The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel PS4 Review
At this point, the Trails series has become a well-known name for JRPG players, and for good reason: they are really good games and there’s quite many of them. Trails of Cold Steel, specifically, has been called one of the best modern JRPGs by many fans. We reviewed the original release (which I recommend reading for a deeper dive into what makes the game so good) and took a look at the PC port before. Now, Trails has finally arrived to the Playstation 4 with a port of excellent quality.
This remaster is in a lot of ways what you would expect: a very clean looking version of the game that runs at 60 fps, with a resolution that can get to 4K if you’re playing on a PS4 Pro. While some of the textures, models and animations are undeniable proof that this is originally a PS3 and Vita game, this port looks very sharp and runs without a problem.
The content of the game itself is mostly the same as the PC port. This release comes with the added lines of English dialogue that were recorded for that version while also having the option to play with Japanese voices for the first time in the series. Both voice casts are quite good in their own way, so whichever one you pick will come down to preference; you can’t go wrong with either of them.
One thing that is new to this port, however, is the ability to load a save from the original PS3 and Vita versions of the game. On paper, this is a great idea for people who played the original and would like to either continue their playthrough or jump into New Game Plus, but unfortunately, I couldn’t try how well executed this is since I don’t have a save to load. I’m not sure if you need to upload your save through the PS+ cloud service or from the old game itself, but either way, you would need to have your old system in hand if you haven’t uploaded your save back then. Still, it is a welcome extra.
Of course, the most important feature of the PC version makes its way into the PS4 remaster: turbo mode. When you press the L2 button, the game runs four times faster during battles and two times faster in other gameplay segments. What’s more, this also works for cutscenes. However, this doesn’t skip any dialogue, allowing you to read things at your own pace while making the action in scenes move faster if you wish so. None of the audio is distorted either, be it in combat or in cutscenes.
Turbo modes are always useful for RPGs but in Trails especially so, since they help the already fast-paced combat feel like it’s going at the speed of light. There’s a certain pleasure in the act of running around the maps in Cold Steel getting into fights and then ending them as fast as you can with attacks that target multiple enemies.
This goes hand in hand with other aspects of the game that, while not exclusive to the PS4 version, bolsters the title's accessibility. If you lose a fight, you can instantly retry it as it is or you can choose to weaken the enemies you’re facing before trying again. Trails of Cold Steel is not particularly hard and it doesn’t require excessive grinding, and when you combine these options with the speed of turbo mode, it really makes you feel like the game just wants you to have a good time playing it.
What’s more, this is a good point of entry into the series. Knowledge of the previous Trails games is always a plus, but Cold Steel is very enjoyable on its own. The story is very engaging and full of charming characters, both in your party and NPCs. It even has some surprisingly interesting things to say about themes that not a lot of games touch so directly, like how class systems affect society and its people.
And really, I would even say that Cold Steel is also a great point of entry into JRPGs in general. Not only it is an excellent game in an incredible series, but by including all these options that make some of the tedious elements inherent to the genre easier to digest, making it an attractive proposition for people that don’t really know how to get into JRPGs.
In the end, I can’t give enough praise to Trails of Cold Steel. It is an excellent port of an excellent game that finally arrives to a modern console. If for some reason you don’t have a PC that can run it, then this is the version to play. It’s extremely easy to recommend this game to anyone, whether they play RPGs or not, and it is also a good first step into the Trails series, which is well worth your time.