A1 (10 off A0)
So, before talking about this game I should note that I've played through Trails in the Sky 1-3 and a bit of Zero/Ao. FC is among my favourite RPGs of all time and Third isn't too far behind that.
This game though...not so much.
Let's start with the good. The transition to 3d isn't awful and manages to keep the style of the Kiseki games pretty much coherent - despite the engine really chugging down to single digits on the vita occasionally.
The expansion of the combat system to include raid and links is cool.
Seeing characters from other games or hear of events from other games - ie World building..well, this is the best in gaming as far as I'm concerned. Nothing can touch the Kiseki series in regards to World Building.
I liked some of the characters - Towa, Marchias (or however it's spelt) Laura, Emma, Gaius, Angelica..most of the secondary characters. These guys had charm, especially Towa. She's great. It was great to see Olli too, but I'm not sure about that VO. I doesn't really do him justice.
The game turning into G Gundam at the end was pretty cool too.
And then the bad...which is everything else.
I think the major culprit for me was Rean - who is a shitty harem shounen MC self insert, which really really hurts after Estelle. He's just terrible. Alisa as the 'main girl' is just a whiny bitch 90% of the time - the forced 'I hate you' scenes between pairs during the game was cringe inducing.
C and the reveal make no sense, as none of that stuff was even hinted at during the game. It's obvious who he is, but his reasons? ehhh something something blah. Imperialism! I mean, yeah bro, I'm with you - give me the fucking sniper rifle..but there needs to be more there than that. Richard at least had his moment to shine. C..not so much. That goes for all of the villains but I kinda expected that after the let down that was SC. Still, they were far better characters than these chumps.
The localisation...Why is Fie saying 'Ja?' randomly? Is she German..does Germany exist in this world along side France and Scotland? For a series that take such pains to create a believable world these random accents along with German and French words make no sense. Why are there celtic crosses in Laura's hometown and why doesn't anyone know why they're there?
The performance at the end...oh god, that clap loop..make it stop. Also, what is rock music? Also why was there only a piano and singer in the encore and everyone else appears to be going ham? Why is there a violinist playing the guitar? That's not how music works...urghhhh.
To be fair, most of that is just nitpicking. The real problems are Rean, the lack of diverse environments (barring Gaius home and Laura's home..both great locations) shitty school teenage nonsense - Persona has really fucked up a generations worth of RPGs on that front...and the bastardisation of the quartz system. The master quartz thing is cool, but removing the mix and match system to get the right amount to trigger certain spells was half the fun of building the character. Simplifying it to just "here have the spell" sucks.
Also Sara is a poor, poor budget Schera.
And it's essentially the same plot as FC...but worse...with worse characters...and slower.
My final reaction to the game was that this was Trail's "Phantom Menace". If you'd never seen another Star Wars movie, you'd think this was pretty great - despite the shit characters and mediocre writing 'TRADE FEDERATION' but if you'd seen A New Hope - well. Yeah.
That's what this game is to me - the Phantom Menace. Hopefully we'll get to the Revenge of the Sith next, rather than the Clone Wars...buuuut I'm not holding my breath.
3/5 and that's me being generous.