- Name: Estelle Bright
- Game(s): The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky
- Creator: Nihon Falcom
The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky is one of those JRPGs that doesn’t understand that people have lives outside of playing videogames. It is unapologetically long, taking a leisurely approach to plot advancement. There is probably eight or so hours of gameplay before the main overarching conflict pops up. You spend a great deal of time on guild fetch quests, running errands and defeating monsters that often have little bearing on the main adventure. And it’s only the first in a trilogy!
The upside to this, however, is that we get a thorough exploration of the game’s world. Extremely thorough. As in, this game even has its own in-game newspaper. The economics and political struggles are all deliberately worked out and explained in-game. Even generic townspeople have personalities and lives that will advance the further into the game you get.
If you can bear the pace, Trails does have a lot to praise. Its graphics and music are charming, its narrative is wondefully complex, and the Liberl Kingdom and its neighbors are fulled-fleshed out. It just takes roughly a thousand hours for the game to get going.
And we have the main character. Estelle is the proper protagonist of the first and second games, although we have her calm and respectful adopted brother Joshua at her side acting as her foil. This tomboy is loud, straightforward, boisterous, and almost always acts before thinking. She collects bugs and sports shoes, enjoys fishing, and couldn’t cook to save her life. It’s hard to fathom a character whose personality is more actively antithetic to feminine expectations than Estelle’s. While, unfortunately, characters in Trails tend to slip into anime cliches every so often, Estelle can still stand out as a very likable and sympathetic protagonist.
She and Joshua are following in their father’s footsteps and becomes a Bracer, a specialized guild of mercenaries, despised by the army but well-respected by the general populace. After becoming a certified member, her journey properly begins with her father’s disappearance on his journey to a foreign country. Afterwards a whole epic conspiracy develops, involving government corruption, brainwashing, ancient technologies, and a plot to overthrow the monarchy. Heavy stuff. As is JRPG protocal, it’s up to a ragtag team of warriors in their mid-teens to early twenties to save the day. And, for the first two games in the series at least, we have Estelle as star player.