E3 2015 Impressions: Trails of Cold Steel is a Breath of Fresh Air

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

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The Legend of Heroes_ Trails of Cold Steel_LOGO

In the overwhelming stream of JRPGs coming west, I have wanted to spend more time with one title in particular, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel, which was released in September of 2013 in Japan. The problem with this title and the other entries in The Legend of Heroes series, is the extremely large amount of Japanese text that the titles come with. Almost all hope was lost to play a translated version of the games until XSEED stepped in to take localize this title and it’s sequel, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel 2, for western fans.

Playing through the PlayStation 3 version of Trails of Cold Steel at E3 2015 was a very exciting time for me. I must admit that I went into the demo with eager eyes given that I’ve waited so long to experience this game. To put it simply, I was not disappointed.

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In the section of Trails of Cold Steel story that I got to play, three students and their teacher were headed to war. This turns out to be all foreshadowing and yes, this is that game that starts your character off over powered and then takes it all away an hour later. The battle system in Trails of Cold Steel puts you in a circle shaped arena where you control four characters in turn based combat. Certain high powered skills take a few turns to active so planning the right place to attack is crucial to attack the enemy. Over time, characters gain super skills that are extremely over powered, but are necessary to turn the tide of the fairly difficult boss battles.

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The dungeon that I got to play had a factory theme that was very forgettable. The halls all blended in together in a gray mess and I ended up getting lost multiple times because I accidentally got turned around. This could be an issue for some, but if you’ve played PlayStation 3 JRPGs in the past you’ll know exactly what to expect.

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Further more, Trails of Cold Steel has one of the best video game soundtracks I have heard. The score was composed by the Falcom sound team, Hayato Sonoda, Takahiro Unisuga and Saki Momiyama, and they did an amazing job to say the least. It’s definitely a soundtrack that you could listen to on it’s own; very enjoyable.

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I had a lot of fun playing through The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel. I am eager to learn more about the characters and story of the game when it is released in Fall later this year for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita.




  • DariusQ

    Looks like pretty standard JRPG fare. Usually it’s the battle system which separates these games from the hordes of anime inspired clones. Not quite sure what made this one stand out so much for the author.

    • Keichi Morisato

      right now all we have are a few screen shots and a vague description of the battle system, so we should reserve judgement until we know more.

    • Vanadise

      Have you played any of the other Trails games? They’ve got a reputation for having incredibly detailed worlds, well-developed characters, and intricate plots. I very highly recommend Trails in the Sky (preferably for the PC, but there’s also a Vita-compatible PSP version).

    • DariusQ

      Sounds like a good place to start. Thanks for the recommend.

  • JDobbs

    I am excited for this game. I enjoyed playing Trails in the Sky a few years back on the PSP and since then, I have been trying to obtain all the Legend of Heroes games released in English.

  • Alex

    Has one of the best final boss themes I’ve ever heard.