IMPRESSIONS: What You Can Expect From Trails of Cold Steel II

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XSEED Games brought us a lovely Christmas gift last December when it released Trails of Cold Steel, and I and many other fans have been waiting with bated breath for the sequel to come. Well, it seems that Christmas came early this year because we’re being treated to a second helping of Cold Steel after the first game’s epic cliffhanger ending left us hungry for more. That’s right, on September 6, you’ll get to adventure across Erebonia once again with Rean Schwarzer and the boys and girls of Class VII, with some new characters and surprises waiting for all of them. If you enjoyed the political intrigue and conspiracy-laced storytelling of the original, you should be excited for what’s in store for you next in Trails of Cold Steel II.

Reader be warned, there are some spoilers below — but you should know that you should definitely finish the first game before taking this one on, as it is one continuous story.

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One month after the decisive clash at Trista, Rean Schwarzer finds himself stranded at the top of a mountain, with only the familiar cat Celine and the worn-out Ashen Knight Valimar by his side. Panicked and desperate to find his long lost classmates after his involuntary escape, Rean sets out on a mission to find the separated members of Class VII across different locations of Erebonia, a nation now transformed by civil war between the Noble Alliance and the Imperial Army. The Noble Alliance is dominating for the time being, and they have some intimidating allies with them, between members of Ouroboros, Jaeger mercenaries from Zephyr, and the Imperial Liberation Front — lead by none other than Crow Ambrust, who revealed himself to be the terrorist “C”.

Your main goals in Chapter 1 of Trails of Cold Steel II will be to travel across a few different towns and cities to reunite with your classmates, and disrupt the Noble Alliance’s military plans by helping solve problems from the locals living in each of them. As with the last game, there are plenty of sidequests to take on, which you’ll find highly rewarding should you go out of your way to do them. There are also some new combat mechanics to take into account, too, involving Combat Links and the use of Valimar. One of these is the Overdrive system, which provides two of your linked party members a boost in HP/EP/CP, clears all ailments, and gives you a 100% chance to unbalance enemies. It’s quite a powerful tool that I think is best used for turning the tables on a tough fight. You can upgrade your ARCUS slots to cast more powerful arts, including some new secret arts hidden in the land. Combat with Valimar works just as it did in the final bits of Trails of Cold Steel. It’s sort of an advanced rock-paper-scissors battle between two mechs, but this time, you have the aid of a “secondary contractor” — one of your classmates or other friends  — to give you support by buffing, attacking, and healing Valimar when things go awry. But as long as you strike the right points, you’ll certainly come out on top.

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Fishing returns in this game, and it’s just as rewarding as it was before, allowing you to trade in points for useful items, quartz, and accessories. Cooking is also a worthwhile endeavor, and you’ll want to try out different recipes with different characters to see what kinds of variations on dishes they’ll come up with. You never know when you’ll need to eat to get out of a tough spot. Another new minigame feature in Trails of Cold Steel II is snowboarding, which takes place on a mountain course next to Rean’s hometown of Ymir. Guiding Rean towards the flags and beating the times will net you some pretty sweet rewards, including different board colors so you can ride in style.

So far, Trails of Cold Steel II has been living up to my high expectations. I’m really looking forward to seeing how the rest of the story plays out, and whether Rean and his friends will be able to put an end to the war and bring peace back to Erebonia. It won’t be long until September 6th hits, so try your best to wait a little longer! And for those of you who haven’t finished the first game, do yourself a favor and see it through to the end so you’ll be ready when it hits. Don’t forget to import your save data for some sweet bonuses, too.

If you’d like to pre-order Trails of Cold Steel II and help support Operation Rainfall, you can use the Amazon affiliate links below:

About Joe Sigadel

Joe is the reporting manager for oprainfall, he is also a broadcaster on Twitch and loves showing off many of the games we report about on his channel. He has also been known to defended Senran Kagura from those who only want to accept it at face value.