The Legend of Heros: Trails of Cold Steel III
PlayStation 4 – 2017
The third entry in the Erebonian saga puts us in the shoes of Rean Schwarzer once more. Following on from the second entry, Rean has graduated from Thors Military Academy and is now an instructor at the newly founded Branch Campus. As a result, we are introduced to a new, albeit, smaller Class VII. Of course, the old characters will return but it is nice to see some fresh faces. Each character again comes with their own weapons and crafts, adding to the tactical aspects of battle. Combat is very similar to previous entries, with arts and crafts being required to make your way through the game. The Overcharge mechanic of the second game is gone, replaced with “Brave Orders”. These orders can be used to increase strength, speed or reduce casting time for a certain number of turns. Getting a grasp of these quickly is key to success in this game. Arts have also seen a slight change in this game. Characters can now equip two Master Quartz to help boost their stats and allow them access to new spells. Unlike in the first two entries, these can now be levelled up to Level 7, unlocking more spells and stat boosts. Character links have also changed. Combat links are no longer connected to social links, instead combat links are strengthened through battle while social links require you to attend bonding events or give characters gifts. The graphics are improved, which is to be expected considering it was built for the PlayStation 4, rather than a port of a PlayStation 3 game. Music is much the same, for better and for worse. Its still full of grandiose themes but the music felt noticeably more repetitive. This game follows a similar pattern to the first game. Its very linear, having you move from one area to another as you complete your field exercises. It also feels like the first part of a narrative, setting the scene and characters, very much like the first game. This game links more into The Legend of Heroes series as a whole than any of the other Cold Steel games. As a result, we are introduced to characters who appeared in the Crossbell and Liberl games. For newcomers, this may be jarring as these characters’ backstories are told elsewhere and it feels like we’re not getting the full picture without playing the other games. On the other hand, it allows us to see the link between Erebonia and its neighbours much more than the other games.