Trails of Cold Steel has recently released on PS4 as the Definitive Edition, including some very interesting features for new and returning players. Find out more about this JRPG gem in our The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel review!
Trails of games are usually presented as long-running story arks. For instance, the Trails in the Sky series has three installments, and Trails of Cold Steel has, so far, four confirmed entries . Cold Steel and Cold Steel II already released in the West on the PlayStation 3 and Vita a few years ago, and now the first one is out on PS4. Codl Steel II on PS4 is releasing on May 7th, with Cold Steel III (which has never released in the West) releasing in September, so now is the best time to pick up that series just in time before the other two entries arrive!
As for the context, the Trails of Cold Steel series takes place during a time of turmoil between the aristocracy and the reformists, which are in fact the “common” people. The tension between the four noble families and the reformist faction is rising, and thus, the peace of the Erebonian Empire is at risk due to the possibility of a civil war breaking out.
Cold Steel is set in Thors Military Academy, in the Erebonian Empire, and you’ll be participating and controlling Class VII, which includes students who have been specially chosen regardless of their social status, which of course will lead to internal tensions. The events in Cold Steel takes place in Septian Calendar year 1204, which is two years after the events of Trails in the Sky, but like I mentioned earlier, Cold Steel features a different story so apart some returning characters here and there, you’re not missing much if this is your first Trails of game.
Being a Japanese-RPG, you can expect to have a fair share of battles in Trails of Cold Steel. Class VII members have four main attacks that can be used in battle: Crafts, S Crafts, Arts and their standard weapon attacks. Crafts are unique skills to each member, and S Crafts are super strong skills that reminded me of Limit Breaks in the Final Fantasy universe. Craft and S Craft skills require Craft Points (CP), but if you are running low, you can use your standard weapon attacks to refill your CP meter.
Arts are basically magical abilities that are used for attacking enemies or supporting other characters. Arts are chosen with Quartz set on an Orbment, like in previous Trails games. Some quartz are given to you right at the start of the game, but most of them will either be found in chests or will require that you build them yourself. Different abilities are available depending on the combination of quartz in your orbment, so it was definitely fun to try and see what was the best combination depending on the characters I had chosen in battle!
The very best feature of this battle system is the ability to link characters together. Once two characters are linked, the second character can attack after the first finished has hit, and they can share other attacking or healing benefits! And the link can be leveled further so more options become available as you progress.
Trails of Cold Steel features a lot of side-quests and completing them nets you Academic Points (AP). There are 15 ranks from B7 up to A0 and increasing in rank will give you perks from the Academy.
As for the new PlayStation 4 version, this already incredible game has gotten even better, with the inclusion of better graphics and textures, 60 FPS, and up to a 4K resolution, and nearly no loading at all even on a standard PlayStation 4. The save-anywhere feature is still present, so you can play as much or as little as you want to. This game has been developed by Nihon Falcom, and if you’re used to reading my reviews, you’ll know that this developer features amazing soundtracks, and this one is no exception.
New for this version is the inclusion of dual audio, so you can switch between English and Japanese voice-overs as you wish, but switching to Japanese would mean then missing the amazing voice acting of the English version, and double kudos for the voice actor of Sara, which is downright one of the best voice acting I’ve heard in gaming, period.
A new Turbo mode has been added, and when activated by the press of R2, dramatically speeds up the normal gameplay 2x, and the battles goes at 4x speed. This is ideal for griding, and since it can be turned on and off in real-time, it’s easy to breeze through some battles and revert it when you want to enjoy the fight. Cold Steel also features transferring your original game save from the PS3/Vita to the PlayStation 4 version, but quite honestly I tried it and it didn’t work, so maybe I got unlucky there.
If you’re played the previous release of Trails of Cold Steel and want to stack new easy trophies, you’ll be out of luck since every release of the Trails of Cold Steel shares the same trophy list. Platinuming this game won’t be too challenging, but will require a lot of time (100h+) in order to achieve everything.
I’ve loved the Trails Of series since I’ve played Trails in the Sky 5 years ago. I’m really happy the Cold Steel series that this game released on a current console so more gamers gets to play it, and since we’re getting the two following installments in the next 6 months, this is a bliss for players to start right now, and be up to speed when Cold Steel III releases in September. I highly recommend this game if you’re looking for a lengthy Japanese-RPG with a good story, a great battle system and an amazing soundtrack!
PSN Game Size: 5GB
This The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by XSEED Games.