Recently there was a holiday on the street of those fans of Japanese role-playing games who, for some strange irony, either do not have a console, or prefer to play on PC, - The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III , one of the best JRPGs of recent years, finally came out.
But first, as usual, a short course in history - in the case of The Legend of Heroes, it is simply critical. This was originally a spin-off of the Dragon Slayer series from Nihon Falcom , which started in 1989. Then there was the Gagharv trilogy . And only in 2004, the games of the The Legend of Heroes: Trails subseries began to be released , which talk about events unfolding in a world called Zemuria.
This world is huge, worked out in great detail - right down to the history of the emergence of the currency of a particular state. It combines magic and technology, carts and armored trains, love and politics. In general, political conflicts, civil wars, clashes with secret and dangerous groups are fuel for all parts of the series.
And the authors needed as many as nine games to cover the saga of Zemuria from all sides. They are dedicated to different kingdoms and states, show the situation and conflicts from different points of view, but everything unfolds almost at the same time. Therefore, Trails in the Sky , and the Crosbell Arch, and Trails of Cold Steel are very closely connected with events and characters, of which there are simply a huge number.
So, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel is dedicated to the Erebonia empire, which was on the verge of a civil war. And her main character is a young and daring warrior Rin Schwarzer. In the first part, we were shown his formation and entry into the Torso Military Academy against the backdrop of flaring up internal conflicts in the Empire. In the sequel, Rinu, along with fellow students in the seventh grade of the academy, managed to stop the civil war, although not everyone liked the way it happened and how it ended - it's about representatives of annexed and annexed states. And he completed his studies.
And so in Trails of Cold Steel IIIwe already see how Rin, who is also the national hero Ashen Chevalier, himself becomes a teacher in the newly formed second branch of the academy - he was entrusted to head, naturally, the new Class VII, focused on special operations. Rin meets many new and familiar characters. And it is the diversity of relationships between dozens of well-written characters that is one of the undoubted advantages of Trails of Cold Steel III.
Tense relations are immediately established with some newcomers, including in the unit of our hero - not everyone is happy with how Rin ruined the situation with the civil war. Immediately a figure emerges of a typical bully bully who, even during exercises, constantly goes into conflict with almost everyone, and especially with Rin, and as a result will become a source of disaster. Yes, and between the students of Class VII is not all right ...
Rin has been meeting many acquaintances all this time, and some of them have returned to his life unexpectedly for himself. And even other witches from the camp of enemies cause him romantic longing and memories. A special peppercorn to what is happening is added by the fact that the second branch of the academy is sent mainly to those students and teachers who are considered, if not garbage (one cannot recognize such a national hero!), Then, in any case, not the most reliable and acceptable. And they quickly let us know that Rin was here for a reason too - he has certain and obviously not good plans.
In general, despite the fact that most of the time we, as before, seem to just go to different regions for exercises, there is enough intrigue. And immediately you feel the signature combination of lyrics and politics, personal relationships with characters and political showdowns. Moreover, the academy units are sent to explore the recently joined lands, and the insidious secret organization “Ouroboros” continues to weave its conspiratorial networks.
Another thing is that in Trails of Cold Steel III the scale of what is happening has grown markedly. There are more than all - actors, dialogues, videos. One prologue can take a couple of hours, and even in the first chapter they will tell you for a long time in the language of the "tutorial" what is there and what.
Naturally, the question immediately arises: how can a beginner figure this out? Should he start acquaintance with the series from the third part? By and large, no, it’s not worth it - it’s better to play the previous ones to get the full pleasure of what is happening and understand all the references that are here to other arches of the series. Although you can try it - meetings with old friends are inevitably accompanied by explanatory flashbacks. And besides, there is a separate section in the main menu, which tells about the events of past releases.
Although at the same time it would be ideal to begin acquaintance with the series specifically with Trails of Cold Steel III . The game has not only grown in scale, but also noticeably prettier in appearance - especially in the version for Steam. Everything looks and optimized perfectly even at medium settings. Questions may arise except for textures and a little detailing of some locations - it is clear that this is not the most modern game, although there is nothing seditious here.
