Every so often, an RPG releases that is regarded highly by all who play it, but sadly some of those titles have trouble reaching a wider audience. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel series falls perfectly into this category with the recent release of The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II on PC.
Joining the release of The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel on PC last summer, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II‘s PC version brings visual enhancements and PC-exclusive features for a new group of gamers to experience. The story takes place directly after its predecessor and continues the story of Class VII as the students get closer to uncover the mysteries that presented themselves in the conclusion of The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel.
Developed by Falcom, The Legend of Heroes series began in the late ’80s and spans across the history of a nation. Starting off by playing The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel will give you enough information to understand the world and setting. However, it doesn’t hurt to read about the rich lore of the nations and how the different regions have developed over time.
A number of entries in the series have made their way to the west, excluding a few *cough* Trails to Azure, Trails from Zero *cough*, but as it stands The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel storyline has popularized the series for a new generation when it released on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita in the west in 2015. Coincidentally, even though I had previously dabbled in The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky series, it wasn’t until Trails of Cold Steel released that I truly understood how great of a series this was.
One of the reasons why some gamers might have passed on The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel would be that it released years after the new generation of consoles launched with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One: gamers were already putting away their PS3s and Xbox 360s to make room for the better hardware. However, publisher XSEED seemed to be aware of this when they announced they would be porting The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel I and II to PC.
Bringing the games to PC has the potential to introduce an entirely new group of gamers to this series, which ultimately sparked my own personal interest in the world so many years ago. One of the more redeeming factors is that the game’s story and systems hold up over the years, which makes it easy to return for an additional playthrough.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II includes updated systems exclusive for the PC release. The game has been enhanced with ultra-wide resolution settings as well as a new feature that allows players to launch the game directly from the most recent save file, instead of going to the main menu. Additional updates include “Turbo Mode” and a variety of higher framerates, improved textures, and additional graphical enhancement options.
Furthermore, having a save file from the PC version of The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel will allow the player to gain access to additional dialog scenes between characters. This feature was also included in the console and handheld versions, but having the feature available to PC players is an added reward to those who played the entire first game.
But what’s so special about The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel series? What players will discover is a story of a group of unlikely heroes who each strive to be the best in their own way. The developers put a huge focus on character development and world-building that makes it easy to get immersed in the history and lore that surrounds the series. Additionally, NPCs even play a notable role as their story develops along with the main characters. So if the player takes their time, they can easily sink hours into the game just speaking with NPCs and exploring towns.
There are many playable characters in The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel series. Each character has a unique fighting style that is featured in the execution of their special skills, Overdrive, and their powerful S-Craft attack. Battles are turn-based and allow the player to freely move their character around the battlefield and strategically position them to cause the most damage to enemies. There are many ways to approach fights, especially when players customize their characters to equip certain Orbal Arts that unlock magic-like abilities.
It’s a shame The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel series released so late into the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita’s lifetime. Even though hardcore fans supported the release, the older generation release limited the number of potential new fans because it was up against the release of new hardware. By bringing The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel I and II to PC, XSEED has given a second chance for the series to be discovered by a new group of gamers.
I will always be glad that I had the chance to experience The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel series. The game is not without its faults mechanically and the story has a few low points over its 80-hour runtime, but it’s tough to not recommend this series to anyone who appreciates great RPGs. Now that The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel I and II are on PC, there are no more excuses: it’s time to find out what you have been missing.