ukigusa My “issue” with the Trails series is similar. I’ve never met someone that just likes those games — everyone that is into them (i.e. played more than two or three) is a die-hard fan. Very interesting fanbase.
Trails in the Sky is like… Before Sunrise meets Grandia. It’s very talky and the characters have a lot of conversations that might not necessarily move the plot forward, but tell us a lot about makes them tick. There’s romance, there’s comedy, there’s drama. It took years to localize it and a heavy mental health toll on the localizers, but the result is impressive. The thing about Trails is there are like 12 games that take place within the same world, with new areas being introduced in each arc (Liberl, Crossbell, Erebonia, and Calvard) and so the worldbuilding is insanely deep and you build up a lot of memories tied to locations and music and it all picks up new meanings over time.
It’s a slow paced series, each chapter is like 10-12 hours, and a lot of it goes into vignettes about characters and telling us their backstories. But each game has some devastating plot twists and story beats and you keep peeling back layers of the onion. I’ve personally only played the Liberl arc and dipped a toe into Crossbell because it just demands so much time and investment. There’s probably some survivorship bias among the people who play even more than 1 game, because it just compels you to keep going.