It was the year 2017 when The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III it was first released on PlayStation 4, in Japanese territory only; after two years, the title has finally landed on consoles around the world, continuing its combo of good reception and success, especially given its target audience and a talented, but small development team with little available budget. .

Trails of Cold Steel III is the third installment in the Trails video game series, in turn part of The Legend of Heroes franchise which, like many sagas belonging to the same genre of video games, is highly regarded in the Japanese market. , but it’s hard to find a great comeback outside of this country and is almost unknown to Italian players.

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The reason is easy to say: Trails of Cold Steel III – as well as the predecessors – does not have an Italian localization and, given the amount of dialogue and text on the screen and its remarkable longevity (we are talking about ‘at least 50 hours of the main campaign), it’s really unlikely that an average player will come close without being overwhelmed.

At launch time, Trails of Cold Steel III was the first The Legend of Heroes not to also have a PS Vita version, a handheld console considered a failure in Western territory, but extremely prevalent in the Japanese market. Porting to Nintendo Switch, therefore, not only opens up new sales opportunities for Nihon Falcom, but grants much-desired portability to the software and paves the way for even wider distribution of the now-to-come Trails of Cold Steel IV.

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On the big N hybrid, the title has no gameplay news. The resolution is 720p at 30fps, but it would be disingenuous to deny the game’s coughs when crawling larger maps or during some particularly spectacular special attacks. Being a turn-based role-playing game, luckily, the drop in frames per second doesn’t affect the purely gaming experience; however, the eye also wants its part and, in the case of a docked game, the lack of anti-aliasing makes it particularly difficult to enjoy the game settings and in general any screen element away from the screen. player, including texts.

Narratively, Trails of Cold Steel III takes place a year and a half after the events of the previous title, with a newly appointed instructor Rean Schwarzer from three promising students, belonging to Class VII of the Thors branch campus.

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The game offers a large and dense summary of what happened in the first two Trails of Cold Steel, with summary sheets for each main character; However, there is no denying that for a newbie to the saga, the approach to Trails of Cold Steel III could be overwhelming, just for the amount of constant references to events and supporting characters from other games in the franchise. Another element that should not be underestimated is the rhythm of the storytelling: by their nature, the JRPG always tends to stretch the events related to the plot, accompanying them with comic curtains and / or fanservice, slice of life. different characters and many side missions.

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During the early stages of the game, the on-screen information could be overwhelming for those less used to the genre.

Trails of Cold Steel III is no exception, not skimping on the number of optional quests and frequent chatter among members of the super-rich cast. Needless to say, this will all appeal to fans of the series and fans of the genre, but it will be indigestible to all those players unfamiliar with the verbiage of old-school Japanese RPGs.

In principle, however, it seems clear that this Trails of Cold Steel III was intended from the start to be a “middle title,” necessary to introduce a new generation of heroes and set the crescendo for the series’ grand finale, to appear late. October 2020.

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We have already mentioned that Trails of Cold Steel III does not present any new game mechanics in this variation for Nintendo Switch. The base gameplay has remained the same: a main storyline, in some cases involving unnecessarily long side activities to help NPCs and get to know other team members better, fishing, the Vantage Master card mini-game, able to induce habituation and brain cramps during the most advanced challenges; finally, of course, the battles on the battlefield against the most disparate enemies.

Trails of Cold Steel III’s combat system maintains the series’ turn-based structure, with enjoyable introductions capable of further increasing its depth; However, we must not forget that the game offers a wide selection of difficulty levels, to make the experience appealing both for players looking for a real challenge and for those who are mainly interested in the plot.

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The character design paths of Cold Steel III are varied and inspired, but not groundbreaking.

On the battlefield, there will be up to four characters at the same time, who will alternate their actions with those of the opposing camp; depending on the action chosen, the next round could be anticipated or moved to the bottom of the list. The positioning of the different members of the group is fundamental, because each action, whether offensive or defensive, has a specific area of ​​effect; For example, Arts (the magic of the game) require a certain number of turns before they can be cast, and for this reason it is clearly not recommended to place the caster near enemies, as this will endanger it and could interrupt the current action.

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Courageous Order also enters, or a group upgrade system that activates various positive effects (defensive or offensive) on it for a number of turns; to execute the command, the player must consume the Brave Points accumulated by performing the Craft (unique combat techniques for each warrior) or standard attacks with a critical result.

Let’s also not forget the Link attacks, which, as the name suggests, are associated with a previously selected ally, or the Break System, a mechanism similar to Crisis of Final Fantasy VII Remake, able to stun the opponent. during a turn make it sensitive to a large amount of damage … In short, the options available to the player are not rare and are all useful depending on the situation, especially during advanced combat.

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Vantage Master is a card mini-game inspired by Nihon Falcom’s 1997 game.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III is an excellent representative of the JRPG genre, both for the narrative and lorewise thickness of its world, and for the classic combat system, but flexible enough to be enjoyed even today. .

Devoid of some technical shortcomings, this port for Nintendo Switch is a great opportunity to reclaim a longevity and engaging title, certainly not suitable for all palates, but a perfect transition between what has been and what will be the saga.

Source : Reddit