Game Reviews trails-of-the-cold-steel-1

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel Review – Arise to Become Foundation of the World

| By: Dyla

General Information:

  • System                                       : Playstation 3 / Playstation Vita
  • Release Date                           : December 22, 2015
  • Publisher/Publisher            : Falcom / XSEED
  • Main Series                               : The Legend of Heroes

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel is Role Playing Game from Falcom as one of The Legend of Heroes franchise (Kiseki Series in Japan). This series maybe was not as popular as Final Fantasy or Persona series in Japan and west but Legend of Heroes has quite big fan base in gaming world. This game has heavy-focused story, ATB with tactic system, and many unique characters. I feel so ashamed didn’t recognize this game so soon. As your information, I played this on Playstation Vita.

You can watch the trailer below

STORY

Rean Schwarzer, like any other citizen of the Imperial nation, is no stranger to these rising conflicts: the class system has been deeply interwoven into the tapestry of Ereboniann culture since the days of old. As a seventeen-year-old student preparing for his new life at Thors Military Academy, however, he notices that his crimson uniform differs from the standard outfits issued to his peers—typically green for commoners, and white for nobles.

Enter, Class VII of Thors Military Academy. For the first time in the prestigious academy’s history, rank means nothing and skill means everything. With nine hand-picked students of various backgrounds and abilities, Rean included, Class VII readies itself to dive deep into the political quagmire that threatens not only them, but the very foundations of the Empire.

trails-of-the-cold-steel-13The main focus in this game is school life. Mostly, because the main characters is high-school student. There are school activities, field trip even exam. When their free time they had extracurricular activity, each one of them. But this is not the ordinary school life. As the story goes, I saw more complex and interesting plot. The story wasn’t just the student but also, the Empire, The Nobles and the history of Erebonian Empire.

The story really intriguing me to keep going as the each chapter end with cliffhanger, even the last chapter end with bizarre “To be Continued”. This game is planned to be trilogy just like Trails of the Sky (first series of The Legend of Heroes) so the story will continue directly to the sequel. It’s reminds me like .Hack series a lot. This really make me want to play sequel ASAP.

Score: 5

Characters

The main characters are the students of class VII. They had their own background and stories. Each of them wield unique weapon and skill in battle.

Rean Schwarzer

trails-of-the-cold-steel-9A good-natured young man, Rean is starting a new chapter of his life at Thors Military Academy. Although often broadsided by the strangeness of the school’s student body, he takes it all in stride, proving a trustworthy friend and ally to his classmates. Trained in the Eastern Eight Leaves One Blade style of swordsmanship, Rean performs his techniques with a saber-like sword called a tachi.

 

Alisa R

trails-of-the-cold-steel-8Alisa is a friendly and capable girl who’s not afraid to hold a grudge if you get on her bad side. While she doesn’t share much of her personal life with the rest of Class VII, her knowledge of business and technology often comes in handy, and her keen archery skills make her a valuable asset in battle.

 

 

Elliot Craig

trails-of-the-cold-steel-7A gentle-hearted boy whose openness allows him to become fast friends with just about anyone. He has a deep interest in music and fights using an orbal staff, an advanced weapon currently in the prototype stages of development.

 

 

 

Laura S. Arseid

trails-of-the-cold-steel-6As the only daughter of the renowned Arseid line, famous for their school of swordfighting, Laura has been raised steeped in the knightly tradition. But while she’s a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield with her massive greatsword, the academy’s halls can pose just as much of a challenge.

 

 

Jusis Albarea

trails-of-the-cold-steel-1The second son of Duke Albarea, one of the Empire’s most powerful nobles. Jusis’ status ensures students from Erebonian’s well-to-do families will flock to him hoping to gain his favor, but he doesn’t especially seem to enjoy the attention. Jusis fights with the nimble technique of court fencing, a style favored by the country’s aristocracy.

 

 

Machias Regnitz

trails-of-the-cold-steel-5Machias possesses a keen and intelligent mind, making him one of the academy’s top performers. He also possesses a vitriolic hate for the Empire’s noble class and no hesitation to make that opinion known, which has a tendency of getting him into trouble. He fights with a high-powered orbal shotgun.

 

 

Fie Claussell

trails-of-the-cold-steel-3Taciturn and mysterious, Fie exhibits an aptitude for combat far beyond her years when she’s on the battlefield. On campus, though, she’s either uninterested in her classes or too lazy to put any effort into them. She’s equipped with a pair of gunswords which, combined with her natural agility, allow her to quickly strike enemies both up close and at a distance.

 

 

Emma Millstein

trails-of-the-cold-steel-4A polite and gracious demeanor belies Emma’s status as perhaps the academy’s brightest student. Not content with just the top score on the entrance exam, she regularly tops the charts on midterms as well. Emma serves as Class VII’s president, and like Elliot, fights with a prototype orbal staff.

 

 

Gaius Worzel

trails-of-the-cold-steel-2An exchange student from the Nord Highlands on the Empire’s northern border. Gaius came to Thors wanting to learn more about Erebonian and the world, both to discover his place in it, and to help safeguard his homeland. He wields a unique cross-shaped spear, a weapon as foreign to the Empire as he is.

