- Oct 25, 2017
Platform: Playstation 4
Release Date: March 18th 2018 (JP) / March 26th 2019 (US) / March 29th 2019 (PAL)
Price: 39.99 (PSN) / 49.99 (Physical Decisive Edition)
Developer: Nihon Falcom
Publisher: Nihon Falcom (JP) / Xseed Games (US) / Marvelous Europe (PAL)
The Decisive Edition of the game comes with a SteelBook case, a 50 Mira Coin, and a Musical Selection of the OST with 21 tracks.
Trails of Cold Steel is the first game in the Erebonia Arc, the 3rd major chapter in The Legend of Heroes: Trails series after the Liberl Arc and the Crossbell Arc.
“Among the nations on the Zemurian continent, the mighty Erebonian Empire has been quick to stake its claim militarily; yet politically, ugly bouts of internal conflict between the upper class and commoners struggling to rise to power have been steadily intensifying with each passing month. 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 reached 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 interwoven into the tapestry of Erebonian culture 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 outfits 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 very foundations of the Empire.”
Trails of Cold Steel’s combat both streamlines and evolves the combat of the games such as Trails in the Sky before it. The combination of personalized Craft abilities and universal Arts spells that you choose to equip are back, along with the Orbment system. This time around you can directly equip quartz directly gives you the arts or character augments you want, very similar to Final Fantasy VII’s Materia system. In addition, Class VII’s state of the art ARCUS Orbments allow for them to form combat links. Characters will back up their link partners when unbalancing an enemy for extra damage, and occasionally receive buffs, provide healing, or take the hit at reduced damage when their partner is targeted.
The plot alternates between school life segments and ‘field studies’. During the school segments, Rean will interact with his fellow Thors students and the people that live in the town of Trista, just outside of the academy. This time is used to perform various jobs for the community, and also to spend quality time with your classmates. The classmates you choose to spend time with will grow a closer relation to Rean, improving their combat link abilities together. During ‘field studies’ Class splits into two groups and you follow Rean’s group into a region in the empire to learn about their culture and assist them with their local concerns. This is where much of the story beats will take place, as you and Rean get a first hand glimpse of Erebonia’s conflicts, both internal and external.
Compared to the PS3/Vita versions, Trails of Cold Steel has a lot of enhancements that bring it much closer to the PC version of the game:
4K Graphics at 60FPS
Turbo Mode, allowing you to play 2x speed on the map and 4x as fast in battle
Dual Language option allows for you to play the game in English and Japanese.
The updated English voice-over has 50% more lines recorded compared to the Japanese and PS3/Vita English tracks.
All of the old aesthetic and booster DLC is available for free from the get-go.
If you have a save for the PS3 or Vita version, you can use that to continue your game with all the enhancements on the PS4 version.
Voiced by Sean Chiplock (ENG) / Koki Uchiyama (JP)
After School Club: None/Student Council Gopher
Unsure about his future, selfless to a fault, and without a drop of noble blood in his body, Rean Schwarzer hopes to find a place for himself at Thors. He manages to be a source of stability and leadership for the wildly different students of Class VII, while still performing odd jobs for the students of Thor and the citizens of Trista. He’s a beginner level in the Eight Leaves One Blade school that uses his Tachi to shut down enemies before they can hurt his teammates.
Voiced by Rachel Hirschfeld (ENG) / Yui Horie (JP)
Weapon: Orbal Bow
After School Club: Lacross
Alisa is a young woman with many skills from technology to business to physical and social prowess. In battle, she focuses on supporting her teammates with health and vigor, while dishing out some spells for good measure.
Voiced by Lucien Dodge (ENG) / Ryoko Shiraishi (JP)
Weapon: Orbal Staff
After School Club: Music
Elliot is a friendly, somewhat meek member of the team who finds some of the nobles of the school to be a bit intimidating. His passion in life is music, and he incorporates that love into his fighting style with the experimental Orbal Staff, supporting his allies and incapacitating enemies with crafts, though his true power lies in his arts.
