“Everyone can be a hero, but not everyone becomes a legend.”
The Legend of Heroes Trails of Cold Steel has already proven itself, time and time again, as one of the finest RPGs to date. It may not have an absurdly powerful demon king nor do the thoughts of planetary annihilation, but its grand scale adventure between the diverse areas of Erebonia and all its splendor make up an overwhelming experience but amazing all the same. Originally developed for the Playstation 3 and the Playstation Vita system, it soon found its way to Windows and now on the Playstation 4 hardware.
“The forty-hour long adventure was time well-spent even without doing much of the beefy side quests.”
Cold Steel is a massive RPG set in an enormous and expansive world with a group of elite high school students at its center. The infamous Class VII of Thors Military Academy lead by Rean Schwarzer would later find themselves thrown into a world of distraught and fueled turmoil as they get caught into serious struggles between nations. But Cold Steel is not just about ending a struggle but also about forging stronger bonds and experiencing a flowery high school life with butterflies and roses included. Though at times, the constant and repetitive cycle can get rather dull quite fast. Similar to the Persona series, you’ll be going to school albeit only once per month to answer an instructor’s question then would later find yourself on a weekend of flirting with girls and boys alike before entering the “Tartarus-like” school building at the end of the day. With an added bonus of a monthly field trip throughout the different areas that make up the world, such as the capital city, Heimdallr, the industrial advancements of Roer or the vast open highlands of Nord. Each one provide its own set of problems that’ll help you grow into the setting which makes it all the better for its fine writing despite some lacking in voice-overs.
“There’s much to like and little to hate.”
I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of J-RPGs but I still have my fair share over the years. And it all started with Lunar Star Story on the Playstation, a game that had me amazed at auto-battle even without a clue what the goal was or what I’m supposed to do with it. At a mere nine-year old me, I approach games like it was an adventure that has to be finished without grinding certain spots or coming back to it once I grew stronger. But on today’s game standards, there’s always “that” multiple difficulty levels to fit the certain skill levels making it a breeze to go through or insanely hard to pull through. So at times, games felt like it was never finished the way it’s supposed to be finished. And it’s a debate that is much better left for the second date.
With the rich history of RPGs and The Legend of Heroes as a whole, it only makes sense that a game lives up to its standard. And it does in multiple ways, its story and setting is fantastic, but even more so with its combat mechanics and new features. One that I am very pleased for is its customization options and battle structure. The turn-based RPG follows a delay system unlike the old-school RPG games where each character will have one command per turn-over, rinse and repeat. This makes characters and actions provide bigger impact to the battle. The Tactical Link System, a series first, allows players to link with another character to execute joint attacks or follow up with certain skills depending on their link levels. However the Orbment system is the real star of the show. Providing you both stat boosters as well as new abilities to change how a character will perform in battle.
It’s a massive game, that one is certain. Although as a game that was developed for an older console, it might not be the best looking one. Character movement is still stuck in “Retroville” with its bleak range of movement that makes it look obviously telegraphed than natural. The lack of voice acting on certain parts of the story breaks away from making you feel like you’re actually living in the same world and experiencing the same environment. Although it’s outrageously long main campaign, side quests excluded, is a forgivable offense. As the port that it is, the high res graphics does its job but still provides the boxy look in areas like Alisa’s chest or Rean’s unruly style of hair.
“My final words.”
To this day, I still find the game as good as it did when it came out the first time. And one that I can fully get into a second or third. There’s just really something special with high school RPGs in the name of Persona or this one. Though I guess it has something to do with flirting with every girl in campus and getting away with it. Which is something even Geralt of Rivia needs to learn when he tried to double dip with the sorceresses. The fine writing is an A+ as well as the combat that even the P.E. teachers will be proud of. However as a game, this is just the first of many to come making the game one huge cliffhanger for the next installment due in the next few months. But this serves as a good refresher to players that want the full experience or a starter to the newcomers who missed out.