Although here we are still struggling to emerge, in Japan that of The Legend of Heroes it is a ten-year saga that over the course of its history has been able to count on a succession of high-level productions, unforgettable JRPGs in the eyes of many fans who have only recently entered our market. After the arrival of the third episode in Europe on PlayStation 4 and PC, Falcom is now preparing to land his creature also on the much loved Nintendo Switch, an event awaited by many given the possibilities offered by the Nintendo hybrid. We at Resources4Gaming were able to see first hand The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III studying every detail, and now we are ready to give you our opinion about it.
The Legend of Heroes: A World at War
From a purely narrative point of view, the work identifies itself as the third chapter of one quadrilogy in which it is practically essential to know every detail related to the lore of the scenic universe set up by the development team, under penalty of an inexorable inability to understand characters, events and explanations that will gradually take shape as we play. Approaching the brand without having completed the two previous chapters would be pure madness e it is no coincidence that the game starts exactly where Trails of Cold Steel II left off. The bloody civil war we had to deal with has now faded, but while Erebonia is attempting to return to its former glory, Chancellor Osborne does not seem to have put aside his expansionist aims. North Ambria and Crossbell have now been annexed and it is only a matter of time before the nation clashes with the Republic of Calvard.
In the midst of this announced disaster, Rean was thus assigned to the new campus of the Thors Military Academy as a teacher. This is where our well-known hero comes into contact with the new Class VII, to whom he will have to mentor: a handful of guys with incredible skills who will have to face missions of the utmost importance for their homeland. Starting from this narrative incipit, the game returns to outline a preponderant script within the game economy where multifaceted characters, great twists and an obsessive attention to every detail will reign supreme. A few minutes in-game are more than enough to realize the great attention paid to writing a convincing and passionate story that is not afraid to follow its rhythms, often deliberately "verbose" to allow the player to become attached to every single NPC present. on screen. Not that there were many doubts about it, but it is a great pleasure to be able to say again that the series continues to maintain its very high quality standards, in fact, showing an adventure that will reward anyone who decides to dive into his world with a story that never ceases to surprise.
O captain! My captain!
Fortunately, even from a playful point of view, the production has not lost its luster. Among the various academic days during which we will be able to get in touch with the various characters to get to know them more and more in depth, we will have the opportunity to face various missions in which the general play structure draws heavily on what has been seen in the past. We then return with a typical JRPG structure with turn-based combat where the strategy will dictate the law. While we will move inside the various dungeons, in fact, we will encounter various opponents with different features that once "reached", will catapult us onto the battlefield. Here, the production returns to show its superfine combat system, this time though expanded with some intriguing news which stratify the experience even more. For each member of our party we will be able to choose an action to make him perform, between the classic attack, defense, use of objects and so on - all while a bar placed on the side of the screen will always remind us when the action will pass in the hands of the enemy, but the development team wanted to put the so-called into the equation Order Process.
Going more specifically, Orders are special buffs that can be activated during your turn that will allow you to obtain extremely useful advantages and potentially capable of overturning even the most desperate battles. Be careful not to rely too much on it though, as each Order will require a certain number of Brave Points, essential to activate the most devastating attacks at your disposal. To flank the whole, we then find the Break System, an additional bar placed below that of the HP of the enemies that, once filled with attacks, will stun the enemies offering your party a very useful advantage. These additions, which at first glance may seem rather simple, actually contribute to enormously enrich the possibilities offered by the combat-system, which will revolve entirely around the strategic skills of the player on duty. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III is not in fact a prohibitive title in terms of difficulty, but it is still able to offer a very pleasant challenge. On the other hand, however, anyone who should limit themselves to launching attacks without interruption will soon face an insurmountable wall made of sudden and discouraging Game-Over. Managing your party by carefully evaluating what is the best move to make will in fact be essential to achieve the desired victory, and the strategic component that will need to be put in place will be anything but secondary, with extremely difficult clashes that could turn into some quiet walks giving the right commands. What ensues is thus a solid and rewarding system where each new battle manages to present the right challenge rate, a masterful combination of mechanics and ideas that allow the production to never lose its enamel.
Even the eye would like its part ...
Needless to go around it too much, the real problem that was at the base of The Legend of Heroes Trails of Cold Steel III could easily be summarized in a technical sector that if on the one hand it was clearly better than the previous chapters of the brand, on the other hand kept presenting a level of detail well below the standards. The small budget available and the limited size of the team obviously brought with them some compromises on a purely technical level, with obvious shortcomings that on Nintendo Switch made themselves felt even more strongly. It is no exaggeration to say that this third chapter of the brand is technically behind an entire generation, between maps poor in detail, objects whose polygonal count is never at the top, animations and at least essential effects.
Against, the possibility of playing the whole adventure in portability is a great added value - also thanks to the small screen of the Switch that makes the visual deficiencies less evident - where in some sporadic cases we have witnessed some drops in framerate. On the other hand, there is very little to say for what concerns the sound sector, which can show off a high level dubbing (English or Japanese) flanked by a splendid soundtrack, with tracks capable of giving a strong emotional pathos. mix with what happens on screen. That said, it is therefore a shame to see how any localization of the Spanish texts is absent. Finally, the general longevity of the production deserves a small mention, which stands at very high levels. The main campaign can in fact be completed in about about fifty hours which, however, can easily double in case you decide to launch yourself in all the activities and secondary missions.