[PS4] The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III Review
It was a long wait, but Trails of Cold Steel III is finally here! Learn more about the highly anticipated sequel in our The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III review!
It’s been more than three years since the release of The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II on PlayStation 3, but for those of you who didn’t get to play it back then, it’s only been a few months since said game released as an improved and revamped edition on PlayStation 4. This sequel takes place a year and a half since the end of The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II. For The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III, you’ll actually be acting as an instructor for the new members of Class VII. As you can imagine, they are very much surprised to see a hero as one of the instructors in the Thor’s Academy branch campus… a campus that is not what you think it is. It turns out that all of those sent to the branch campus, faculty included, have been sent there because they’re considered to be a bit problematic.
If for some reason, you haven’t played the first two games in the series – which you should since on top of being available on PlayStation 3 they’re also out on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita – The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III features a story summary section so that you can learn more about the series. There is a story summary for Trails of Cold Steel as well as a separate summary for its sequel. You also get character profiles so that you can find out more about Class VII, allies, and other characters in the series. You will also get to learn about the world, the countries of Zemuria, the major cities of Erebonia, and more.
You can play the game in one of five difficulty settings so that you can tailor your run based on your experience with the JRPG genre. There’s Very Easy in which battles are straightforward, allowing you to focus on and enjoy the game’s story. When playing in Easy battles will still be more casual than usual, but it does offer a bit more of a challenge. Normal is the standard setting for the game, and it’s aimed at those with experience playing JRPG. For Hard, the battles will have enemies dish out a ton of damage by having them make the most of their attacks and special skills. And then there’s Nightmare, in which making the smallest of mistakes is going to cost you – avoid this one unless you have a ton of experience with JRPG and are aware of how the battle system for Trails of Cold Steel III works.
Before you enter battle, you might want to try and hit enemies so that you can gain an advantage. If you walk up to an opponent from behind, you will gain a single advantage. Hit an opponent with a regular attack to stun it, and you will gain a double advantage. But if you press the R2 button, you will unleash a special field attack. Do this to hit an enemy out on the field, and you will gain a triple advantage, which will greatly help your odds of defeating your opponents for that particular battle.
During battle, you will get to decide what each of your party members does. You can use items, swap characters, change your position, or run from battle if needed. You will have regular attacks, as well as Arts and Crafts. Arts are similar to magical skills you might have seen in other JRPG, and they are separated into attack Arts or Support Arts. Activating them will require you to use some of your EP. Crafts are special abilities that will deal considerable damage to opponents, and they will require you to use CP to activate them. You also have S-Craft, which are even more powerful, but will require a lot of CP and will also set that character back a bit in the attack order.
You see, there’s a section on the left part of the screen that shows the order in which each party member and each enemy will get their turn. Depending on the actions you and your enemies take – if you use a regular attack, an Arts or a Craft – characters will be rearranged as the battle progresses. Will you use a more powerful Arts that will need to charge up before being unleashed, thus costing you a turn? Or will you decide to have all party members use regular attacks so that you can evaluate your next step in battle? You need to pay attention to the changes in turn order because if someone misses an attack and is within range of its target, an automatic counterattack will initiate, dealing considerable damage.
Since some Arts and Crafts have an area of effect, you will also need to keep this into consideration so that you can make the most of them by lining up several enemies before unleashing them. Arts are a bit more peculiar due to their whole “charge up before being able to unleash it” thing, but hopefully, you’re lucky, and enemies end up piling up on one of your party members right before, and arts with a circular area of effect is unleashed. More powerful Arts will be harder to lineup, but when they hit, your opponents are going to feel it!
As you fight, you might land a critical hit upon and opponent, and this will award you with one Brave Point. Depending on how many Brave Points you have, you will be able to follow up that particular attack with an Assist attack, a Rush attack, or a powerful Burst attack. These attacks will, in that order, involve more of your party members, and the more party members that join you in said attack, the more powerful the overall attack will be. Sometimes it’s best to save your Brave Point so that you can unleash a Burst attack later on – particularly during boss fights – so do keep that in mind.
Speaking of brave, while you’re in combat, you will also have the option of issuing Brave Orders. These will also cost Brave Points to be used, but they won’t count as taking a turn. By making good use of Brave Orders, you’ll be able to provide boosts to party members, raising their damage output, lowering the damage they can receive, restoring some of their hit points, giving them a CP boost, and more. Using the right Brave Order at the right time will be of great use to you.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III is everything you’d expect from the third entry in the series. It continues with the story of the first two games, bringing back characters from the first two games while also introducing a new cast of characters with distinct personalities. There’s a ton to do in this long JRPG, and once you’ve completed it, you can give it another go thanks to its New Game Plus option, perhaps selecting a higher difficulty option for that run so that you can put to good use the stuff you can carry over from your first run. The Trails of Cold Steel series has offered us dozens of hours of JRPG fun, and The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III does not disappoint on that front.
This The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by NIS America.