The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel Image
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Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics What's this?

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7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 154 Ratings

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  • Summary: At the elite Thors Military Academy, Erebonias best and brightest learn everything from the art of war to the liberal arts. Rean Schwarzer, a new student, learns that hes been selected as a member of the newly-minted Class VII, made up of students from both noble and commoner backgrounds.At the elite Thors Military Academy, Erebonias best and brightest learn everything from the art of war to the liberal arts. Rean Schwarzer, a new student, learns that hes been selected as a member of the newly-minted Class VII, made up of students from both noble and commoner backgrounds.

    Class VII has no shortage of issues to overcome, but Rean and his classmates will have to work past their differences and hone their skills, because theyll need more than just top marks to make the grade theyll need to safeguard their country from those who would plunge it into war.

    - A World of Lore Return to the Zemurian continent, setting of the Trails in the Sky titles, with a new adventure for old and new fans alike.

    - Tactical Thinking Execute your strategies in exciting turn-based battles where timing and distance can make the difference between victory and defeat.

    - Combat Links Link any two characters in battle, enabling unique synergies between them.
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The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel - Battle Trailer
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 20
  2. Negative: 0 out of 20
  1. 95
    The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel is a godsend for Vita fans. At a time when support for the little handheld seems to be rapidly dwindling, here comes a role-playing masterpiece with all the right stuff: XSeed’s superior localization, which bypasses anime cliches in favor of real depth; an addictive set of life-sim mechanics, from bonding with the lovable cast to cooking a bevy of dishes; and a combat system that rewards customization and cooperation between party members.
  2. 85
    The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel has an old-timey feel to it while not getting lost in the novelty of that. Trails channels inspirations from the entire RPG timeline in subtle ways and brings it into a modern and progressive light. The PS3 and PS Vita are lucky to have this gem of an RPG in their library, even if it doesn’t push the hardware as it could.
  3. Mar 31, 2016
    85
    Ultimately, while Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel is a solid JRPG sure to be enjoyed by fans of the genre, it must be said that it doesn't break any new ground.
  4. Dec 24, 2015
    76
    Although it has several technical and graphical disappointments , it offers a very dense and precise combat system. With new elements such as cross-save between PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita, it manages to bring a classic gameplay with somehow decent visuals.
  5. May 31, 2016
    71
    Aimed at the most diehard fans of the JRPG, Trails of Cold Steel offers extensive experience, but chaotic at first sight.
  6. Jan 8, 2016
    70
    Despite my gripes with the game and the struggle to make it through achingly slow opening chapter, the care and detail that went into the game is clear to see, and I know there are JRPG fans that live to appreciate the kind of meticulous detail that this game contains.
  7. Jan 19, 2016
    60
    The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel had my attention and lost it.

See all 20 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 13
  2. Negative: 0 out of 13
  1. Feb 5, 2016
    10
    The game seems to me somewhat underrated. Its nothing special, music ok, graphics are great, story is god, it play well... additionally youThe game seems to me somewhat underrated. Its nothing special, music ok, graphics are great, story is god, it play well... additionally you can cook and fish. Well, while non of the game features are super special the add up nicely to one of the best (mobile) games I have ever played. It play well on the vita... if only the battery would last any longer... Expand
  2. Dec 28, 2015
    10
    Trails of Cold Steel is the 6th game in an ongoing "Story JRPG Series" made by Falcom.
    However due to the fact that the game is somewhat
    Trails of Cold Steel is the 6th game in an ongoing "Story JRPG Series" made by Falcom.
    However due to the fact that the game is somewhat current gen compared to the earlier games, this game may very well be the very first Trails game for many. That is fine because Cold Steel marks the beginning of the 3rd story arc of the Trails series and it is perfectly fine as a starting point.

    For those who are new to the series, think of this series as the JRPG version of a visual novel. The series has mastered the trifecta that many JRPGs this generation lacks: Characters, Setting, Plot.
    The gameplay and combat aims to complement the above strengths, it never gets in the way and takes a backseat but still manages to differentiate the series from visual novels by being very entertaining and somewhat addictive. The bonus here is the music, Team JDK makes great music and Trails series has been very consistent in that aspect. Playing this game with the sound off in public is not a cool thing to do.
    While this narrative-focused approach is not very popular in today's standards (compared to Tales of series that focuses much on combat, and XCX which focuses on exploration and combat), but it doesn't try to be. It has one cute little ambition: to create the most well written, continuous JRPG series. It is doing a bang up job at it so far.

