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The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel (PS3) Review

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel is a captivating RPG experience and shouldn’t be missed by fans of the genre.

Our story opens up in the country of Erebonia a vast empire that has a deep rooted political conflict burning across the nation. 

Players take on the role of Rean Schwarzer who has enrolled at Thors Military Academy and is part of the newly established class called: Class VII. As Rean and his classmates conduct monthly field studies as part of their curriculum, they begin to realize and see with their own eyes just how serious the problems of Erebonia are. 

The Trails series is affectionately known as a ‘Story RPG’ because of its strong ability to create well-developed plot lines, worlds, and characters. While the storytelling of Trails of Cold Steel slowly progresses, it was a joy to watch Class VII mature and strengthen their resolve in themselves and in each other, while working together as a team to put the crisis occurring in Erebonia to rest.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel is a turn-based RPG with a mix of school life and world exploration. During the school life portion of the game, players can bond with each of their classmates to increase their combat link levels, and get to know that particular character.

The story advances when the player completes story quests, however, it is encouraged that they also complete the optional quests so that they can reap the rewards later.

The turn-based battle system is more streamlined than the previous titles in the Trails series since orbments have gotten a major overhaul. Orbments are mechanical devices called ARCUS and allow you to install crystals in them to learn a variety of arts. To get these crystals you have to create them from the sepith that you get from battling monsters, as well as opening slots of the ARCUS units so that characters can have more arts to utilize.

Game Tip: It’s recommended that you open the slots of the ARCUS of each character early on, so the rest of your sepith that you gain can be used to create more powerful crystals. This is also helpful since your battle party will be constantly changing throughout the game until the final chapter. 

As I mentioned earlier combat links affect the tide of battle and as their level increases more benefits become available such as a character taking a blow for you, healing you and much more. It is recommended that you spend time with your classmates so you can have that edge in battle.

Another way players can have an edge in battle is by stunning an enemy on the field with the character’s weapon. However as I tried experimenting with each character’s weapon, I found that Laura’s and Millium’s weapons were the most effective in stunning enemies.

My favourite part of the turn-based combat is the S crafts. S crafts are special super  moves that each character learns as the story progresses and it is capable of cutting in  an enemy’s turn and stealing turn bonuses from them. 

 Keep in mind that in a Trails game there is always so much to see and do so don’t be  afraid to let loose and explore!

This is the first game in the series to be released in 3D and it is gorgeous. The detailing of the world, at first, has a peaceful feel to it, but beneath that peaceful exterior, you can tell that something big is happening. In my case, while the graphics are pleasing to the eye and it helps bring the story to life, the graphics weren’t my main concern. It was the quality of writing.

The writing itself was very polished from beginning to end and it’s clear that XSEED Games poured their whole heart and soul into making this the best localization it can be, however I did notice some minor spelling errors and considering that the Trails series has a lot of text to be translated into English, it’s natural that some minor errors do slip through. 

The soundtrack is composed by Falcom Sound Team JDK and if Falcom is known for anything besides their rich and deep stories, it would be the music. Each piece of music captures Erebonia perfectly. I found myself just staying in a dungeon for hours and listening to the background music because I didn’t want to progress the story and have that piece of music end.

The voice acted events in the story are also well done, but inconsistent. For example there are a few instances where a character will be voiced and speaking to Rean, and his responses aren’t voiced in return, so players will have to read the replies he gives to the character. It is to my understanding that the Japanese version of the game was the same way, and I thought that mixing voiced and unvoiced parts together in a scene was odd but easily forgiven. 

Final Thoughts: The Legend of Heroes Trails series is a set of duologies that covers an arc. Trails of Cold Steel covers the arc of Erebonia, and you can start here if this is your first time getting to know the series. However for those that played the previous titles such as Trails in the Sky FC and SC which covered the Liberl arc you will see some familiar faces.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel has been such an experience and has really given my mind a workout. I recommend this RPG to anyone who has the time to sit through a very deep story. It is one of my games for 2016!





About Nadia

Hey! I'm Nadia! I am a big fan of RPGs and you can almost always catch me playing one in my spare time. Writing is my passion, and my intention is that you all learn something through my work!

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