The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III – Review
Follow Genre: RPG
Developer: Nihon Falcom
Publisher: Nihon Falcom, Nippon Ichi Software, NIS America
Platform: PS4
Tested on: PS4

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III – Review

Site Score
Good: Story, Characters, Mechanics
Bad: Dated graphics, Doesn't bring anything new to the table
User Score
(2 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (2 votes cast)

It hasn’t been that long since the first two installments of Trails of Cold Steel have been updated to be played on the PlayStation 4. While these games didn’t get that many improvements, the high-speed mode and the slightly updated graphics made revisiting this series a quite pleasant trip down memory lane. The two releases still proved to be fun, mainly because of the appealing storyline, the tried-and-true RPG mechanics and the diverse cast of characters. Now, the third installment has become available for the PlayStation 4 and we were eager to see what the future holds for the old students of Class VII and the next generation of cadets that will find themselves being guided by Rean Schwarzer, the protagonist of the series.


After the big Erebonian war, things seemingly calmed down, allowing the legendary Class VII to continue their classes and graduate from Thors Military Academy. In this class was Rean Schwarzer, who is deemed the hero of the last war, as he played a very big part in it, even though he was still a student. Now, only a year after his graduation, he is being transferred to a remote branch of the Thors Academy to become an instructor himself. Ironically enough, he becomes the teacher of a new Class VII, which has a few special students in it as well. He’ll be leading three students, each of them being rather peculiar. He will not only be the instructor for the class, but he’ll be tested himself. While this all sounds like a calm chapter in Rean’s life, things won’t go as smoothly as he thinks, both with the students and the turmoil that still rages in the empire.

While you can easily start this game without any prior knowledge of the first two games, thanks to the very detailed recap you can view in the menus, it’s still advised to play the other two games first. The story is presented with in-game cutscenes and dialogues. This was also the same for the previous games, and this is a great way to stay immersed in the game.


Those that expected to be ushered into a new generation of The Legends of Heroes franchise will be rather disappointed. The game does get away with many of its rough edges because of the anime-aesthetics, but overall Trails of Cold Steel III looks like a late PlayStation 3 release, with very empty environments. There are different settings and environments to explore, but you’ll notice that the game will never push the boundaries of the PlayStation 4, not even the early models of the console. That being said, the diverse cast of characters is still fun to get acquainted with and the enemy models are diverse enough not to become a drag. If you loved the style of the rereleased first two games, then you’ll have no issues with the graphical prowess of this one either.


The sound design is pretty much the same as in the previous games. You’ll hear a few familiar tracks play in the background, while many of the key conversations are fully voiced. It’s sad that they didn’t voice the entire game, as it would have made the experience even better, but what’s present is very good. The sound effects and menu sounds all sound the same, creating a rather recognizable atmosphere for the game.


Like its predecessors, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III is a very traditional JRPG, in which you’ll complete tasks and missions in smaller enclosed areas. Time will gradually pass in the school, and you’ll have to perform tasks in and outside the boundaries of the academy. The format is quite clear from the start and there isn’t that much micro-management going on to make things overly complex.

Combat is once again done in a turn-based fashion, in which you give commands to your fighters every turn. You can opt to do normal attacks, arts and/or crafts. These last two options are pretty much the equivalent of spells in the game. It’s possible your character is not in range, which means you’ll have to properly position them to hit your enemies. Initiating a battle can be done by attacking the monster that roams around on the overworld. If you perform a back-strike, you’ll have the advantage when the combat begins, allowing you to hit first.

The game is still pretty much the same as the previous installments, only now you find yourself on the other side of the fence. Instead of being a student, you’ll now be an instructor that has to work closely with the few students in the new Class VII. Other than that, it’s once again about performing mundane tasks, going out on quests and bonding with other characters. The format still feels very familiar and that’s what makes this game quite fun.

Even though this third installment is no remake, the developers left in the turbo option, allowing you to speed up things. This is certainly a handy tool when you’re grinding for experience, as it makes combat go really fast. It’s, however, harder to hit monsters on the overworld, not because they move too fast, but because it’s harder to get a back-strike in. Overall this function is still well-appreciated because it makes certain dull sections a lot more fun.


The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III is not that different from its predecessors. This time you’ll be on the teaching side, rather than be the pupil, but the core gameplay and mechanics remain the same as in the first two games. If you liked the story of the old(er) titles, you’ll certainly appreciate the flow of this one. If you’re looking to play with Rean Schwarzer and the legendary Class VII, be it a new one, then this new installment of the series will keep you occupied for quite some time.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III – Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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1 Comment

  1. […] their established titles than making many new games. Lately, they’ve been remastering both Trails of Cold Steel III and Trails of Cold Steel IV for modern audiences, and today they’ve announced the release of […]

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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