The end of a long saga
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV is an RPG video game developed by Nihon Falcom. It is part of the Trails series which in turn is part of the larger The Legend of Heroes franchise, ed is the latest entry in Cold Steel's tetralogy.
We recommend that you read the opening part of our review of the Nintendo Switch version of The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III, Where we explained the origin of the long saga of the Legend of Heroes and in particular of the Trails.
Trails of Cold Steel IV was released for PlayStation 4 in Japan in September 2018 and worldwide on October 27, 2020, with ports for Nintendo Switch and Microsoft Windows scheduled for 2021.
Thanks to Koch Media we managed to get hold of a copy of the PlayStation 4 title.
With the latter title the end of the Cold Steel saga is attested, even if the Legend of Heroes still continues with the latest released recently in Japan, Hajimari no Kiseki.
Will Falcom be able to give a worthy ending to the Erebonia saga? Let's find out together in our review!
We are in the endgame
The game is a direct sequel to the three previous Trails of Cold Steel games, set two weeks after the final battle in Trails of Cold Steel III.
Juna, Kurt and Altina wake up to find that Rean Schwarzer has been captured following the last battle that took place two weeks earlier. Determined to save Rean and put an end to Chancellor Osborne's plans, Juna takes command of Class VII and travels throughout Crossbell and Erebonia to try to understand what Ouroboros and Osborne plans are.
Almost like every chapter of the legend of heroes, even for the latter, the story takes a bit to mesh, but we can assure you that once it gets going it will be a succession of continuous emotions, giving a worthy conclusion to the saga of the empire of Erebonia.
The only flaw is that narratively it is a bit weaker than the third chapter, failing to fully satisfy the hype sprung from the final part and the cliffhanger of the third chapter.
The game has the largest cast of characters in the series, including Class VII Heroes, Liberl Heroes, and Crossbell's Special Support Section. The title is largely focused on the characters of Class VII.
Not all the characters of the sagas of the previous trails will be present, but the most important ones, it is still a good number. They are not neglected at all, each of them will satisfy you with their own character and their way of being.
Also the power replay or see the characters we loved so much in new graphics of the first Trails certainly makes a great nostalgia effect.
This is also one of the reasons why we recommend playing previous titles (especially Cold Steel) or at least read the summaries present in the initial Cold Steel IV menu.
Un gameplay “more of the same”
The gameplay is almost entirely identical to Trails of Cold Steel III, a traditional JRPG with turn-based battles, which reuses the various functions of the previous ones, such as the Orders system, the Orbment system, minigames, turbo mode and mecha battles.
Each character of the new Class VII in this last chapter has new and unique S-Craft techniques in combat. There are, however, several changes from the previous Trails of Cold Steel game, such as the changes to the Order and Break systems.
Some characters have received weaker Orders that can be improved finding treasure chests that bear the name of "trial" battle, they can only be opened by specific characters. Enemies now also require "much more" break damage before the break state can be dealt.
Compared to the previous titles this time you will have more freedom as one is no longer tied to the scholastic aspect, however, the subquest system will always be present that from ap, useful to level up, giving prizes from time to time increasingly useful and rare.
Furthermore the gameplay has been balanced by tweaking it a bit, as for example in the previous chapter with certain builds that were created, there was the risk of "breaking the game" making certain characters too powerful even at higher difficulties.
A persistent rust
The game has an excellent story full of interesting characters and one of the most successful turn-based gameplay, with a longevity that can easily reach 100 hours, however Cold Steel IV also falls into the same flaws as its predecessors, the graphic and technical sector.
Don't get me wrong, it's not bad, but for the time we are it's really dated, nothing groundbreaking. We hope that with future titles the situation will be able to change for the better, maybe they change their graphics engine.
As for the performance itself, we were satisfied, we tested the game on a PlayStation 4 Pro and didn't feel like we saw frame rate drops or bugs of any kind.
Finally, for lovers of Japanese dubbing we can confirm that the game is available in both English and Japanese, like its predecessor.