Everything you need to know about The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel 3.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel 3
Nihon Falcom (Japan); NIS America (WW)
Release Date:JP: September 28, 2017; WW: October 22, 2019
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel 3 is a turn-based role playing game with life simulation mechanics, developed and published by Nihon Falcom (published and localized by NIS America outside of Japan). It is part of the long-running The Legend of Heroes meta-franchise, and the third game in its Trails of Cold Steel sub-serise.
Nihon Falcom confirmed in December 2015 that The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel 3 was under development, and the game was formally unveiled in December of the following year. It was confirmed that the game would launch in Japan in September of 2017.
While development of the game began in mid-2016, the development team had previous been conflicted on which platforms to support for the game. Due to the PS Vita’s popularity in Japan and the fact that both previous Trails of Cold Steel games had been on the system, some of the development team wanted to continue supporting the handheld.
However, owing to the greater power that the PS4’s hardware would provide, and the fact that being on the PS4 would lead to better worldwide sales as opposed to being on the PS Vita, Nihon Falcom announced during the game’s official unveiling that Trails of Cold Steel 3 would be a PS4 exclusive. Nihon Falcom admitted that both Trails of Cold Steel and Ys had become popular outside of Japan, with Ys: Memories of Celceta selling more outside of Japan than it did in Japan. Owing to their growing audience in the west, they decided to shift their development focus to the PS4, which was the more popular system in western markets. Trails of Cold Steel 3 was also the first game in the subseries to not release for the PS3.
The game released in Japan on September 28, 2017. During its launch week, it sold 87,261 units, which was a drop from the over 150,000 units Trails of Cold Steel 2 had sold in its own launch week, with this drop being attributed to the lack of a PS Vita release for the game. However, the game still sold through 80 per cent of its initial shipment during its launch week, while Nihon Falcom also confirmed that it had the highest digital sales for the series to date.
It was announced in January 2019 that Trails of Cold Steel 3 would be localized and released outside of Japan in September of the year, with English and French localizations getting officially confirmed. Nihon Falcom also announced that as opposed to the first two Trails of Cold Steel titles – which were localized by XSEED Games – Trails of Cold Steel 3 would be localized by NIS America (who had also localized Ys 8: Lacrimosa of Dana). Since the localization efforts of NIS America for Ys 8: Lacrimosa of Dana had drawn criticism from several fans and players, Nihon Falcom’s announcement that they would continue this partnership for Trails of Cold Steel 3 as well was met with some disappointment by series fans outside of Japan.
NIS America announced in July 2019 that Trails of Cold Steel 3’s western release date had been pushed back from its original September 2019 launch by a month, with October 22, 2019 being confirmed as the new release date for the localization.
Trails of Cold Steel 3 serves as a direct narrative successor to the previous two Trails of Cold Steel titles, set one and a half year after the events of Trails of Cold Steel 2. Rean Schwarze, who is now a military professor, returns as the protagonist once again, with Rean’s friends from military school from the previous titles, as well as Rean’s students, also playing important roles in the story. The game goes over some long-standing mysteries in the series’ story, such as Rean’s mysterious birth.
Characters from other Trails games also have involvement in the story. Tita and Agate from Trails in the Sky, and Tio and Randy from Trails from Zero and Trails to Azure feature in the story.
Trails of Cold Steel 3, like its predecessors, is a turn based JRPG that also features slice of life mechanics. Life simulation elements allow the player to interact with other characters in the game in order to deepen the bonds with them. Deeper bonds not only reflect in the story, but also have applications in combat. As the Link Levels between characters progress, their Tactical Links become more powerful.
Though Trails of Cold Steel 3’s combat is still menu-based and turn-based, Nihon Falcom have attempted to speed up the battles, such as by allowing player to map more commands to direct button pressed rather than having to scroll through menus. This means the ring command system of previous games has been replaced, with the new direct command system seeing battle actions being directly mapped to direction and action buttons.
Trails of Cold Steel 3 also features seamless transitions between battles and the overworld, which is a first for the series. Juna Crawford, who is a new playable character, can also make use of an ability called Style Change to switch between Striker Mode and Gunner Mode during combat, which are melee and ranged options respectively. She is the only character who can use Style Change.
Trails of Cold Steel 3 also introduces a new feature called Brave Order, which allows players to issue party-wide orders for a few turns using Brave Points. Depending on the Brave Order given, the amount of turns they last can vary. These Brave Orders can provide various buffs and advantages in combat, such as increasing the damage dealt, decreasing the damage taken, increasing the critical rate, restoring some health every turn, and more.
Another new mechanic introduced in Trails of Cold Steel 3 is the Break System. The Break System lets players break through enemies’ defenses and rendering them weaker for the next turn. Each enemy has a Break Gauge, and when the gauge is depleted, their defense is broken. This has several effects, such as the enemy dropping items, parameter boosts being cancelled, the enemy becoming unbalanced, and them taking greater damage while they are in their Break state.
Note: This wiki will be updated once we have more information about the game.