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Default The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel

August 12th, 2017, 06:18
Among the nations on the Zemurian continent, the mighty Erebonian Empire has been quick to outwardly stake its claim militarily; yet politically, ugly bouts of internal conflict between the upper class and commoners attempting to rise to power have been steadily intensifying day by day. The Noble and Reformist Factions have been none too kind to one another over the years, and tensions between the two only stand to worsen if compromises aren’t made in the very near future.

Rean Schwarzer, like any other citizen of the Imperial Nation, is no stranger to these rising conflicts: the class system has been deeply embedded into the hearts of every Erebonian 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 ones 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 Empire as a whole.

Taking place on the same continent as the fan favorite Trails in the Sky offshoot of Nihon Falcom’s storied The Legend of Heroes franchise, Trails of Cold Steel (Sen no Kiseki in Japanese) is the first in the series to tread Erebonian soil and explore the inner political conflicts of this oft-mentioned powerhouse nation in detail. Delve into the expansive lore that has become synonymous with the series, enjoy school life and bond with fellow students to earn new abilities in battle, take advantage of speedy, tactical turn-based combat with the newly-developed “ARCUS” system, and uncover dramatic events that stand to change everything these two opposing social classes stand for.

KEY FEATURES
  • A World Rich in Depth for Veterans and Newcomers Alike
    The events of Trails of Cold Steel are expertly told so that longtime Trails veterans and casual RPG fans alike can equally enjoy its detailed, highly nuanced storyline.
  • New Link System Adds Depth to Combat
    Take advantage of the Combat Link System by bonding with your allies throughout the school year, netting you a variety of combat benefits including healing, guarding and more.
  • A Sleek Update to a Classic Growth Mechanic
    Trails of Cold Steel streamlines the classic “Orbment” magic system from previous titles with new “ARCUS” units, allowing for more ready access to abilities and quicker customization.
  • Experience the Game as Never Before
    50% more lines of English voice-overs have been added to the PC release, bringing a fresh experience to even those who have played it before on console.
More information.
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August 12th, 2017, 16:25
I'm on the final chapter of this game currently, so no numbered score till I'm done. Perhaps I'll "forget" a thing to mention but here it is from me:

Masterful:
- PC port is perhaps the best port of a game from inferior hardware so far
- K+M controls
- turbo mode
- the only jRPG I played where english voiceover isn't cringeworthy

Good:
- leveldesign
- fishing minigame capped so fish doesn't respawn endlessly and you can't grind it
- quite a few bosses are challenging on your first normal playthrough (if you won't abuse arc craft)
- story twists

Also good, but Trails in the Sky has much better:
- characters, villains, drama and general story progression
- music
- quartz system, there is no "sepith tetris" in Cold Steel

Bad:
- grinding is necessary for $, achievements and leveling links/masterquartz
- many optional and all hidden quests are timed
- graphics is just a bit better than decade(s) old Gothic
- cooking is not RPG skill but is fixed and you cannot improve it
- pixelhunt for fishing spots and smashed boxes' loot
- loading savegame from here in the sequel (not ported yet on PC, expected by the end of this year) doesn't give buffs only for all sidequests/hiddenquests finished, it also checks for your level which you need to grind up then and also apparently based on your choice in this game who you'll take to festival you can't go another (b)romance in the sequel (rechecked this last part, it's not true, in ToCS2 you can romance anyone regardless of the first game)

Atrocious aka fire from industry whomever decided to put it in this game:
- swimming minigame which is worst QTE fest I've ever seen
- pay2win DLC (bait gems that summon a trashmob that grant tons of XP)
- NG+ is necessary to complete masterquartz collection and to see all of the most interesting bonding cutscenes


Overall, the game is good, just not as great as TitS was. For example TitS discouraged grinding. ToCS encourages it.

[EDIT]
Finished it. Nothing to add above except the concert event sucks, they should have made it better. And twists. Game finale is full of unexpected twists.

ToCS in IMO above average game, but it's inferor hardware roots didn't do it any favor, I can't call it a musthave game. If you decide to buy this game, you won't be disappointed, just don't expect a masterpiece.

7/10
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Last edited by joxer; August 14th, 2017 at 15:05.
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August 13th, 2017, 00:33
And yet I didn't grind one bit when I played Trails of Cold Steel.
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August 13th, 2017, 02:37
I wouldn't either if norespawn mod existed for this game and if Rean's level didn't matter in the sequel.
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September 11th, 2017, 02:52
Sorry for bumping this up.
I still stand by 7/10. But it's… The game soundtrack.

There is so called super arrange version of game OST. For everyone out there who adores symphonic rock as much as I do, it is a must buy. Here's one score from it:
loading…


If these arrangements were used in the game, I'd have put a better score - as these would feel like home in PC port.
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