    For those who have played Trails in the Sky games, expect the same quality of writing, lovable cast, and the level of depth as those games with a few changes:
    Firstly, this entry is the first "3D Transition" of the series featuring 3D Character models and abundant voice acting. It is nicely done and it will not take you long to get used to it.
    Another difference is strictly limited to this episode, and that's the school setting. While it really wouldn't work any other way for the sake of the story, the school setting can feel too formulaic and repetitive. A large contrast from Sky FC and SC's adventure style where you move from town to town, in Cold Steel 1 it is more like "Campus life -> Visit a town (via Train) -> Campus life -> Visit a town repeat", you will spend about 50% of the game on campus. You can definitely see some, no, a lot of resemblance to Persona in this entry.
    Lastly, Orbment is easier to set up and works slightly differently, trying to figure out what stacks in what ways is also pretty fun.

    As someone who has been in love with the series for the past decade and has been importing all of the games, I can say Xseed has done a great job on the localization. It is quite refreshing and worth another play through.
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  3. Mar 30, 2017
    9
    Started this game after Trails in the Sky, which is somehow a non-compulsory pre-requisite to get into the game's lore - but not necessarily.Started this game after Trails in the Sky, which is somehow a non-compulsory pre-requisite to get into the game's lore - but not necessarily. You can pick up some details along the way.

    So, my first hour in the game, man, I am impressed. I decided to buy TOCS II right away.
    There could be cheeky dialogues that could get a little cringe-worthy but don't let it turn you off. It's a fun filled 40-80 hour journey.

    The graphics were fantastic, it could go a little better since some textures could use some work (but on a vita it's just great). The blurring and depth of field effect went effective for me. Overall visuals were great, the anime style just captured it.

    Gameplay wise, it is a generic JRPG with added spices and improvements. Loading times is quite slow, 2-5 seconds loading between battle encounters, 3-8 seconds loading to different maps, 4-10 seconds for cut-scenes - this were the actual mean of loading times on my vita for the first 1 hours of gameplay (I got lazy after that).

    For the story - some other reviews explained it better. But the storytelling is good.

    So overall, a 9/10 from me.
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  4. Dec 28, 2015
    9
    This game has been an absolute blast so far... (13 hours in, Chapter 2)
    It's been quite a while since I've seen such a massive game reach the
    This game has been an absolute blast so far... (13 hours in, Chapter 2)
    It's been quite a while since I've seen such a massive game reach the hands of a portable console. I'd even say that it has the ability to rival with Persona 4 in regards to some areas of refinement and shine found in ToCS. While another fellow user points out that the character events are a bit shallow, I've found some of them to be rather deep, if you go a bit more into the game I guess. Another thing would be that some of the developing events can fly by if you don't spend as much time as possible talking to all the characters you have in your notes... I unlocked an otherwise hidden event with two of the female characters that I could not have gotten if I had not approached them during school time... so take note that obtaining access to these cool little subevents require YOU to pay attention to a lot of different aspects... either way, the game is absolutely brilliant so far, and I can't wait to see what more it has to offer (will update review some day)

    Gameplay: 10/10
    Story: 8.5/10
    Music: 9/10
    Presentation: 9.5/10
    Length: 10/10
    Overall: 9.5/10
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  5. Feb 7, 2016
    8
    Very fun game overall. Story is good and the interactions between characters are great, battles are a lot of fun too and there are a fewVery fun game overall. Story is good and the interactions between characters are great, battles are a lot of fun too and there are a few difficulty levels. There is also a new game+. Probably the best JRPG out there on vita along with P4G and Tales of Hearts R. Also, If you like Persona I recommend giving this game a shot. Expand
  6. Dec 27, 2015
    8
    Good game overall however most character events are a bit shallow. It leaves a lot to be desired in terms of real bonding and significance. ItGood game overall however most character events are a bit shallow. It leaves a lot to be desired in terms of real bonding and significance. It feels alot better than every other jrpg I have played.

    One interesting note is that the game both looks and sound better on a vita than a ps3.
    Im using the original vita with an OLED and a basic 24" monitor. The picture dont look as clear, as sharp, as bright. But it still does feel good playing on a bigger screen. There is also an adjustment option to change the width, height and brightness of the picture. I found the lowest brightness setting to be the best, but thats just personal preference.

