Title (JP): Eiyuu Densetsu: Sen no Kiseki I: Kai -Thors Military Academy 1204- (英雄伝説 閃の軌跡I：改-Thors Military Academy 1204-)
Developer: Nihon Falcom
Publisher: Nihon Falcom (JP)
Release date: 8 Mar 2018 (JP)
This review was written based on the Japanese release of the game, and may not reflect changes made to versions released in other regions.
The Eiyuu Densetsu series has long-running roots, beginning with Dragon Slayer: Eiyuu Densetsu for PC-8800 home computers in 1988, which was itself the sixth installment in the Dragon Slayer series. The setting used in Sen III, however, was first introduced in Eiyuu Densetsu VI: Sora no Kiseki (later retroactively subtitled “FC”, for “First Chapter”, as it was the first of two parts) for the PC in 2004. VI spanned three titles – Sora no Kiseki FC, Sora no Kiseki SC, and Sora no Kiseki the 3rd – Which were initially released on PC then subsequently ported to multiple platforms, and were eventually released in English by Xseed Games under the title The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky. This trilogy was followed up by a duology – Eiyuu Densetsu: Zero no Kiseki and Eiyuu Densetsu: Ao no Kiseki (though initially promoted as Eiyuu Densetsu VII, the numbering of titles was later dropped) for the PSP, later ported to the Vita – and then by Eiyuu Densetsu: Sen no Kiseki and Eiyuu Densetsu: Sen no Kiseki II for the PS3. Sen no Kiseki III for the PS4, released in 2017, was the thirteenth instalment in the Eiyuu Densetsu series, the eighth instalment in the Kiseki series, and the third instalment in the Sen no Kiseki series (excluding spinoffs like the online browser game Akatsuki no Kiseki), and while the older Eiyuu Densetsu games are entirely disconnected from the Kiseki series’ world, the Kiseki series’ games’ stories are all deeply connected, which results in a higher hurdle for new players wanting to start on the series. The decision to re-release the first two Sen games for the PS4, making it so that the entire Sen series (including IV, which has not been released) can be played on one console, means that it is now easier for new players to jump in.
The story of Sen no Kiseki, taking place in the Erebonian empire referenced in previous games, begins with protagonist Rean Schwarzer enrolling in Thors Military Academy, and the game takes place over half a year of his life there as he and the people around him get drawn into a web of conspiracy that spans the entire country. The game is clearly split into sequences- A few days at the academy which serves as the player’s hub, with clearly defined NPCs that have their own stories going on in the background, and then a few days at a field study taking place at a locale somewhere else in the empire which is typically where the plot advances, each of which is completely unique and interesting.
Sen no Kiseki I: Kai is mostly a direct port of the original PS3 game, with the only major changes being support for 4K graphics and the addition of a way to double the speed of the game outside of combat, and quadruple it in combat. Unfortunately, the game also has a major technical issue with draw distances, which is highly noticeable, as gigantic objects will instantly pop into view or vanish depending on the player’s distance to them, with the distance being ridiculously short. Saves can be imported from the PS3, and having a save from Sen no Kiseki III will also give the player enough bonuses to make the game seem like a subsequent playthrough, meaning that series fans who no longer have PS3s can still blast through the story easily if they wish to.
Ultimately, Sen no Kiseki I: Kai is little more than a direct port of the original game. The draw distance issue is not game-breaking, but the improved graphics and speed toggle are not game-changing either. It is very much the same game.
The Good: It’s the same game.
The Bad: It’s the same game.
Conclusion: Little more than a direct port of Sen no Kiseki for the PS3, there is little to offer to players who already played that title: Kai is mainly for people wishing to jump into the series for the first time, or hardcore fans who want to be able to play it again on the PS4.