Game title: The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III
Platforms: PlayStation 4
Developer: Nihon Falcom
Publisher: NIS America
Release Date: October 22, 2019
Trails of Cold Steel III marches the long-running series ever closer to an explosive climax with satisfying combat, characters, and music.
Trails of Cold Steel III is an important title for both Falcom and NIS. For Falcom, it's the penultimate entry in a story arc half a decade in the making – and an incredibly engrossing one, at that. For NIS, it's a step in the right direction after Ys VIII, and proof that The Legend of Heroes' localization is still in good hands moving forward. This is a continuity-heavy RPG with 13 years of video game history, and seven titles building up to it, but the combat and world are strong enough where even newcomers can enjoy the ride. Trails of Cold Steel III is the Erebonia arc at its best.
If you like JRPGs, this is another one you don't want to miss—just hope that Cold Steel IV gets a Western release before too long, because this one ends on one hell of a cliffhanger.
Trails of Cold Steel III marks another school year full of adrenaline-pumping battles, interesting new faces, and unexpected hardships amidst political turmoil
Trails of Cold Steel 3 is a masterclass in storytelling that improves nearly everything in the franchise's history.
The only real fault you can attribute to Trails of Cold Steel III is how it doesn't quite match the lofty heights the previous two titles deservedly reached.
Graphics aside, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III is a story-driven experience that delivers that in spades. It's more than enough to make up for some of the shortcomings and is a more intricate story than you'd probably expect. That being said, if story isn't your thing, gameplay and graphics are nothing special. Nothing about them ruins the experience, they're just not on the same level as the story. So if you want to get sucked into a fascinating world, it's hard to say no, though if you're just in it for the gameplay, you might want to look elsewhere.
Despite the challenges of having to carry the story behind two of the best JRPGs of the last decade, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III more than lives up to its legacy, delivering an experience anchored in a narrative that, despite taking a little bit to truly develop, manages to be one of the most surprising ones of its genre, and a gameplay even more challenging and fun than its predecessors.
Trails of Cold Steel III is everything I want from an RPG with a world that fully sucks players in, amazing music and locations in which one can just sit and relax, and a twisting and fascinating story involving incredibly deep characters that are easy to get attached to.
Cold Steel III is still a niche JRPG, but it’s time that more people gave this series a shot, especially with this game’s incredibly detailed onboarding features like character bios, lore summaries, and full recaps of previous games.
If you are a JRPG fan, this series is a must-play. It’s one of the strongest running, second only to Persona in my opinion. It’s funny, charming, engaging, and occasionally heartbreaking. And it’s absolutely worth the investment.
Trails of Cold Steel 3 doesn't offer much in the way of gameplay innovations, but if you're even glancing in the direction of this game, you're not interested in new ideas. No, you're interested in continuing the dramatic, twisty-turny story of the Erebonian Empire's shenanigans. Trails of Cold Steel 3 resumes the series' magic-infused story of politics and scandal, and the unique battle system still holds up well.
JRPG fans who can look beyond the dated graphics will discover a tremendous wealth of characters, gameplay, story, and an overall world that you can happily dive into for dozens of hours.
After a long, grueling wait, the Legend of Heroes makes its triumphant return and I am more than happy to report that the wait has been worth it as Cold Steel III delivers on all fronts with improved visual fidelity, performance and a slew of meaningful new mechanics. Led by a cast of unforgettable characters and an intriguing story arc that will have you begging for more when the credits roll.
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