It was announced earlier this January that The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III would be localized for the west and released later this year. Known as the Kiseki series in Japan, we’d be remiss if we failed to mention the fact that the series has its fair share of fans here at SmashPad, as we featured the game at #8 in our Most Anticipated Games of 2019 list days after the announcement.
If you’re unfamiliar with Trails of Cold Steel, you’re in luck as the Decisive Edition of the game arrives on the PlayStation 4 today with the game’s sequel coming out only a few months later.
What Is It?
Trails of Cold Steel – Decisive Edition is another re-release of the PlayStation 3 game that came out in 2016. The first re-release came out on PC more than a year later and for all intents and purposes was the best version of the game.
Why Should I Care?
Before delving into what makes this version of the game what it is, if you’re looking for an opinion of the game as a whole, you’d be best advised to look back at our review of the original PS3 release. So if you’ve never played the game and want to know whether it’s good — then yes, Trails of Cold Steel is fantastic.
Aside from settings to improve performance that were made exclusively for PC, everything that made that version what it was has made its way to the Decisive Edition. That said, while the game has been upscaled to make use of PS4 Pro’s increased power, don’t expect a completely redefined game here. The graphics aren’t going to impress anybody in this day and age especially after playing a game like Ni no Kuni II or Kingdom Hearts III, but the frame rate issues that plagued the original PS3 game are gone for the most part.
One of the game’s criticisms stemmed from the fact that while the voice acting was solid, there simply wasn’t enough of it. You’ll experience intense discussion between the characters one moment, and then all of a sudden, you just see text with no audio. The PC version added more than 5,000 lines of spoken dialog, and while we still don’t see spoken dialog for every line in the game, it simply flows a lot better now.
Even then, with a Japanese-based game, not everybody (particularly anime fans) care for English voice acting, and the original game as well as the PC version received some criticism because of the lack of a Japanese voice track. If you were one of those people, you’ll be pleased to know that the PS4 version solves that problem by making the Japanese voice track available so you can play Trails of Cold Steel in perhaps its purest form.
The best feature of the re-release is the Turbo Mode that you can activate with the left trigger, which fast forwards gameplay. In the PC version, you had to hold the button to speed it up, so it’s been improved on PS4. It’s definitely worth mentioning that as cool as Turbo Mode is, it gets almost unmanageable when you’re at a point in the battle system that requires more strategic thought, but it’s definitely useful during the game’s traversal and cutscenes when you want to avoid corny pan-ins and outs. Turbo Mode is also ideal in a New Game+ playthrough or for purposes like trophy cleanup–for those wondering, the PS3, Vita, and PS4 versions all share the same PSN trophy list.
With that, if you’re somebody who started the game on PS3 but didn’t finish it for whatever reason, you can load your save onto the PS4 version and pickup right where you left off. You’ll also get a bunch of other free goodies with the transfer.
What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?
As I stated in my review of the original game, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel is nothing short of fantastic 70-hour epic that’ll leave you craving more.
If you’ve never played the game, it’s definitely worth the time and money especially since all the (mostly cosmetic) DLC comes with the package.
If you’ve already played the game, I’d be a little more hesitant. While it’s great that the Japanese voice track finally made its way here with the increased lines of spoken dialog and Turbo Mode, I wouldn’t necessarily say those features make it worth forking another $50 for. Then again, if you have the game on PS3 and for whatever reason didn’t finish it and you don’t ever want to hook up your PS3 again, then I would totally spend the $50 to finish the game on PS4. That’s as close to an unbiased take as I can give you.
Now if you want the take of a hardcore Trails fan, of course you have to buy the game–how else can we get Falcom to consider getting somebody to officially localize the Crossbell games? But we’ll leave that discussion for another time.