Here’s what you need to know about the Erebonia saga’s thunderous conclusion.
After releasing in September 2018 for the PS4 in Japan, Falcom’s The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel 4 is finally launching worldwide with full English localization. It will be available for PS4 first on October 27th with the Nintendo Switch and PC versions out next year. There’s quite a lot to cover, given the series’ lore and extensive mechanics. But we’re only going to stick to official information released thus far and avoiding even the slightest of spoilers. So without further ado, let’s get into what you should know before buying Trails of Cold Steel 4.
The story is perhaps the most important part of any Trails game so we’ll avoid spoiling anything that happened in previous titles. The only thing you really need to know is that Trails of Cold Steel 4 takes place two weeks after the conclusion of Cold Steel 3. Class VII, new and old, are back again though how they’ll be tested and the conflicts that will arise remain to be seen. The stakes couldn’t be higher though especially with heroes from previous games getting involved.
Largest Character Roster Yet
As seen in the official “Character” trailer, Trails of Cold Steel 4 has a lot of playable characters, making for the series’ largest till date. We know that new and old Class VII will be playable, which is already a pretty sizable roster in its own right. But characters from Trails in the Sky like Estelle, Joshua and Renne along with Trails of Zero’s Lloyd and Elie will also be playable. You can also expect the likes of Agate, Tita, Randy and Tio to join the cause. KeA is also confirmed, though we’ve only seen her executing an Order till now and not actually fighting in battle.
As a Trails fan, it’s pretty crazy to see the likes of Estelle, Joshua and Renne in full 3D, that too with full voice-acting. It’s also nice to see Randy cut loose and entering the fray after being an NPC in Cold Steel 3. Whether we can expect more characters on top of this is unknown. But overall, fans will be spoiled for choice on who to take into battle.
End of the Erebonia Arc
A lot has happened since the Cold Steel storyline started in December 2015 for the West. For all intents and purposes, Trails of Cold Steel 4 is the end of the Erebonia Arc and will hopefully wrap up all the various threads and plot points throughout the years. Given how Trails in the Sky and Trails of Zero/Azure panned out, along with the direction of Hajimari no Kiseki (the follow-up to Cold Steel 4 which is currently out in Japan), it should also be interesting to see how other countries in Zemuria will be affected by the conclusion.
Summoning Panzer Soldats
Mechs play a fairly big role in the series, especially when it comes to the likes of Valimar. In a throwback to Cold Steel 2, members of the new Class VII can call upon their respective Panzer Soldats in battle. Falcom president and producer Toshihiro Kondo confirmed this to Game Informer back in April, though how this will explicitly differ from Cold Steel 2 is unknown. Regardless, it should allow for turning the tides in battle.
Orders and Break Damage
One thing that doesn’t seem to be changing too much is the battle system, which still uses Orders and Break damage. In Cold Steel 3, Orders functioned as party-wide buffs for increased damage, damage reduction, increased stats and other effects. Break damage essentially allows for staggering foes after depleting their Break meter, thus allowing for guaranteed Rush attacks (or Bursts, if the player has enough BP). With the sheer roster size and their various abilities and techniques, it should be interesting to see the kinds of Orders that are added in Cold Steel 4.
For those who only care about the story and don’t want to get trounced in battles, there’s a full auto mode available. This allows fans to sit back and enjoy the story or, alternatively, breeze through any battles that are causing problems.
Lost Arts Return
Along with being able to summon mechs during regular battles, Lost Arts are also making a comeback. Debuting in Cold Steel 2, these were powerful Arts that could inflict heaps of damage or inflict special effects (like recovering the party’s max HP beyond the given amount). The trade-off is that they required a full EP gauge to execute. Lost Arts were also obtained via special Gems from defeating Cryptids in Cold Steel 2. Could this be the same way to earn them in Cold Steel 4? Will they only be usable once per battle? Just what kind of insane effects can we expect? As always, time will tell.
Publisher NISA also offered some details on expected mini-games that will be included. Fishing and Vantage Masters make a return, the former being a staple of the series till now and the latter debuting in Cold Steel 3 (which, interestingly enough, is based on a tactical RPG of the same name released in 1997 by Falcom). However, there will also be “puzzle games” and something called the Horror Coaster. Long story short, if you were afraid of spending too much time on other activities instead of the story, then Cold Steel 4 has you covered. Speaking of which…
Total Playtime and Quests
According to HowLongToBeat.com, the main story will take about 45 hours to complete. Of course, that’s only if you focus on the story – doing additional side content and activities can easily push that up to almost 100 hours (and well past that for completionists). Kondo also told Game Informer that Cold Steel 4 has the most quests of any game in the series, which is saying something considering how much there was to do in previous games. Along with tying up “some loose threads” from previous games, it will also reveal “mysteries” and details for characters that have appeared thus far. If you factor in all of the different activities and mini-games, then there’s quite a lot to keep one busy.