25th Mar2020

‘Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel 2′ Review (PS4)

by Chris Cummings

trails-cold-steel-2-ps4-cover

Trails of Cold Steel is a series that I, sadly, have been very much unfamiliar with. The cool opportunity to play this title came up, however, and so I gave it a shot, without the knowledge of what I was getting myself into or any information about the previous titles in the series. Many fans, and potential fans of this game are likely folks who have an existing love for other “Trails” titles, and so this will be a different kind of review, a review from a gamer who is playing a sequel title in a game-series… blindly.

Previously released on PS3 and PS Vita, Trails of Cold Steel 2 is a JRPG port with some improvements (although, for me… I can’t acknowledge or speak of any of the improvements as I never played the game on the Vita). We find ourselves about a month after first game ended (apparently), with the Erebonian Civil War shooting off around us and a bunch of characters spread out all over the place. You embark on various quests, meet characters with a variety of personality-types and go about teaming up with said allies in order to jump into battle. There are even a few mini-games too, to keep things fresh. The system to battle, which is turn-based (something that I’ve never been fully into as a gamer, but am always willing to attempt) is a little tough to learn for those unfamiliar with the game or it’s previous titles, but I got into it after a while. It is quite complex, as you use physical and magical attacks and healing in order to defeat enemies. There are bosses who are tough as nails too, so these turn-based battles require planning, thought and patience. Some of these boss battles are damn hard.

The story itself is something I found to be a touch on the slow side, but that could have an awful lot to do with my lack of history with the series, and the fact that I’m not used to games of this ilk as much as others will be. The exploration is fun eventually, but really this is a linear game, a story that pushes you to stay in the right lane and keep on track. This has its plus and negative points, but things do open up eventually and that allows a little time to change things up. Now, if you enjoy tactical combat and a large story that encompasses much of your experience, then you will love this. This will, for sure, be a game to seduce and appeal to many who are into JRPG titles, and this series overall. This is old-school stuff, and seeing what many series’ have become (such as Final Fantasy), those who want an old-school title in the genre will get their wish with Trails of Cold Steel 2.

I found myself a little like a fish out of water here, like I was diving into the middle of a video game without any idea of how the gameplay worked, what was happening in the story, or who the characters were. This, I’d say, isn’t one for a newcomer. If you can play the prior game first… I’d advise it. You can always read up on the happenings of the last title, but be prepared for some challenges. For those who want an old-school JRPG, and for those who loved the first Trails of Cold Steel game, this will tick many boxes and hit the marks. For me, I felt like I was playing something I had no right to play, something that required more knowledge before diving in. Still, the story, the characters and the system, as baffling as it was at times, is rewarding and interesting. If you’re a fan, or want some hardcore RPG gaming, then get in here. This might be everything you’ve been looking for.

***½  3.5/5

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