JRPG The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel out now

Trails of Cold Steel

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel [official site] has arrived on PC. It’s an updated version of the PS3/PS Vita JRPG from 2013, improving the visuals and adding 5,000 new lines of voiced dialogue.

A trio of Nihon Falcom’s Legend of Heroes games are already out on PC (the Trails in the Sky trilogy), and this one takes place in the same universe. But if you haven’t heard of the Erebonian Empire, don’t worry, because it’s the start of a new story.

There’s lots of flashy turn-based combat, as you can see from the trailer below.

You play 17-year-old Rean Schwarzer, fresh recruit to a military academy. It’s your job to get through your lessons and help stabilise the Erebonian Empire, where tensions between the upper classes and the commoners are threatening to spill over.

“With nine hand-picked students of various backgrounds and abilities, Rean included, Class VII readies itself to dive deep into the political quagmire that threatens not only them, but the Empire as a whole.”

As to whether it’s any good or not, I couldn’t really say because I didn’t play the original. However, the Trails in the Sky trilogy has got very good user reviews on Steam, and people have recommended it to me in the past, for what it’s worth.

Oh, and Peter “Durante” Thoman (the man who fixed the PC version of Dark Souls, among other games) has been working with Nihon Falcom on it, so it should be a stellar port. He’s written a series of blog posts about working on the game that are worth a read. It sounds like he intended to work on the project one or two days a week but has been at it full-time, and now he reckons it’s “in a much better state than many of the releases I had a look at over the past few years”. He’ll be working to resolve any issues that do arise, too.

It’s out on Steam, GOG, and the Humble Store for £26.99/35,99€/$35.99, which includes a 10% launch discount until Wednesday.


  1. ramshackabooba says:

    Played it in my PS3, one of the best games I’ve played in the last 10 or so years.

  2. Babymech says:

    Oh these unfortunate Japanese German names…

    • Chillicothe says:

      This one ACTUALLY has a good reason for that though! lol

  3. lagiacrux says:

    the english voiceover is ok-ish, except for a couple of characters. there are ways though to get the original japanese voice-files and just replace them in the directory.

    otherwise, im about 10h into the game and i am enjoying myself. its a slow start but it gets better imho.
    also a nice way to revisit the world of trails in the sky.

    EDIT: as expected from durante, the port is excellent.

  4. freedomispopular says:

    I love JRPG turn-based combat, but I’ve never been able to stand the cutesy anime style. Seems to be very rare that you can get one without the other.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      Shadow Hearts and Shadow Hearts: Covenant spring immediately to mind. Old games, and they were never on PC, but they (while they’re in a loosely anime style) are certainly not ‘cutesy’. Feels like a real meeting of east and west in many regards, is profoundly weird, but amazing, amazing fun.
      I’d be interested in knowing if there are any other examples, honestly.
      EDIT: Should point out I’m actually fine with ‘cutesy anime style’ myself. Just interested.

      • BewareTheJabberwock says:

        I found a copy of Shadow Hearts: Covenant a while ago (haven’t ever seen the original), and got a refurbished PS2 just so I could play it (and the 75 or so other Ps2 games I still have kicking around). It is indeed weird (one of your characters uses a mailbox as a weapon, among other things), but quite a blast to play. And not at all “cutesy”, altho Karin is quite “blousey”…

        • Kaeoschassis says:

          It’s absolutely not necessary to play the first one in order to understand and enjoy Covenant, fortunately – I started with Covenant myself. Having said that, the plot and endings of the first tie into the second in very interesting and satisfying ways, so I’d still absolutely recommend it if you ever get the chance.

    • Zelos says:

      Have you tried having better taste?

      On a slightly more serious note, you’re pretty much right. I tried thinking of turn based JRPGs with less “cutesy” art styles and they’re almost all real time.

      Of course FF8 and FF10 are solid options. They’re not nearly as good as the other games in the franchise, but absolutely worth playing. Also I’d give Baiten Kaitos a look.

      Xenoblade isn’t turn based but it’s more modern and easily one of the best JRPGs ever made, so I’d highly recommend it.

    • wcq says:

      One of the defining features of JRPGs are designs inspired by Japanese pop culture, so if you can’t stand that sort of thing at all you’re pretty much out of luck I’m afraid.

      However, if you don’t mind it as long as it isn’t too ‘cutesy’, I’d recommend the Shin Megami Tensei series (well, anything except the Persona subseries, which is anime as ****). Also, if you don’t mind SRPGs, games such as Tactics Ogre and Vandal Hearts would fit the bill.

    • freedomispopular says:

      Thanks everyone for the recommendations! I’m still willing to check out something like this, just not a fan of the art style. To this day, Super Mario RPG on the SNES remains one of my all-time favorites, and I just wish we had more options similar to it on PC.

    • skyst says:

      I couldn’t agree more. This game could be the most amazing RPG of all time and, after seeing my squad of busty, big-eyed, short-skirted, purple-haired characters, I would absolutely give it a pass. I can’t wait for this to stop being what every other Japanese game looks like.

  5. SadOldGuy says:

    Man, you were not kidding about the slow start. I do wish my gaming computer was strong enough to run at max settings.

    • SadOldGuy says:

      And now I realize that it is using the Intel graphics card instead of the Nvidia card. Good grief.