March 25, 2018

Trails of Cold Steel 1 Quick Review

Posted in video games tagged , at 2:20 pm by riulyn

I finished the game at 2:30 AM Saturday morning and started Cold Steel 2 a few hours later. I think that tells you enough. But below I’m going to quick hit my thoughts on Cold Steel 1.

Plot & Characters – TLDR – Have patience!

  • Slow start. But I think having the prologue partway through the school year was good to mitigate the first few chapters being a bit of “so what, I know there are these problems and there are these characters”. It will get serious, no worries!
  • Structure, though, is good. I liked how it was easier to not miss optional quests compared to older entries. Also a predictable structure helped me pace my way through the game. Of course the last chapter threw everything off, but that’s okay because it was an epic ending.
  • The game is pretty much slow build all the way. It basically set itself up for being the start of an epic. So not surprised that it made it to 4 games. Don’t get started if you don’t want to see it through. I was already invested because of Zero/Ao. I think any prior interest in the world only helps my enjoyment of Cold Steel 1.
  • I hope you don’t hate Rean at least, if you don’t end up liking him. It feels like maybe at first to be an ensemble piece, but it really is Rean who attracts some Gary Stu qualities. I think in my previous posts I’ve been pretty cool towards him but I’ve warmed up to him a bit. It’s too bad because I liked Estelle quicker and Lloyd almost right away. Since Rean is the protagonist all the way through this arc, it’s a lot of Rean.
  • And more of Alisa than some people like. I’m okay with her, but the game tries to pretend you have a choice when in the main story they are clearly pushing Alisa and Rean. It’s a bit annoying; Zero/Ao handled this way better. Don’t worry, all the Class VII characters get developed. Eventually. Patience is the name of this game. I’m assuming they get more developed in the rest. Personal opinion that they took way too long with Emma…

Battle & Gameplay – TLDR – Balanced somewhat

  • The game forces you to use all the characters. They do end up all being useful, though I definitely was biased towards Laura and Elliot at the end.
  • Crafts do the shit, but arts are mostly lame. I miss the arranging of the quartz in a certain order to get higher advanced arts like in the Sky and Zero/Ao games.
  • Fishing is fine. Recipes cooking with the party members is a fun touch.
  • Quests are everywhere but as stated above, easier to find them all.
  • Maps are short and puzzles, when present, are easy. I think it’s fine because there are lots of different areas and works better with the game’s style (otherwise it’d be way too long in my opinion).

Other – TLDR – Everything’s fine, nothing special

  • I was getting confused with the music in this game and in Tokyo Xanadu. I know this game came out before TX, so it’s more my fault. Overall solid, Falcom jdk stuff. Still prefer the earlier games and Ys music.
  • 3D models are okay, besides the fact they ruined Mueller’s face!

Take home: I did take a big break between starting the game and finishing the game around Chapter 3 due to last year’s glut of releases, not because I got mad at the game. Still, it’s a meaty experience and might be good to divide up between the first few chapters and the last few chapters if you can’t put the 60 hours or so at once. I think it’s a game for people who like world-building, lots of characters, lots of dialogue (lots of dialogue…), don’t mind a slow build or things limited due to plot. Fans of the series might not find this game as good as the others but it does solidly provide another perspective as well as continue the world building. I’m not super hyped after finishing the game for the actual game but definitely hyped for the next few. Still I do not see any issue replaying this game. When I’ll do that replay is more of the question…


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