Game Details
Developer Nihon Falcom
Publisher NIS America
Available on PS4 · Nintendo Switch · PC
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch
Release Date March 14, 2023

It still feels wild that we had four Trails games announced during the Falcom 40th anniversary concert. NIS America and Falcom have now released two of those with Trails from Zero last year and Trails to Azure this week across PS4, Nintendo Switch, and PC platforms. Trails to Azure originally debuted in Japan in 2011 on PSP as Ao no Kiseki before seeing a PS4 release a few years ago as Ao no Kiseki Kai. The PC and Nintendo Switch versions of Trails to Azure have been handled by PH3 just like Trails from Zero. Thanks to that, Trails to Azure on Switch feels more like an enhanced remaster of the PS4 version with many new features and upgrades. While a lot of the improvements and additions in the Switch version of Trails to Azure are the same as Trails from Zero, this version includes everything from day one. For this Trails to Azure Switch review, I’m going to cover those differences and why this is worth your time as one of the best RPGs of the year.

trails to azure switch review

Before getting into the improvements and enhancements or the Switch conversion itself, Trails to Azure is not a great entry point into the world of Trails if you’re a newcomer. Trails from Zero from last year serves as the best entry point into Falcom’s massive series for Nintendo Switch owners. If you’ve never played a game in the series before, you’ve been missing out on a fantastic narrative, but the Crossbell Duology of Trails from Zero to Azure is an essential for RPG fans in general.

Until Trails from Zero, PH3 has been responsible for PC releases of Trails and Ys games. Beginning with Trails from Zero, the developer tackled the Switch version as well, and also worked on Trails to Azure. The PS4 release from Falcom in Japan served as the base for Trails to Azure for PC and Switch. I’ve done a detailed comparison of all platforms which you can read here. While Trails from Zero was patched with additional features post-launch, Trails to Azure arrives with everyone right from the start. This includes the dynamic shadows, water shader, BGM information option, anti-aliasing, and more. All the existing improvements in Trails from Zero are also present here.

Trails to Azure Switch with dynamic shadows (left) vs PS4 on PS5 without any dynamic shadows (right)

If you’ve not kept up with how Trails games are on Nintendo Switch, Trails of Cold Steel III and IV are best on PS4 (or PS5) on the console side, but Trails from Zero to Azure are both a lot better on Nintendo Switch. This is because of massive visual upgrades across textures and new interface options on Switch. There are also new quality of life features and added visual options not present on PS4. Like Trails from Zero, I have no qualms in calling Trails to Azure the gold standard JRPG port for Switch.

Games like Dragon Quest XI S saw many new features and added content on Switch, but there was a clear visual downgrade. With Trails from Zero to Azure, even the visuals are upgraded over PS4. Some of the features that have been regulars in PH3’s PC ports are also present on Switch in Trails from Zero to Azure like being able to skip intro logos to save time and boot up your save quickly. PH3 really went above and beyond with this duology on Switch.

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Just like Trails from Zero, Trails to Azure does have a few flaws though. If you got into the series through the Cold Steel games, the visuals here are going to take some time to get used to. The improvements and cleaned up textures help make it a nicer experience, but it is a remaster of a PSP game at its core after all. The other issue is the lack of English voice acting. This isn’t surprising going by Trails from Zero, but it is something to keep in mind. I was surprised at how much voice acting is included in Trails to Azure in general though, and most of the Japanese dub is excellent. Barring that, my main issue is with one specific late game dungeon that felt like it lacked focus. The whole game has great pacing, but this one dungeon felt like it was wasting my time towards the end.

trails to azure switch review

The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero and Trails to Azure on Nintendo Switch are both the gold standards of how older games should be brought to Nintendo Switch. The improvements and upgrades over the PS4 versions are massive, and PH3 took things a step further to even add options we’d usually see only in a PC release. The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero to Azure is an essential duology for every RPG fan on Nintendo Switch. Hopefully we see a similar quality release for the upcoming The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie.

Switch port review: This Trails to Azure Switch review focusses on the Nintendo Switch version and port quality of the newest Nihon Falcom Trails game that has arrived in the West on PS4, Nintendo Switch, and Steam simultaneously. Read my PC review of Trails to Azure here.