If you’ve played Trails in the Sky on PSP at any time, or if you’ve recently picked up Trails of Cold Steel for PS and Nintendo Switch, you should know that these games aren’t self-contained narratives. They are part of Falcom’s overall strategy. the legend of heroes IP, spanning four countries (Liberl, Crossbell, Erebonia and Calvard) and more than 10 games.
No matter where you start, know that you will definitely reach a point where you need knowledge about ALL of them to understand the main story. This is because all the stories are connected. Some games even happen simultaneously, just in different countries. Trails lore is also so broad that it needed to be addressed separately per series. If you liked a Trails game and would like some context for everything you’re missing, this is the correct order to play them.
How to play the Trails games in order
There is a proper order to play Trails. But for a long time, the community’s biggest problem was the inaccessibility of most of these titles in the West. In fact, Trail from Zero was only localized in 2022, when it contained integral characters from the Trails of Cold Steel series. If you are just getting into Trails, you are very lucky. Most of the games are available on modern consoles or on PC.
Liberl Arc (Paths in the Sky)
The Sky series follows the story of Estelle Bright and her adoptive brother Joshua, who are mercenaries (called “bracers” in the game) who work hard to maintain the autonomy of the country of Liberl from the Erebonian Empire.
- trails in the sky
- Paths in Heaven Second Chapter (SC)
- Trails in heaven the third
Related: The best JRPGs on Nintendo Switch
cross bell arch
Three months after the events of Trails in the Sky the 3rd, a new character is introduced: a rookie police detective named Lloyd Bannings. He heads the Special Support Section in the city of Crossbell, which is an independent state. Crossbell sits between the infamous Erebonian Empire and the secretive Republic of Calvard, so his sovereignty is always under threat.
- trails from scratch
- Trails to Azure
Erebonia Bow (Trails of Cold Steel)
Also known as the “main” arc of The Legend of Heroes series, the Cold Steel series follows the story of an Erebonian military student named Rean Schwarzer. The first and second games occur simultaneously with the Crossbell games.
After Cold Steel II, Rean graduates from the school and becomes an instructor for Thors in the next game. Trails of Cold Steel III takes place two years later, and features the main cast of Liberl and Crossbell. The main story of The Legend of Heroes ends with Trails of Cold Steel IV, which ties together most of the loose ends, lore, and character arcs left over from all previous games.
- trails of cold steel
- Traces of Cold Steel II
- Traces of Cold Steel III
- Traces of Cold Steel IV: End of the Saga
Related: The Best Final Fantasy Games, Ranked
Interlude and Calvard Arc
Paths to reverie is the next game to play in the series. It takes place five months after Trails of Cold Steel IV, and serves as the series’ epilogue and prequel to the following arc. All the main characters join this “last” mission, aided by a mysterious group.
Calvard Games is not localized yet, but you may have heard of its Japanese title: kuro no kiseki (説黎の軌跡) or literally “trails in the dark.” There are two of them currently, and the first game is said to be localized in 2023. However, no other information about it has been released so far.
Trails in the Dark is set a year after Trails into Reverie, and introduces a new protagonist named Van Arkride who works for the intelligence sector. He addresses Calvard postwar.
If you’re interested in anime-like, lore-heavy RPGs, check out Final Fantasy and Epic Seven in MyFullGames.