The Legend of Heroes Trails of Cold Steel 4 also arrives on Nintendo Switch: how does it fare on the hybrid console of the Kyoto house?
It has been only a few months since we told you about the PlayStation 4 version of The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV, an extraordinary title that almost flawlessly closed a memorable, engaging and painful tetralogy (for all the details see our review of The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV). While western fans await with trepidation that NIS America announces the location of the next chapter, Hajimari no Kiseki, as well as the recent remastered Zero and Ao no Kiseki (two fundamental episodes to fully understand the saga and discover the origins of the Special Section of Support, but which unfortunately never landed on our side of the globe), the publisher is preparing to launch Trails of Cold Steel IV also on PC and Nintendo Switch. Intrigued by the possibility of relive the adventures of Class VII even in portability, in recent weeks we have therefore placed the version for the hybrid of the Kyoto House on the test bench, letting ourselves be conquered once again by an overwhelming story and a highly articulated turn-based combat system.
At the dawn of the great war
Just as the first two episodes of the tetralogy told a unique and indissoluble story, forming a single game on balance, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV starts exactly where its direct predecessor left off, exploring the consequences of the events that happened in the depths of the dark Grail of Erebus.
Backed by the Black Workshop, the secret society Ouroboros and its powerful “Ironbloods”, Chancellor Giliath Osborne ensured that the original and new Class VII fell into a well-organized trap. As a result, a terrible tragedy unfolded before the eyes of the gentile Rean Schwarzer, which in the grip of anger and an unstoppable desire for revenge triggered the curse known as the “Great Twilight”: a catastrophic event that it could culminate in the extinction of mankind. Not being able to do anything to rescue the young Schwarzer, who after the outburst was kidnapped by the Chancellor, the members of the unified Class VII escaped certain death by resorting to the powers of the witch Emma Millstein, who without delay has teleported the entire gang to the heart of the dark forest where Eryn’s Village is located, which is the home of the mysterious Hexen Clan to which the girl belongs.
Since that fatal episode two weeks have already passed, during which the components of the original Class VII have closed in their deep pain, while the young students of Rean have remained completely unconscious due to the fatigue and shock suffered. It is precisely the awakening of the exuberant Juna Crawford and her two classmates to shake and awaken the fighting spirit of Laura, Jusis and the other ex-cadets of the Thors Military Academy, encouraging and encouraging the group to do whatever it takes to free the beloved instructor and put a stop to the terrifying plan orchestrated by the evil Osborne. Faced with the most serious threat ever faced, the original and new Class VII are therefore definitively united, in the hope of averting the devastating war that the Chancellor and Crown Prince Cedric Reise Arnor are preparing to provoke.
Taking advantage of the “Great Twilight”, which among other things instills in the Erebonians the desire to take up arms and shed blood, the upper echelons of the Empire have in fact resorted to coercion to enlarge their ranks and prepare to invade the hated Republic of Calvard (the powerful nation we talked about in the preview of the newly announced The Legend of Heroes: Kuro no Kiseki and in which the next chapters of the brand will be set). A chilling eventuality that, as we said, seriously risks causing the total destruction of the continent of Zemuria.
On the narrative level, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV is simply exceptional, since it not only tells a deep and compelling epic, but in it even all the stories set in the countries of Liberl, Crossbell and in Erebonia itself converge. Consequently, the fourth episode of the tetralogy boasts an immense cast, which among playable characters, antagonists and guests from previous mini-sagas, includes several dozen key actors.
If the priceless worldbuilding work that Nihon Falcom has done with The Legend of Heroes franchise unquestionably represents the greatest merit of the Japanese series, at the same time it can be seen as the biggest obstacle for anyone who wants to approach the brand without recovering a dozen different titles. This is because each incarnation of the series takes up the events that occurred in the previous chapters, answering questions deliberately left pending for several years. In The Legend of Heroes, after all, nothing ever happens by chance and from time to time unexpected backstories pop up that push the player to see in a new light even those events that he believed he had already completely gutted.
With good reason, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV it is incomprehensible if taken individually. In fact, in this case in particular, the player is not only required to be familiar with the first three episodes of the tetralogy (in this regard, we remind you that only Trails of Cold Steel III and IV are available on Nintendo Switch), but also with the Trails trilogy in the Sky and the dilogy of Zero / Ao no Kiseki, as their respective protagonists play a fundamental and recurring role in the story. Therefore, if faced in its entirety, the series manages to give a unique, moving and unforgettable experience, vice versa its individual pieces can be confusing and inconclusive.
Immense also in portability
Since last time we have already thoroughly analyzed the tested combat system of The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV and the few innovations introduced by the Nihon Falcom team, to know every single aspect of the playful component we invite you to consult our previous one. product review. Going directly to the graphic plan, it is necessary to immediately specify that the gap in visual terms between the original version for PlayStation 4 and the port for Nintendo Switch it is less pronounced than expected.
Thanks to the backward technical sector that distinguishes Nihon Falcom productions, the title is presented in dazzling form also on the hybrid of the Kyoto House: the colors are less vivid and often antialiasing does not properly perform its duty, returning polygonal models affected by serrated edges, but overall the glance remains quite pleasant, especially if the user feels an unstoppable love for the typical Japanese anime look that distinguishes the franchise.
As expected, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV gives the best of itself when used in portability, where most of the flaws found in the original PlayStation 4 version take on far less weight. Too bad for the loading times, which at this lap take several seconds longer, and for the halved frame rate and locked at 30 fps, which during exploratory sessions in dock mode translates into slightly woody animations and less harmonious than those enjoyed last year on PS4. Compromises, in any case, that we accepted more than willingly, in order to enjoy such a title on the small screen of the hybrid. Finally, always impeccable, the accurate sound accompaniment and the original dubbing in Japanese, which unlike the English-speaking one is characterized by vocal combinations suitable for the age and personality of the various protagonists.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IVNintendo Switch Analyzed VersionThe Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV is a diamond in the rough, no matter what platform it runs on. Net of some annoying smudges, such as careless antialiasing, longer loading times and a halved frame rate, the product has in fact retained its qualities even on Nintendo Switch, which in portability even manages to effectively mask the dated technical sector and the original graphic imperfections. The only real flaw of the title is the inability to fully understand the complex and exciting story told by Nihon Falcom without first completing the previous eight episodes of the saga. A problem that on Nintendo Switch is further aggravated by the non-publication of the indispensable Trails of Cold Steel I and II.