If you’re a regular on the site you’ll know that I’m a huge Trails series nerd, so when we got the opportunity to review the PS4 releases of The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel and The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II, I immediately called dibs. The first game scored really well when we published its review a few weeks back but how does Cold Steel II fare? Find out in our review.
Trails of Cold Steel has one of the most epic cliffhangers in gaming history and although I’ve played through the games multiple times now across PC, PS3 and PS Vita, I was really excited to experience everything all over again with the new improvements that the PS4 version brings.
The PS4 release of The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II is the definitive edition of the game bringing forth several improvements including 4K/60FPS support, many QOL features and extra dialogue amongst other improvements. My only complaint with this release is the occasional slowdowns. The game would drop frames for a few moments which can get annoying, however, this is relatively infrequent and only occurs during heavy action moments but it’s certainly disappointing to see whenever it happens. Hopefully, publishers XSEED know of this by now and they’re working on a patch because the PS4 Pro, the platform I played the game on, should easily be able to handle the game.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II starts off roughly a month after the events that occurred at the end of the first game, with our protagonist Rean Schwarzer managing to escape the conquest of Trista thanks to the efforts of Class VII. Rean has been comatose all this time and after waking up it’s up to him to assemble Class VII and try to stop the Civil War of Erebonia between the Noble Faction and Imperial Army.
The gameplay is mostly the same as expected but the battle system has gotten some notable upgrades and tweaks that add another layer of strategy as well as quicken up the battles. There are general adjustments to the Meta in Cold Steel II, like for example Arts are much more viable as they cast quicker, making them super fun to use later on in the game. You’ll be starting off at a higher level instead of starting at Level 1 like the first game, which is a nice touch, but the enemies this time are stronger too which makes sense when you keep the story and lore in mind.
Cold Steel II also adds an Overdrive system, which after filling a gauge allows you and your Linked partner character to get stat boosts and perform three times in a row. Luckily the battle system is adjusted so the Overdrive System isn’t as overpowered as you would expect and overall is really fun to use and welcome addition.
In terms of content, there’s a ton to do and if you’ve played a Trails game before you’ll know that you’re in for quite the journey. Cold Steel II adds on top of the usual Trails experience and further improves on the endgame. There’s canon content that only becomes available in New Game+ which is necessary to better understand the overall plot of the game so a second playthrough is almost necessary but don’t worry the game still manages to be fun when you ramp up the difficulty to the dreaded Nightmare setting.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II pulls a dynamic shift from the campy first game into pulling you in a full-blown war. The game brings forth an amazing story with superb characters that we can’t wait to see again in Trails of Cold Steel III later this year. Cold Steel II personally went above and beyond my expectations of what I was expecting from a sequel and is a must play for any JRPG fan.