The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III - Recensione
The dawn of the Legend of Heroes universe has much deeper and more ancient roots. We need to rewind the calendar until 1989, when Dragon Slayer lays the foundations for the genesis of a very complex world in its geographical, political and religious facets. It is not necessary to philologically analyze the entire succession of chapters, spin offs and sequels to understand every aspect of the plot . However, it should be pointed out that at least for the current tetralogy - the Trails of Cold Steel - starting from the third chapter is practically a crime.
I start again from three
If you can, always reluctantly and to enrich your knowledge of the lore , look for a summary of the events that took place in the previous cycle - known as Trails in the Sky - this time a simple summary may not be enough, at least in terms of emotion and identification. . The problem is even more unpleasant on Nintendo Switch, which, having no other episodes of the saga in its library, places users in the uncomfortable condition of having to retrieve the first chapters on other game systems or having to sadly fall back (sacrilege!) On the present summaries on the startup screen.
In my opinion, this is a penalizing element of primary importance, although it is not in fact attributable to the game itself. Trails of Cold Steel 3 opens the curtain on the united lands of Erebonia in a moment of relative diplomatic detente. The player takes on the role of modest and charming Rean Schwarzer once again, ready to lead a new Class VII as a military instructor . With the momentary resolution of the civil war, the fulcrum of the previous episodes, the game sees Rean begin his career as an undisputed leader, after graduating from the Military Academy of Thors and having gained enormous fame in the conflict with the Imperial Liberation Front.
The training of cadets, the gradual introduction of new characters and the daily routine of academic life immediately create a sense of strong identification and growing curiosity. The events inside the campus counterbalance the increasingly pressing developments for the future of Erebonia and the northern lands of Ambria , in an ups and downs that do not skimp on cheerful curtains or more dramatic moments, thanks also to the large number of secondary characters that dot the narration. Not all narrative mini-arcs are noteworthy, but as a whole they return a full-bodied picture teeming with life.
Heroes, rapiers and arquebuses
The strictly turn-based combat system has taken a notable step up from previous episodes, offering a clearer and more pleasant interface and fast, smudge-free action. The presence of the classic Arts and Craft, specific actions (charged or immediate) that consume EP and CP are inevitable. The strategic movement within a limited area brings to mind the Tales of series, while not following the same action suggestions . The attacks, in fact, are always turn-based and the tactical opportunities make the clashes very satisfying, especially at levels of difficulty higher than the "normal" one.
One of the innovations introduced is called Brave Order and allows the entire team to place itself in a specific set-up. The S-Craft are similar to the classic super moves and all actions affect the enemy's Break bar, to be consumed to inflict a disproportionate number of damage. The mechs that can be piloted in this third episode go up to three units, exponentially expanding the strategic opportunities . The principle is perceived the real sense of progression in the management of the various assets and often a defeat against a boss only requires better planning rather than an idle grinding.
War in your pocket
The version on Switch brings with it strengths and weaknesses typical of the Nintendo console. On the one hand we have the always welcome portability, which in its miniaturization of the images enhances the character design and softens the squared lines of the polygonal constructions. From the top we have a resolution that is not exciting, however not so much as to affect the general graphic aspect . On TV, aliasing is much more pronounced and there is some drop in the frame rate. For a game that was born with half a generation on its shoulders, we could certainly expect more.
In any case, thanks to its impressive amount of content, including a nice minigame of cards, Trails of Cold Steel 3 remains one of the most significant JRPG of the last five years, overflowing to the limits of talkative, but always characterized properly. It is certainly not some technical hesitation that can cloud their extraordinary qualities.