Trails of Cold Steel III – A great JRPG for Switch fans
Trails of Cold Steel III is the third-entry in the sub-series of Legend of Heroes games. The Falcom-developed JRPG is full of references to the previous game, so you might want a passing familiarity with those games.
They are currently unavailable on Nintendo Switch, so you will need a PS4 or PC to play them. It’s highly recommended that you enjoy the previous games before delving into this one since the story is very connected.
Release Date: June 26, 2020
Publisher: NIS America
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PS4, PC
The publisher provided a review code for this review, but that has not impacted our opinion in any way.
Even though Trails III is the third-entry in this long-running series, Falcom makes newcomers feel at home. The action and changes in previous games are explained well enough.
Every chapter sees Rean getting closer to his students as they undertake training exercises and resolve conflicts across Erebonia. The intra-personal relationships of the series are one of the main reasons to enjoy the game and its huge cast.
Concept – A JRPG With a Great Story
After graduating from the Thors Military Academy in the previous games, Rean now becomes an instructor. Players will lead the new Class VII on a variety of missions. The game features character tie-ins with both Trails from the Sky and the Crossbell duology almost immediately.
A primer is available for people who are new to the series. It does a more than adequate job of explaining the story, but JRPG fans will want to play previous games. There are so many returning characters that it is a disservice not to enjoy the full series.
Trails III takes players on an adventure across the Erebonian countryside, which is a refreshing change. Players will experience the southern province of Sutherland and return to Crossbell. The game is full of character-laden NPCs that create a world to get lost in.
Graphics and Audio – An Amazing Soundtrack
I’ve been a fan of the series since the original Trails of the Sky debuted on PSP. Falcom always releases a quality soundtrack for their games and Trails of Cold Steel III is no exception. There is a good mix of music that captures the mood of Erebonia’s social changes.
The English voice acting is pretty strong, though there are some weak spots. All of the original voice actors (except Millium) have reprised their roles. Once again, Trails of Cold Steel III is heavy on text, so the game isn’t fully voiced.
Gameplay – Tactical Fun
The Trails games have always relied heavily on their tactical, turn-based gameplay. Arts and Crafts have different areas of effect that can change the landscape of a battle. Breaks can stun an enemy and make them highly susceptible to damage, so it’s fun to time them.
Timing and status effects can also influence the tide of battle. Some abilities may cause AP delays, forcing your enemies further down the turn list. This strategic move can make resolving battles with no enemy hits a real possibility.
Arts feature a cast timer where the caster can be interrupted to keep things from being too imbalanced. S-Craft abilities return in this entry and can be activated once the character has enough CP. The Link system also returns, giving party members follow-up attacks.
Characters score Brave Points when they score a critical hit. These points can be spent on damaging follow-up attacks, hitting the Break meter heavily. My only real complaint about the game on Switch is that status effects are tiny in the UI.
Trails of Cold Steel III should be on any Persona fans’ radar.
Trails fans are no strangers to waiting, but it would have been nice to have Trails 1/2 first. Still, if you’re a fan of the series and familiar with the story – Trails III is an absolute delight.
The cast is well-rounded and the story is full of exciting and emotional moments for long-time fans to appreciate. This game is everything I want in a JRPG, a tactical battle system and memorable characters with a great world to get lost in.
Trails of Cold Steel III is absolutely a JRPG worth experiencing on Nintendo Switch. But you should play the first two games on PC/PS4 to fully enjoy the series. Who knows, maybe eventually NIS America will port Trails 1/2 for Nintendo Switch owners.
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