Review: The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel 3
Trails of Cold Steel is part of The Legend of Heroes. This series revolves around Rean Schwarzer and is therefore a direct sequel to the predecessor. How is this part doing on Nintendo Switch this time around?
The game has been out for a while on the Playstation 4, but now it really appears on the Nintendo Switch. Trails of Cold Steel 3 will soon be followed by a fourth and final installment. This is a perfect reason to replay the game on the Nintendo Switch. But, is the game worth it on this hybrid handheld?
Schwarzer has now graduated from Thors Military Academy and is the new Class VII leader. It gave me a bit of Tokyo Ghoul: RE vibes, because it looked like a soft reboot of what we were allowed to play earlier in the second part. Yet the game proves to be a direct sequel after a few hours. It was hard to keep up with some things, since it's been a while since I played part 2. This is mainly because the game relies heavily on its old characters. Recurring characters sometimes play a crucial role, and if you haven't played the previous parts, you'll quickly get lost. It's a tough game to get into the series.
However, if you have followed the series closely, this will promise a superior adventure. The pace of the story is much better here. The game starts with a climax and builds its storyline from there to a not so scanty 60-80 hours of gameplay. The war may be over, but there are plenty of new dangers lurking, that's what the story will focus on. It feels like an All-Star game at times, as the old Class 7 returns against often older foes. The story is told in a nice way. The voice acting is a bit cringy at times, but on the other hand grabs you by the guts for some intense story moments.
It feels safe
The gameplay for Trails of Cold steel 3 feels familiar. The Fire Emblem elements are always just a little more refined in this game. Bonding with your classmates has a much nicer pace here than in FE. As a class you will go on different missions throughout Erebonia, where you will go through various dungeons and visit villages. The dungeons leave something to be desired when it comes to structure and level design. However, the world itself is a marvel to behold on Nintendo Switch. Every place you visit is made with love and conveys the atmosphere strongly. The Turbo Mode is one of the first quality of life changes in Trails of Cold Steel. This will amplify and accelerate the pace.
The Break system will be the newest combat feature in this installment. Each enemy has a break bar, similar to Guild Wars 2. If you break this bar, your enemy is completely vulnerable to your attacks and they will deal more damage. You can also link two characters together for stronger attacks. It is sometimes difficult to understand the combat system, especially in the early hours. But just like in Xenoblade, you have to get through this one. Once you get the hang of the system, the combat feels smoother than in previous parts.
The combat hasn't changed that much, the game is essentially still a turn-based RPG and borrows many elements from other turn-based games. However, Trails of Cold Steel has always been innovative compared to the standard games within its genre, it borrows different features from other games, but brings its own twist to everything. You have your basic attacks, crafts, items and S-Crafts. When your meter fills up, you also have several more powerful attacks to unleash on your enemies.
The game left a lot to be desired on the PS4 in terms of graphics. But, on the Nintendo Switch, this is a perfect picture. The game therefore runs fantastic, even in handheld. However, the game looks more appropriate on the Switch than on a full fledged console. As I mentioned before, the world-building in this game is almost unprecedented. Even with graphics that don't seem exactly current-gen at times. This shows that the overall atmosphere experience is often more important than having the most realistic graphics or whatever. Trails of Cold Steel 3 proves to be a solid game here too.
Trails of Cold Steel 3 is a worthy continuation of the series and takes a good step towards part 4. Still, I do hope that the fourth and final part can remove the small frustrations from the game. All in all, this game is a must play for fans of the series and for me the game fits better on the Nintendo Switch than on the Playstation or PC. The world-building is unprecedented and the combat feels very familiar with a better pace in the story than ever!
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