What is Trails/Kiseki?
The Trails/Kiseki series is 9 JRPGs (by Falcom and published by XSEED/NISA in NA) centered around the people and politics of a shared world. So far, we have 5 of them in English!
Each game features a huge cast of characters, strategic turn-based combat, an intricate upgrade and spell system, tons of sidequests, fantastic music, and a well-written, twisty-turny plot.
And each game references the other games in such a way that those who pay attention are rewarded, but people who only play one or two of them aren't lost. This is a big reason why fans of the series are so passionate.
The chart below might help explain it better.What can I play in English?Liberl Chapter
Trails in the Sky - PC and PSP
Trails in the Sky SC - PC and PSP
Trails in the Sky The 3rd - PC
The first three games in the series take place in the Kingdom of Liberl, the southernmost country on the Zemurian continent. The first two follow Estelle and Joshua Bright, young members of the Bracer Guild, a group of peacekeepers who keep watch over the people of Liberl and take on jobs ranging from typical monster extermination and replacing lightbulbs to, well, you'll just have to see. Travel the entire breadth of Liberl on foot, see the sights, meet interesting people, and uncover a sinister plot. It's all in a day's work for a (Junior) Bracer!
The third game acts as a sort of bridge to the rest of the series, and stars other characters, though it still takes place in Liberl. I can't say much about it without getting into details and potentially spoiling things. It comes highly recommended!
Trails to Zero - Not Yet Released
Trails to Azure - Not Yet Released
These two games haven't been announced as being under localization. But to give a very brief intro, Crossbell City is a technologically advanced city that's a combination of New York and Hong Kong. Crossbell State is positioned between the two largest countries in Zemuria, and part of the story apparently concerns Crossbell's struggles to maintain sovereignty while being threatened by both Erebonia to the west and Calvard to the east. All of this is seen from the perspective of Lloyd Bannings, a new recruit, and his fellow officers in the Special Support Section of the Crossbell Police Force.
Trails of Cold Steel - PS3/4, Vita, and PC
Trails of Cold Steel II - PS3/4, Vita, and PC
Trails of Cold Steel III - PS4
Trails of Cold Steel IV - Released in Japan. No localization announcement.
Welcome to the Erebonian Empire, a region of the Zemurian continent renowned for their military prowess.
Do I Need To Play All Of Them?
Behind the powerhouse face of the Empire, however, lie long-held tensions between upper class and common citizens.
Calling themselves the Noble and Reformist factions, the two classes have been escalating the power struggle between them for many years.
Rean Schwarzer enters the Thors Military Academy and is placed within the newly-created Class VII.
For the first time in the history of the academy, Class VII does not distinguish its members by the socioeconomic class from which they come.
The nine students in Rean's class all come from different backgrounds and have distinct abilities.
As the students train and get to know each other, with all the tensions that may bring, they find themselves thrust into political events that may threaten the entire Empire.
Nope! The first game of each set is considered a jumping on point, as confirmed by the developers. You can just play Trails in the Sky or just Trails of Cold Steel if you want. You may miss small details and hints at the larger, overarching story, but otherwise the game will treat you like a newcomer.
But of course the devs and fans want you to get hooked and decide you have to play all of them.What About Those Two Games In The Middle?
Xseed wanted to bring Zero/Azure over too, but they and Falcom decided to skip forward to Cold Steel since those games were on PS3 and Vita and those systems weren't getting any younger. NISA has since said the Crossbell games are part of their conversations with Falcom. If the Trails series continues to be profitable, then it will be much more likely that these games will be localized somehow. So buy them!XSEED Localization Blog PostsTrails Series Localization BlogTrails of Cold Steel Localization Blog #1Trails of Cold Steel Localization Blog #2VideosTrails in the Sky PC TrailerTrails of Cold Steel - BattleTrails of Cold Steel - StoryTrails of Cold Steel - Launch Trailer