The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel 2 Review
After a long wait, The Legend of Heroes: Trails Of Cold Steel 2 finally launches on the PlayStation 4. Is this massive JRPG worth your time, or should you look elsewhere?
The Legend of Heroes: Trails Of Cold Steel 2 Review
It is worth noting that players can start with this title, but playing the first entry comes highly recommended. There is a recap, but it doesn’t cover everything.
Trails of Cold Steel 2 starts off one month after the end of the original. Rean has been unconscious since then, and wakes up in the mountains of Ymir. When he finds out he has been out for a month, he immediately starts trying to figure out what happened to the rest of Class VII. After Rean gets back to Ymir, he finds out that Thor’s Military Academy has been taken over and his classmates are MIA. Then, before he can even get situated, his sister is abducted by the Jaegers, right in front of him.
When all is said and done, there is the only one thing left to do. Rean has to find his classmates and rescue his sister. On top of all this, the Ereboian Civil war is in full swing, making travel very difficult. Thankfully the knight Valimar allows you to fast travel to areas, which you could not do in the first game. With Valimar’s help, you start getting your classmates back together and start finding out where your sister is being held. Overall, the story can run you 60-70 hours without going for 100%.
Trails is a turn-based RPG with some interesting battle mechanics. You can attack, use magic, use skills, move, or use items like a typical RPG. The turn order randomly has buffs that can apply to either enemies or allies, depending on the rotation. So on top of worrying about healing and applying status effects, you need to either delay enemies or yourself in the turn order to get the best buffs. For instance, a guaranteed critical attack from an enemy might kill you, but if you delay him, the critical attack applies to your attack instead. The combat can feel overwhelming at first, especially if you didn’t play the first game.
That is how it works for normal combat, though there is mech combat as well. The knight Valimar is a mech, and when you go up against other mechs, you will use him. As opposed to the four you have in normal combat, Valimar fights alone with support from only one other party member. Every enemy mech has a weak spot depending on their stance. In order to win the tougher battles, you need to find all the weak spots on the enemy. You can also upgrade Valimar as the story progresses.
Outside of the main story stuff, you will have side missions and other activities you can take on. The crux of the side content involves you finding the rest of Thor’s students and getting them to join your cause. Class VII can’t be missed, but the other students are scattered all over the world. Bringing them into the fray will unlock other shops and facilities you wouldn’t usually have access to. You can also fish, cook, and snowboard when you have some downtime.
There is an incentive to do the side quests in this game outside of the standard rewards as well. When you complete a quest or clear an optional dungeon, you are awarded with AP. The more AP you get, the more bonus items and cash you get. A lot of the accessories given to you get here aren’t bad either. One minor annoyance is that to get the maximum AP you might have to beat a boss in X amount of turns, and they are HP tanks.
Note that we ran into a couple of issues with the frame rate when using Turbo mode. In areas where the higher elements are in play, and you have Turbo on during battle, you will get some frame drops. While dashing through the world in Turbo, you will also have some frame drops. You also have a lot of reused assets since you go back to a ton of places from the first game. Being that it is an old school JRPG, you have to go where the game wants you to go sometimes. For instance, a path to the left with a chest isn’t accessible because Rean says we should go to the highway first. Annoying, but nothing game breaking.
Fans of the original Trails of Cold Steel will want to pick up this second entry, but newcomers might want to get up to speed before diving in.
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