The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV
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What a mouthful of a game title exists in The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV. This entry to the series is the fourth and final installment to this story-rich, turn-based JRPG and aims to be the epic finale of a franchise already jam-packed with thrills and spills. The main question is, can the game top what it's already delivered in the previous titles?
Since 2015, installments of the series have been released annually to build a memorable JRPG that stands the test of time. Finally, we wrap up with The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV. Each game has seen high acclaim from fans and critics, putting more pressure on the game to deliver an impactful and meaningful ending to tie up the series. What kind of gameplay can we expect to meet those high expectations?
The Trail Goes Cold
We won't even try to hide the fact that the Trails of Cold Steel series is a narrative-driven game. The entire design is based on a rich storyline containing plenty of lore, compelling characters, and an immersive game world. We've been entertained thus far by the wars of the Erebonian Empire and beyond. But what could top the colossal events of the previous games?
The series was designed carefully to lead up to this moment, the final installment of The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV. And what is the definitive moment that brings such explosiveness? All-out war. That's right; players will assume the role of the roster of soldiers found in the previous games and engage in some of the most fierce battles in the series yet.
The gameplay, including combat and mechanics, is much the same as its predecessor. However, now amped to 11, the narrative provides that more urgent edge, making battles more exciting. It's up to your rag-tag group of soldiers to leverage their unique abilities and save the world from destruction. There are a few tweaks and improvements here and there. Still, players familiar with the franchise will slot in quickly to complete the storyline.
Without revealing the narrative, it's safe to say that The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV is a fitting finale for an already great franchise. The only annoyances are JRPG stereotypes, including the grinding time, repetitiveness, and the fact you'll have to play the other three games. But if you're geared up on your Trails of Cold Steel knowledge, you'll enjoy the end.
A Steely-Eyed Finale
As previously mentioned, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV does require players to invest time in completing the other three games to maximize its impact. Otherwise, it's like playing Final Fantasy XIII-2 without understanding the base story. You'll quickly get lost in the complex narrative, and gameplay will feel unintuitive.
However, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV ends on a high note and does enough to satisfy fans. Yes, nothing has inherently changed about gameplay, but does it need to, though? The narrative does enough to power the game and bring that immersion factor many JRPGs struggles with.
Round-Up - Pros & Cons
- The explosive narrative that's a fine end to the series
- Gameplay mechanics polished to perfection
- A more extensive roster of characters to make combat more exciting
- Features the many JRPG peeves such as grind and occasional cringe
- Not suited for players who haven't played the other games