Laura S. Arseid
Voiced by Marisha Ray (ENG) / Mariya Ise (JP)
After School Club: Swimming
Laura is the heir to an old and venerable house with equally old and venerable customs. This leads to her conducting herself in a manner befitting the knights of old which leads to being simultaneously well liked and seen as a bit of an oddball by the other students. The Arseid house is known for wielding massive Greatswords in battle, and Laura is no exception, having arguably the most raw strength of her classmates.
Voiced by Edward Bosco (ENG) / Takuya Satou (JP)
Weapon: Orbal Shotgun
After School Club: Chess
Machias is one of the smartest students in his year, but surprisingly rash in his actions and stern with his tongue. He’s the son of a major Reformist Faction leader, so it’s not too surprising that Machias has a strong dislike for the noble class. Machias works with an interesting grab-bag of AoE combat and support crafts, allowing arts users to keep slinging spells and letting his allies take their next turns instantly.
Voiced by Ben Diskin (ENG) / Shinnosuke Tachibana (JP)
Weapon: Knight Sword
After School Club: Equestrian
As the youngest heir to one of the most powerful families in the Empire, Jusis can cut an intimidating path for many, especially once they witness his sharp tongue. Like Alisa, Jusis’s talents are wide reaching, which shows itself in his jack of all trades combat style.
Voiced by Cassandra Morris (ENG) / Hisako Kanemoto (JP)
Weapon: Dual Gunsword
After School Club: Gardening
Fie is a young woman with two sides, being inattentive and even sleepy with schoolwork and in social situations, but quickly acting alert when it’s time for a fight. This awareness takes the form of fast actions in combat; she can quickly dish out the hurt up close or at a distance, or throw out an item or support spell when it’s needed the most.
Voiced by Rena Strober (ENG) / Saori Hayami (JP)
Weapon: Orbal Staff
After School Club: Literature
Friendly but reserved, Emma got the highest score on the entrance exam to Thors. She serves as the Class President for Class VII, which may seem odd with her personality, but she does take the job seriously and can frequently be seen playing the part when trying to help Fie get up to speed with her studies. Emma is the other wielder of the Orbal Staff, as evidenced by her ridiculous Arts damage potential, though she has some useful crafts for when a quicker approach to combat is needed.
Voiced by Kaiji Tang (ENG) / Yoshimasa Hosoya (JP)
Weapon: Cross-Shaped Spear
After School Club: Art
Gaius is an exchange student from the distant land of Nord, where his people live a nomadic lifestyle that is very different from the class system that makes up the Erebonian way of life. He’s eager to learn more about the world outside of his homeland. Gaius is a physical fighter, using his spear to deal damage and tag enemies with status effects from a fairly safe distance.
Push Square 8/10
Playstation Lifestyle 8/10
There’s a ton of games for this series, right? Is it ok to start here?
Trails of Cold Steel was created from the start to be a gateway into the series and is one of the best places to start your journey in Trails saga alongside Trails in the Sky, the first game in the series. Trails of Cold Steel has a new protagonist in a new region.That said, be aware that the games are collectively built up to be an epic in the literal sense of the word. If you enjoy your time here, it’s definitely worth going back to earlier games like the Sky trilogy to see what happened in the past and get additional context.
How do I transfer my saves to the PS4 version?
What about the PC version, can I transfer my progress from that?
Unfortunately no, the PC versions and PS4 versions are independent in terms of saves. The good news is that the PC version essentially has all of the enhancements of the PS4 version, including the Japanese dialogue which was added in a recent update. Only the free DLC is missing.
What should I expect from the difficulty options?
Trails of Cold Steel has Easy, Normal, Hard and Nightmare mode. There’s no benefits given to you for playing on a different mode. Hard Mode is a good choice for veterans of the Trails series or JRPG fans that want a little challenge, and easier modes can be a great way to focus on the story. The game helpfully has a “retry battle on an easier difficulty” option if you game over...though I don’t believe you can select this if you play on Nightmare mode. Beware!