World Building: Immersive, and Lived In
The Trails series has the most immersive and tight world building of any JRPG – or, hell, video game in general – that I’ve ever played.
- Each piece of text in the game, be it history books, literature, or newspaper are all meticulously written and gives a cohesive view of the world of the Trails series.
- Each NPC has 2-5 lines of dialogue that changes during any major story event, or when the time of day progresses.
In short, the games have a world that feels lived in, and has a rich history.
As an example of how much the writers care about the tiniest details, I’ll talk about a group of characters you meet over the course of the series.
In the first game, players meet a group of pirates who turn out to be a family of former nobles from overseas. However, they’re referenced throughout other games.
- In Trails of Azure the 5th game in the series, players can take part in a sidequest where a merchant is trying to swindle land off of a group of rural farmers. It is later revealed that said merchant is a infamous scam artist who once conned a noble family from another country.
- Finally in Trails of Cold Steel 3 (the 8th game), which takes place in the aforementioned country, you visit a town where the mayor reminisces about the noble family that previously managed the town. The mayor mentions how he feels regret over not being able to help the nobles after being conned out of their home and fortune.
This is just details about minor sub-character. The games are full of cohesive lore, history, and character development.
Soundtrack: Fantastic, Soothing to the Ears
There’s not a lot I have to say in this section. I’ll let the music speak for itself.
All the games have a fantastic selection of music that rivals games like NieR and Persona as some of my favorite game soundtracks.
- You have tracks like “The Whereabouts of Light” from the Sky arc. This song even serves as a leitmotif of the first two games.
- There’s also “Inevitable Struggle” from Azure, and “Spiral of Erebos” from Cold Steel 3.
If you end up enjoying the music in the games, you’ll be happy to know that Falcom Sound Team jdk’s entire discography can be found on Spotify!
In closing, if anything I’ve said has convinced you to get into the Trails series, now’s the perfect time to do so.
Trails of Cold Steel 3 will be coming out to the Switch in early 2020, and it’s a decent starting point for the series. Cold Steel 3 heralds the beginning of a new arc, and the game does a pretty good job catching the player up on the previous games’ events.
Who knows, maybe Falcom will decide to port all the games on the Switch. Otherwise most of the games are available, in English, on Steam, Playstation Portable, and Playstation Vita. All three of the currently localized Cold Steel games are also on the Playstation 4.