I'm really feeling it!

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III Demo Impressions

The Legend of Heroes series has been a favourite of mine since I took the plunge and played Trails in the Sky half a decade ago. Within quick succession I was able to play Trails in the Sky SC, Trails of Cold Steel, and Trails of Cold Steel II. Sadly, things came to a grinding halt there. The series shifted from the PS3/Vita to the more powerful PS4 hardware and Falcom and its traditional localization partner XSEED sadly started to drift apart. The wait for Cold Steel 3 started to feel like the wait for Trails in the Sky SC.

While that wait is almost over. Though it has not come without hiccups. Fans fears were realized when it was announced while Cold Steel III would be coming Westward its localization partner XSEED would not be involved. Instead, NISA would be handling the localization efforts. A less than welcome piece of news considering the disastrous localization effort they put into bringing over Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana, another Falcom series popularized in the West by XSEED.

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However, it appears that NISA foresaw this reaction and took steps to avoid a repeat performance. As they brought over many key localization team members from XSEED and a large amount of the voice actors from the original two games. As such this demos release was fans first real chance to see if anything major has changed with the switch in localization teams.

As of now having played the demo, I can say for myself I am quite impressed. If I did not know the backstory I would largely be unaware anything had changed. Cold Steel III remains Cold Steel. Though this is only a small, small, section of a large game where I am sure some changes will occur what I have heard and seen looks promising for the full release.

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As it stands most of the issues one could reasonably fear has seemingly been avoided, Rean Schwarzer the primary protagonist of the series sounds the same. There seems to be some minor inflection differences but that is likely intentional as the character has grown older, nobody stays exactly the same. However, it is clear care was taken to keep things constant.

Furthermore, new characters voice actors seem to do a pretty good job as well. While this has nothing to do with the localization changes it is nice to know the same care and attention was given to the new characters as well. This extends to unvoiced (and unlocalized) characters from a second subseries of games.

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One part that is going to be a sticking point for people I expect in terms of the plot is how Cold Steel 3 promises to be a team up game. Meaning, a lot of events depicted in Trails of Zero and Trails of Ao the unlocalized Crossbell duology will certainly come into play.

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In many ways The Legend of Heroes is a franchise of franchises, with a lot of intertwining world building between them. Due to the final events of Cold Steel II and Cold Steel III being the first game that takes place after the events of Crossbell, many English fans could be left in the dark. This extends to fans who have not played Trails in the Sky 3rd which also contains key information the demo implies will be useful to players.

The Demo does try to alleviate this issue. By including a “Story so Far” section that has a pretty good history of events, people, and places. However, it is obviously a band aid as opposed to actually knowing and experiencing the events in game form. However, it still is appreciated even if they dont have Kari from Digimon narrating the whole thing like in Kingdom Hearts 3

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The last section of the demo that deserves some kind of mention is how the game actually is. This is buried near the end because honestly if you’re looking to buy this game you’re almost already initiated and if you are not. Please buy one of the many versions of the first two games, they are great. As such you are already aware how this series plays and not much has changed.

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Much like Cold Steel over Trails in the Sky, Cold Steel 3 plays the same but better. Little tweaks promise a lot of options including a much more robust link systems as well as enemies that will likely keep you on your toes. Also, the ability to skip attack animations made my silly want to grind everyone to Level 10 a lot easier.

All together I was nervous and excited going into Cold Steel 3. This demo settled the nervous and now I am just excited. While the handling of The Legend of Heroes could have been taken a better path Cold Steel 3 after a very long wait is almost in our hands. I am looking forward to it!

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