    For sound, I used the same headphone - Creative Aurvana Live. Its a bit hard to explain but vita sounded better. its definitely not the volume, the sound was slightly sharper, more crystal and felt better. The PS3 sounded a bit hallow in comparison.
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  7. Feb 21, 2016
    6
    As a huge fan of the series and of most of Falcom's games in general, I have to say that Trails of Cold Steel is one of the most disappointingAs a huge fan of the series and of most of Falcom's games in general, I have to say that Trails of Cold Steel is one of the most disappointing games I've played in recent memory. It's not a terrible game; in fact, I'd put it just above average. It still has the garnish that made the series great, such as an intense attention to detail in worldbuilding and fleshed-out NPCs with their own lives and stories that advance alongside the main plot, but it drops the ball in crucial ways.

    I'll start with the most glaring and obvious flaw: the technical details. The most noticable thing about the game right off the bat is the loading time. I spent most of my time playing the Vita version where it was more noticable, but it's still a major issue on PS3. Load times were occasionally quite short (three seconds or so), but most of the time, I would be waiting a good five to ten seconds for a load screen, which really starts to add up when you get one every time you enter a new screen or start a battle/cutscene. On top of this, the 3D models and animations are simply awful looking and a poor replacement for the 2D portraits and well-animated 3D rendered sprites of previous games.

    To start, the gameplay is simply a step down from every other game in the series after Trails in the Sky FC. In short, it's pathetically easy. Even on hard mode, fights end with almost no effort whatsoever. I normally wouldn't be one to knock a game for being too easy, especially a turn-based RPG, but when combat starts to feel like nothing more than a boring chore, it gets in the way of enjoying the game. While you could break previous games in the series with the right setups and party compositions, it did take some effort. It takes almost none to break Sen over your knee. I can count the number of battles on one hand where a boss got more than three turns before dying, and several of those were because I waited to fulfill a special condition on the battle. Perhaps it's different on nightmare mode, but I have my doubts. As it stands, even on hard mode, the gameplay in Cold Steel was less enjoyable than Trails in the Sky SC in spite of the many technical improvements made since then, to say nothing of comparisons to the rest of the series.

    Arguably one of the best aspects of this series are its strong, detailed characters, and Cold Steel simply drops the ball on that front completely. I won't go too in-depth to avoid spoilers, but in short, several of the characters are so poorly written that I actually put the game down and avoided playing it for a while after seeing their "development" in action. This might be forgivable if the rest of the cast were as well-executed as previous games in the series, but that's not the case here. Rean feels like a typical dime-a-dozen light novel protagonist, even having a poorly explained supernatural power (which remains poorly explained even in the sequel). Gaius and Elliot are completely irrelevant characters who serve no role in the story whatsoever aside from guiding the party around their hometowns (and coincidentally, Gaius' hometown is host to the most boring chapter in the series, and Elliot passes the guide role on to Machias quite quickly in his chapter), to the point where you question why they're even in the game. Machias and Jusis are both good enough characters, and though Machias is a bit too exaggerated I found their antics to be the most redeeming parts of the early game. Laura has no character beyond her obsession with her swordsmanship. Emma could have been interesting, but they don't answer any questions about her throughout almost all of the first game, so she simply remains the class president type throughout. Alisa is a grating, obnoxious character who is completely unlikable for no reason other than having some overinflated mommy issues. Fie's personality clashes so much with her backstory that I went from finding her cute and somewhat endearing to seeing her as everything wrong with the lazy character writing in the game. I'm astounded that the same company who wrote Renne, Randy, and various other similar characters produced a character as poor as Fie. In spite of all that, the supporting cast, especially the NPCs, are all quite excellent. Sara is exactly what I'd expect from a Trails character. Crow is very endearing while still breaking free of his archetype. I found myself playing just to advance the story of the various NPCs as well.

    The plot wasn't botched nearly as much as the characters, but it still feels like it's mostly filler. Each chapter drags on a lot longer than it really needs to and Chapter 1 feels like it was completely irrelevant in the long run. Nothing much is accomplished throughout the game and the only time something is is during the ending, when the game suddenly stops with a "to be continued."

    Overall, Trails of Cold Steel is an average game and a disappointment to fans of the series. If you're a fan of the previous games, prepare for disappointment.
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See all 13 User Reviews