Steel going strong!
Game: Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II
Developer: Nihon Falcom
Publisher: NIS America
(Review code provided by publisher)
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel turned out to be one of my favourite JRPGs on the PS3 even if it is a game that has come out when the PS3 is releasing very few games. Less than a year on and we have a sequel which just blows my mind and there is many a good reason for that so I will get right into it.
Trails of Cold Steel II is a continuation of Trails of Cold Steel with protagonist Rean Schwarzer; the game takes place a month or so after the first games events so I will not spoil it too much. After a somewhat lengthy opening Rean is reunited with his classmates and sets out to find his kidnapped sister along with Princess Alfin who has also been taken. The game is essentially a sequel or expansion and a lot of story is covered based on past events. Trails of Cold Steel II also does not do a great job of getting first time players up to speed either; for this reason unless you have played Trails of Cold Steel and completed it you won’t make much sense of Trails of Cold Steel II so I would advise anyone to do that before setting off out here; I mean there isn’t any reason not to; Trails of Cold Steel is a great game (see my other review here)
The game looks as good as the first; while it doesn’t break any ground for improvement it is still a nice looking game and some of the battle animations are superb. The gameplay itself hasn’t changed much; collecting and sythesizing orbments and customisation of each character is very fun and intuitive. Battles are pretty much the same way as before and with many skills targeted at all enemies; it is a great way to shift through those encounters that require many turns otherwise. While the game is persistent in its approach to exploration and battles the biggest change comes from giant robot fights; these are giant mech battles and while simple add variety to the game and anyone who played Trails of Cold Steel should know as this was saw in the original but never happened so it’s nice to see it make an appearance.
The story, while character driven focuses less on relationships between characters themselves and is focused more on the war; this isn’t so much as a problem I just miss the social interactions that I had first time round but here there is a lot less of it. There is still plenty of jokes between each of the characters. The voice acting is again superb; I have played many JRPGs where characters lack well…..character but with Trails of Cold Steel II it’s as if the reprising voice actors know their characters too well; each character feels as if they have grown and their personalities have developed. It is a great feat for a game that is out so late for a console of the last generation so a big job well done to the localisation team.
While the game has plenty of lengthy narrative within much like the first, it does a good job of keeping your interest. Whilst character relationships are not as focused here they are still an integral part of the battle system. Combat linking makes a welcome return allowing strong bonded characters to pull of a series of powerful attack combinations; the stronger the relationship between characters then the more powerful the combination attack will be. There is also an overdrive mode where arts are allowed to be cast instantly. Fishing and Cooking make a welcome reappearance aswell as some nice new touches. There is plenty of extra content to be had in Trails of Cold Steel II and that is without the vast amount of hours needed to invest in its lengthy campaign.
As with the original. the soundtrack and sound is great and does not disappoint.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II is truly an incredible experience and a worthy follow up on of one of my favourite JRPGs on the PS3. While the game doesn’t add a whole lot in terms of gameplay, it does develop on character building and a story driven narrative that is second to none. If you have played and finished The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel and you need more of it then you know what to do.