But character models - the way they are drawn and dressed - do not raise any questions. This is a very beautiful and fashionable anime, where everyone seemed to have gathered not to fight, but to go to Paris for a fashion week - well, or to a casting for costume porn. For good reason there is a separate section for costumes. Naturally, a large layer is associated with flirting and romantic relationships.
In addition, the game has become more spectacular, including due to, as I already mentioned, a huge number of cut scenes. And more dynamic. Everything is familiar with the gameplay here - we run, communicate, and complete numerous not only basic, but also side quests, errands, and orders. There are many missions, almost all are built to find someone or something, bring the right ingredients, carry something, and so on. But everything is by no means primitive furnished - the process of finding a cat from a side quest, for example, will lead to a meeting with a very colorful girl who will still play a role in history.
Automatic pumping characteristics, obtaining new ranks; discovery and improvement of new abilities through an upgrade of an ARSUS II pocket phone with master quartz of various strengths and fields of application (we still open new cells for crystals received in battles); running around the locations laden with chests and enemies, where it is better to engage in battle only with those who managed to sneak up behind; craft; weapon improvement; cooking; fishing; mini-card game (updated) - everything is in place. There is even the opportunity to pump the Academy building itself. It's just that they somehow improved and made everything more convenient. Even the built-in acceleration, which allows you to skip time in dialogs and videos, has benefited, especially if you play repeatedly.
The dynamics grew mainly due to innovations in the combat system. There is now no circular menu with a choice of actions, everything happens faster and is again more convenient. You can skip animations and scroll through time. Although at first I don’t want to miss anything - a view from behind my shoulder, beautiful angles and more elegant animations turn battles into a much more modern spectacle.
Yes, and the mechanics of turn-based fights acquired new opportunities. Yes, everything, as before, is built on pumping ties between the characters so that they cover each other, and applying a variety of abilities (from the sections "Art" and "Kraft"), on which we accumulate certain glasses and types of energy. But to this was added a system of orders imposing bonuses (for example, to damage or defense) for the entire party. True, they also need to accumulate. In addition, there is an option to hit the enemy so hard in the face that he will be immobilized for a while - this also enhances the damage, and allows you to constantly conduct joint attacks.
To many veterans of the series such innovations seemed even unnecessary - they say, playing has become noticeably easier. Especially considering the fact that now you can insert a second stone into ARSUS II with additional bonuses, which will be used by colleagues in particular. Even at a nightmare level of difficulty, some problems rarely occur. But here you need to understand that all this is true for the seasoned veterans of the series - less confused comrades, much less beginners, the game can challenge the “normal”. Especially in boss fights, which are very common here.
In general, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III is really a very cool and addictive top-level JRPG, which can hardly be compared to the new Final Fantasy VII , but it takes the 15th “final” in its fascination and affordable features. The game has become larger, more dynamic and spectacular. In the PC version, I repeat, it looks even better than the original. True, there are questions about the behavior of the camera while moving the character - it staggers in all directions, and a decrease in sensitivity does not help much. But you can get used to it. But the authors tried to make the management as convenient as possible within the framework of the initially more cumbersome in this sense Japanese RPGs.
All lovers of the genre and PC-boyars who want to join them are simply obliged to try the Steam version of The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III. Although they have no special choice, after all, Final Fantasy VII is only available on PlayStation 4. So far, of course, we are waiting for the release of the English version of the fourth, final part of this magnificent series.
Pros: a fascinating plot; many different, but always detailed characters; refined and very rich in a variety of possibilities, classic gameplay; more spectacular and dynamic battles; not the most modern, but still very nice picture, which has become even more beautiful in the Steam version; overall a great port on a PC; many beautiful wifu; great music.
Minuses: in the PC version there are problems with the camera while moving the character; No transfer save from past games in the series.