 

 

This game has huge characters and I like the characters design in Legend of Heroes. Not only the main and important sub-characters but the NPCs had their own stories and characterization. This is made them unforgettable. All these class VII has various personality. Some characters annoying at first, but as I know them latter on, they became likeable characters.

Score: 5

Gameplay

Trails of Cold Steel features turn-based combat coupled with an Active Time Bar system. Displayed in the upper left-hand corner during battle, the “AT Bar” will show the turn order for both enemies and allies alike. Move anywhere on the field, disturb the turn order with arts that bolster or lower speed, use crafts to delay an enemy’s turn, and take advantage of the various status effects shown along the AT Bar.

trails-of-the-cold-steel-7 trails-of-the-cold-steel-8

Members of Class VII can take advantage of dozens of attack, defense, and healing spells – known as arts – or execute advanced combat skills known as crafts that are unique to each character. Characters will gain new crafts by leveling up, and throughout the story, they’ll each learn an S-Craft – a special ultimate attack that, when ready, can be triggered at any time, even disregarding the current turn order. This S-Crafts could chain with all main party at once.

trails-of-the-cold-steel-12 trails-of-the-cold-steel-10

Because this is the first Legend of Heroes series that I played, I didn’t quite familiar with the orbment system. But fortunatly, this system didn’t too difficult to understand. Members of Class VII are able to equip a single master quartz, quartz which gains experience and levels up with the player. Each master quartz comes with its own arts and status boosters ranging from extra speed to being able to instantly recover from K.O. once during battle, and they unlock even more benefits as they level up. I could mix and match master quartz as I found them in the game.

trails-of-the-cold-steel-9 trails-of-the-cold-steel-3

In the beginning of this game the party member is fixed for the four characters. In the latter chapter there will be more characters that could I chose to the battle. And I could chose freely in the middle of battle as many time as I want. There also a combat links, a system where two characters are directly connected during battle. Every character has the potential to level up a unique combat link with every other party member. Earn enough Bravery Points and you’ll be able to perform a Link Rush with a single partner, or even a Link Burst with the entire party.

Score: 5

Graphic and Sound

trails-of-the-cold-steel-14

The graphic looks stunning and colorful even when I played this on PSVita. The background like in the city didn’t feel empty, many object and NPCs around. But this made FPS drop sometimes when walked. Not just FPS drop but this game just crash sometimes, especially when went to new place or dungeon, it’s annoying, really annoying. Fortunately this game has save anywhere feature, so I didn’t need to start in beginning dungeon again, if I remember to save.

The music is good and really matched with the mood and the place. I like the English VO as well. It is not that great but the VA did a great job here. The main characters has fully voice in the main story. There was a glitch in the sound too that sometime the voice didn’t match with text box.

Score: 2

Additional Appeal

In their field study, class VII will visit many cities in Erebonian Empire. The place has their unique environment and each one of the city really feel different. Sadly, the city outside Trista just one-time visit only. That is why there are many missable in this game. But this game has new game+ that could carry all your progress to the new game so I could got anything that miss in the first playthrough.

trails-of-the-cold-steel-4

Each chapter there will be a free day for Rean. This day, Rean can spend some of his free time to do a quest from the students on campus and the citizens of Trista. Sometime there will be hidden quest too. In the middle of quest Rean also can spend the time to hang out with another classmate in exclusive bonding events, which not only helps to level up Rean’s Combat Link with other characters in battle, but also helps you get to know them on a deeper, more personal level. This bonding event has limit points, I couldn’t do all at first playthrough. The second or more new game+ is necessary to see all bonding event and max up link level.

trails-of-the-cold-steel-5 trails-of-the-cold-steel-6

This game also has many minigames. There a Fishing for collecting many kind of fish, Card game when spend time in the train and then cooking. Cooking is a great way to whip up unique healing items that can use in battle, and every member of Class VII has different culinary specialties. The recipes could be obtained from quest reward or from NPCs.

Score: 4

Replay Value

trails-of-the-cold-steel-15

Like I said before, this game needs to play again and again if you want complete all content. When  the beat the game the first time the new difficulty “Nightmare” will unlocked. All your progress in the last playthrough could be carry over even it needs point but it should be enough for second play. When play new game+ the second time, the point will be increased and you could trade it with costume set.

Score: 4

Summary

+ Interesting Story with great plot twist

+ Unforgettable characters

+ Complex but fun gameplay

– Game Crash a lot

– Too Linier

FINAL SCORE: 4.5/5

Conclusion

Too linier for me is because the one-time visit only city. I just could hang out freely in Trista. That’s why it feel wasted we couldn’t visit it again, another RPG could do that even in the last chapter. Other than FPS drop and game crash, this game is really great. I really like the game that focus in the characters that I could know their background story and even the villain motive. This is why I still play it through the end.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel already released in US region for PlayStation 3 and PS Vita.

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About the author

A JRPG lover but like another genre as long as is fun and easy to play.

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