With Trails of Cold Steel 3 coming to the Nintendo Switch early next year, I thought it was the perfect time to talk about the series.
I first got introduced to the series about a year ago. I stumbled upon a fan translation of the enhanced port of the first game in the series, Trails in the Sky FC, while looking for games to play on my PlayStation Vita. 50 to 60 hours later, and I was hooked. The game turned out to be amazing and the second game: Trails in the Sky SC, was even better.
Here we are a year later, and I just completed the 8th game in the franchise: Trails of Cold Steel 3.
So, with all 8 translated games under my belt (which includes games with fan translations, ’cause two of the games aren’t officially localized), let me try to convince you why you should play the Trails series.
Gameplay: Positions, Customization Matter
The games use a twist on the traditional turn-based combat formula. It takes ideas from tactical RPGs where unit positioning, range, and target selection matter in the flow of combat. Here’s where Trails makes it interesting:
- Where you place your characters determine whether enemies can reach and attack your units during their turn.
- Conversely, this also affects your characters. Their movement and range stats determine whether they can reach and attack enemies based on their position.
Overall, this unique mechanic makes for a more active and tactical take on turn-based combat.
In addition, the Trails games also offer a degree of character customization. Equipment and Quartz (the games’ equivalent of Materia) determine how characters perform in combat. Aside from these:
- You can outfit characters to become purely physical damage dealers, healers and supports, mages, tanks, and other combat roles.
- Players can opt to use optimal strategies and builds in the games. However, the games do allow players to a wide range of build options they can customize.