I have to admit, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel, the prequel to this game I am about to review, is one of the best JRPG’s I’ve ever played. I can say that it is the JRPG of the year for 2016.
Now come the sequel – The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II. It was first released in Japan on September 25, 2014, for PS3 and PS Vita, and almost 2 years later, it was released in North America on September 6, 2016.
Let’s see if The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II lives up the expectation and can go toe-to-toe with its predecessor. Continue with the review below.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II picks up where exactly the first game ended. The story opens with the main protagonist, Rean Schwarzer waking up after a long sleep because of his intense battle with Crow and his knight-god, Ordine. Rean was unconscious, together with his Ashen Knight, Valimar, and Celine near his hometown of Ymir.
With this, he is now on the mission to find the rest of Class VII – Alisa Reinford, Elliot Craig, Laura S. Arseid, Machias Regnitz, Jusis Albarea, Emma Millstein, Fie Claussell, and Gaius Worzel, and in the process, the group will soon find themselves in the middle of the civil war in Erebonia, the war between the Noble Alliance and the Empire.
The Act 1 of the game focuses mainly on Rean looking for his classmates in Class VII and the flow of the first act can be somewhat dragging and repetitive. In here, Rean will go to three different places to find 3 members of Class VII stuck in that place. You’ll have to travel, fight enemies, do some tasks, and read long lines before you’ll be able to save them, but once you saved all of them, this where the fun and the Act 2 starts. This is where the story will slowly unfold and find more mysteries and stories of all the members of Class VII and other NPC’s.
As for the characters, you’ll see…and control some familiar characters from the first game and will battle a lot of new characters as a boss fight. I mean a LOT. The story will introduce you to new characters which will serve as the antagonists for Rean and the rest of Class VII.
The first Trails of Cold Steel game has an awesome story and I can say that The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II has a better story compared to the first one. Though the second game is darker, has more deaths and less humor compared to the first one, I like the flow of the story, all of the characters’ growth, and the perfect writing and story telling. I also need to mention the ending because unlike other JRPG’s, this game has a very good and a tear jerker of an ending.
One last thing about the story, as mentioned above, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II is a direct sequel to the first game and it is advisable for you to play the first one, or at maybe revisit it for you to understand the story of the game and its gameplay.
As for the combat, I am happy to see that they are still using the old combat system, the turn-based type of combat. This is one of the strengths of the game and this type of combat is one of the reasons why I got hooked on JRPG genre.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II is not all about old combat system as the developer added a minor feature in combat system like new S-Breaks and Overdrive. The Overdrive mode can be used between two linked character and once activated, this will allow three turns in succession without delay. It can give a necessary boost for players to delay opponents, cuts arts (magic) casting time, or provide status buffs.
Another fun thing about combat is when you can use Valimar, Rean’s giant robot aka The Ashen Knight to battle your counterpart’s giant robot or Soldat. Once you progress in the story and obtain a certain level, Rean can now call Valimar to battle select opponents for three turns. Imagine this game as a good mixture of Persona and Xenogears, that is how good the game is.
The gameplay of The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II is exactly like the first one with some added feature like the trial chests wherein you need a certain party members to open it and battle the monster inside and after you successfully beat the trial, the party involved can now use Overdrive when linked to each other. Definitely, why change the old one if it is already nice and working, right?
There are also mini games such as the updated version of Blade card game called Blade II, snowboarding, cooking fishing and much more.
When you say JRPG, there is always a good musical score attached to it, and The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II is nor exemption. The opening and closing theme of the game is outstanding while the music throughout the game is also magnificent.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II is available for PS3 and PS Vita, or what others want to call the last gen console and legacy platform, respectively. With that, don’t expect that much when it comes to graphics. It may look like an anime at first glance, but it was nowhere near the graphics of PS4. The game also suffers a lot of frame rate drop and some obvious bugs in the graphics.
I finished The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II in more or less, 70 hours and that is not even completing all trial chests and quests, that is how long the game is. Some say that it is too long, but for me, that what makes a good JRPG. You’ll know that the JRPG is good if the formula is complete – good story, combat system, memorable characters, music and of course, the longevity of the game. This game may be long but I can assure you, it is not boring. The story is well written, you can get easily attached to the characters, whether they are playable or not, and the music itself.
Once you finished the game and already cried because of the ending, there are still a bunch of things that you can do like completing all the trial chests, revisiting towns, finishing the quests and much more, so the price tag of this game is really worth it.
Overall, the “Trails” series, or should I say “The Legend of Heroes” series didn’t disappoint me. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II is a perfect sequel to The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel. Nihon Falcom, XSEED Games and If you’re a fan of old-school type, turn based combat JRPG, this game is definitely for you, just make sure to play Trails of Cold Steel first before going to this second game.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II is played on PS3 and was bought by the user so the review was based on my long playthrough and thoughts of the game. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II is still available for PS3 and PS Vita for $39.99.