Genre : RPG, adventure, action system: Nintendo Switch (also on PC and PS4)
Developer/Publisher: Falcom | NIS America
Age Classification: EU 12+ | US Teen
Price : US $59.99 | UK £53.99 | EU €59.99
Release date : 9. April 2021
Check out the code, largely provided by NIS America.
I have to admit, I was pretty excited about this review. You can tell that The Legend of Heroes is an RPG series with a pretty dedicated fanbase. While I’m just someone who loves video games too much, played Trails of Cold Steel III last year for the review and then played the second game a bit on the VITA. So I guess you can classify me as a casual fan. The equivalent of a Star Wars fan, only the movies, I haven’t read all the comics and novels, I haven’t bought t-shirts, nor named my firstborn after a Jedi character. But rather than hide who I am (an idiot who loves games like this and often misspells their titles), I’m just going to review this game without reservation, because that’s all I can do. Enjoy it.
Class VII Returning Heroes
It’s been a long road, but the Cold Steel series (part of the Legend of Heroes franchise) has finally reached the fourth and final part of the saga. A saga that has lasted nearly a decade, and that’s no small feat in this game.
Set just two weeks after the events of Game 3, this volume sees a continent go to war. It’s up to the heroes of Class VII to reunite after the events of the previous game, save their mentor, save the country, and solve all the problems in the game. Just like the last time I watched this anime, dammit.
If this is your first foray into the world of Cold Steel, you may be feeling a little lost. In the main menu of the game you can get acquainted with the game, but it is more fun if you are familiar with the series. As someone who dove into the third game, I felt like I had a good grasp of what was going on, but I also hope that the other two games will eventually be available on the Switch so I can enjoy the series from the beginning.
The best way to travel
Note that this is a story with a strong RPG component. When I started the game, it took me about 40 minutes to get the hang of it. The game pauses periodically to let the characters share their thoughts and feelings with you. A lot of it feels like redundancy at times, and if they were removed, it wouldn’t make much difference to the story as a whole. But I think dedicated fans will appreciate the extra depth. As someone who often plays 30-minute games because I have to juggle paid work and other obligations, I didn’t particularly enjoy listening to entire sessions of seemingly pointless bickering between characters. It seems that it would be better for the player to explore this world outside of the main quest. Despite my misgivings, Falcom has crafted an impressive story and given all the characters, with almost every hair color, time to shine.
Fishing – the long awaited return!
Back to battle
The rotating combat system is back. Whether you’re new or old to the series, the game does a good job of explaining how each combat mechanism works. If you missed anything, you can always check out the tutorials, and believe me, if you’re new to this series, there’s a lot to take in. Basically, you can see the enemies moving around on the maps and you can choose to attack or dodge them. Of course, encounters such as boss fights cannot be avoided.
You have four symbols in the field and up to two additional symbols available, which you can change at any time if the symbol does not fit the situation. They fight with common attacks, items or arts, similar to character and profession-specific skills, which are essentially spells. The key to victory is to try to break your opponent by a combination of the above methods, or by taking advantage of a weakness that can be discovered by conveniently pressing the y key.
It’s fun to experiment with different attack combinations. My favorite part is that when you break an opponent, one of your buddies can jump up and land with an extra hit. The battles are always fresh and different, and there have rarely been times in this game when I didn’t want to hunt down every enemy on the map and experiment with the large number of moves at my disposal. In addition to battles with a wide range of characters, all with a wide range of melee and ranged weapons, mech battles are also a welcome return.
Never forget to bring your mech.
When you’re not fighting, you’re exploring. There are numerous villages with plenty of NPCs to talk to, shops to spend your hard-earned cash in, and of course, the odd side-quest that often falls into typical quest finding territory. But by following all these extra programs, you climb even higher and unlock useful items that you can use in the main quest.
Some environments are quite large, but a handy map helps you know where to go next, while also showing areas you have yet to explore and marking chests you discover on the ground.
Nothing beats a good deck of cards.
Graphics and performance
In terms of graphics, not much has changed from the third game. The character models look like reanimated anime characters, and the world has a military and punk-like feel. In the beginning of the game, you spend a lot of time visiting similar locations, but with different NPCs and enemies. That’s not a bad thing, and at this point you can expect the series to be good. But hey, your characters in new outfits is definitely new. There’s always a wide selection of villains to take down, from various harmless monsters that don’t seem to be a huge threat to the inhabitants to the characters they are. But it’s a JRPG, so you have to spend time killing animals, not just people. The soundtrack is also excellent, from quiet, relaxing tunes on the ground to exciting, exhilarating rhythms as you go into battle.
In terms of performance, the game works pretty well in TV and PDA mode. There were times when the game recoiled a bit when there were a lot of enemies on screen, but it never blew me away. Surprisingly, the portable games performed better.
I am always happy to play a game where you can see yourself reflected in mirrors.
It’s a long role-playing game, most of which is probably taken up by the story. The main campaign takes over 40 hours to complete, not counting all the side missions that can be completed. And then there are all the other fun perks like cooking, card games, and my favorite, fishing. This is a game that will keep you busy for quite some time, so be prepared for a long haul. If things get too difficult, the game offers five difficulty levels, so you can play at the pace that suits you best.
There’s always room for high fives.
Honestly, if you’re not already convinced by the Cold Steel series, it’s unlikely that the fourth game will change your mind. If you’re new and the Switch is your only option, I’d recommend getting the third volume first (or waiting and praying that the first two games for the Switch are localized in the West).
Although it’s more like Legend of Heroes: Cold Steel IV Trails is truly one of the best JRPGs I’ve played in a long time, even if the story is a bit over the top at times.
Falcon did a great job as always and I hope the fans enjoy the experience as much as I did. I think I need to lie down now.
Last block : I like it very much.
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