The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel for PlayStation 3 Reviews

I was initially very harsh on this game at first and for a petty reason (the combat) But I think it’s unfair to bash this game solely on combat, especially when other rpgs are getting praised for doing worse on every other aspect (“Cough” FFXV “Cough”).

For that reason, I want to say what’s wrong with this game instead:

1) Combat is well made and has a lot of depth into it, with each character equipping quartz (basically materias from ff7) and Master Quartz (sort of “class gems”, but in a very light way) as well as having special moves, link abilities and random effects on the battle. The combat itself is honestly great but that’s not why I bashed it for: I bashed the combat because of how cheap the game is against you, because they’re insultingly easy…if you counter thei status effect. Yes, the only thing that enemies will do – THE ONLY THING THAT ENEMIES WILL EVER DO TO YOU – is putting status effect that will make the fight inhumanly difficult. Examples are when you fight an enemy that will always (ALWAYS) blind you, which will make you miss attacks, in which the enemy will counter and most likely kill you, or when an enemy will constantly stun you with every single basic attack, or when another boss will freeze the team and kill you right after, or where some enemies tend to inexplicably kill you without any reasons (no skill name, no special attack, no special turn). This is just unforgivable because it’s trial and error and as soon as you manage to counter THAT specific debuff for the fight, the enemies are a real push over and won’t even kill you (seriously I can overheal the damage with ease, it’s so unbalanced) but just because the enemies have special effects, the game becomes harder all of the sudden. I expect this from anyone (“cough” Square Enix “Cough”) but Nihon Falcom.

2) The game is slow. Very slow. Too slow at some points. The story is amazing and I love it: I love the exposition that actually makes it interesting and never boring (I even read the books!) and I love how the world is both similar to the real one (The main capital is basically London) and far different at the same time. On top of that the characters are great as they all have screentime, none of them feels left out and this is a great improvement over Trails in the Sky where that annoying slut of Estelle kept taking the spot for better characters: I played Trails in the sky for 40 hours and I don’t even remember who was that white haired chick with the whip, or that blondie who played the piano, since the game was too busy focusing on that whiny girl with no personality who had the harry potter syndrome. I digress.
Anyway, despite the story being great, despite it’s amazing writing and plot…it’s just too slow in certain moments and including the slow combat, it can be a chore to play through. I played a lot of RPGs and this one is one of the slowest I ever played. It’s not bad per se but if you ever buy it, be ready!

3) Technical standpoint…well it’s a ps3 game that’s supposed to run also on Vita, which is why the game has anything but great graphics. It’s not bad per se but if you are hoping for some AAA graphics…well you won’t find it here and I’m personally fine, for great graphics don’t equal to great gameplay (just like another famous series where Fantasy is in the title!)

4)Cheap Replayability. The game is long: I’m at chapter 6 and I’m nearly hitting 60 hours and the game actually has a lot of replayability, since you can unlock new stuff and info thanks to NG+. But at what cost? Well for starters the game actually is nearly impossible to complete 100% without a guide (or unless you’re able to spend 20 hours in a single section every single transition) due to the fact that a lot of stuff are hidden for no real reason. On top of that there’s a ranking system that will change depending on your choices, quests and several actions in the game…which is not really smart design. Quests are hidden, certain choices are only possible if you know the answer, few battles require to do certain specific things, and if you miss one of these you might not get the best rank or might lose certain things…which will be ported into the second chapter. This is the kind of stuff that RPGs during the 2000s tended to do, blocking or hiding stuff unless you had a guide, and because of this it’s highly advised to have one in case you need to reach that 100% score and platinum thing.

But really, beside these flaws (which are personal really), I can’t stop praising this amazing piece of art: I never felt so invested in an RPG before and I cannot wait to start chapter 2 and buy chapter 3 someday in the future, is that amazing. Is it flawed? Surely, but even those flaws don’t stop making this game the best RPG in recent years.

And since it’s already 1 year old, you can find it cheap too so…go get it! NOW!

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