though most just have one or two.

Anything that can be interacted with will have this huge ! or TALK appear above Estelle’s head, like her bed that we can rest in to recover our HP and EP.

If there’s no ! there, then you’re not going to find anything. That said, there are still plenty of little secrets hidden around. Like these three logs:

If you inspect each of them, and then check the southern one a second time, you get a different message.

There’s not much else to interact with at home, though if you try heading the wrong way down the Elize Highway, the “You’re going the wrong way!” text is a little more humerous than most.

Last thing for this post is our “world” map.

And by “world” I mean “kingdom.” Our current location is in the box on the top left, though Elize Highway isn’t actually labelled on the map. In later games we’ll be travelling to other countries, but for the first two we’ll be hanging about here. This map doesn’t show everything either. The triangles are some of the dungeons we’ll be visiting, but there are others not listed on the map. Next stop, the Provincial City of Rolent. But that’s next time since I think this is long enough for this game’s introductory post.

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