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Nihon Falcom is known for their amazingly engrossing role-playing games that are addictive both in terms of gameplay and narrative.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel, is a compelling role-playing game executed brilliantly in the single-player JRPG style that has come to dominate the genre.
In this review, I’m going to talk about what I liked – and didn’t like – about The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel. I’ll talk about the gameplay, graphics, sound, story, and total package. Overall, I want to give you some idea of whether or not this installment of The Legend of Heroes is right for you.
Starting with the gameplay, the battle system here is fairly straight forward. One new addition is the Tactical Link system. This means that party members can follow up and link together attacks for maximum damage and reward combos. It adds an interesting element to the standard combat that we’ve known and loved but it doesn’t change it in such a fundamental way that you can’t play the game the same way as in the past. Sometimes when developers introduce a new mechanic, it ruins the experience for others and that’s not what we’ve got here. You won’t be forced to master the Tactical Link System but it does add a new and compelling layer of depth to the combat.
What are we looking at in terms of a plot and story in Trails of Cold Steel? The real question with sequels is whether or not new players need to know about what happened in the past. We can safely say that, in this game, the answer is a firm no. While this is the first entry into the Trails of Cold Steel arc, it is not the first in the overall Legend of Heroes story line. But that never felt like a barrier to entry, in fact, this first title is what personally got me hooked into the Legend of Heroes universe.
You can thoroughly enjoy Trails of Cold Steel without any reference to previous games and what happened in them. Would it make sense to familiarize yourself with them? It depends on how much lore means to you as a gamer. We can say this much: There are mountains of text and tons of websites out there dedicated to this series and its games. You won’t be lost should you find yourself confused by something when it comes to plot. In this regard, Trails of Cold Steel is the perfect entry point for gamers that want to dip their toes into a deeper universe of material.
To close off the story segment of this review, what some may consider the con of this game is most likely what has me so drawn in. That being that the overall storyline is very long. this isnt a full story start to finish that you’ll have 70 hours later. While some areas of the story may seem a bit slow at times, the length of the story and all its sequels, including games before it, gives ample opportunity for character and world building and this is where Nihon Falcom knocks it out of the park. After you finish Trails of Cold Steel, you’ll likely find yourself geniunely interested in what the rest of the Legend of Heroes universe has to offer.
Sound and Conclusion
Music and sound back up the narrative and are appropriately bright and orchestral as well as moody and dark when needed. Overall, everything works in Trails of Cold Steel and that’s all anyone really asks for at the end of the day. Is it triple-A material?
It depends on how you define that, for me its quickly become my favorite series, Nihon Falcom’s decision to stick with what works translates into a game series that is sometimes predictable but never boring. I can wholeheartedly say all JRPG fans should give this series a chance.
General RPG fans might want to do some investigation first but, as a final verdict, I think that The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel is a total winner. A great game that has a huge story and tons of content – can you ask for anything better?