Final Thoughts : Trails of Cold Steel 3

After well over 100 hours in the game, I have finally beaten Trails of Cold Steel 3. You would think that after having so many hours in the game, that I would have completed everything it has to offer and then some, but I’ve only gotten 54% of the trophies, according to PSN. That goes to show what massive game Trails of Cold Steel 3 isand it is one that is only a small piece of The Legend of Heroes saga, as this game makes abundantly clear. This is the only Trails game that has super long to me, despite the other entries being no small games either.

 

 

As I shared my First Impressions of Trails of Cold Steel 3, I thought it was only fitting that I went back and shared some of my final thoughts on penultimate entry in the Trails of Cold Steel series.

 

Least favorite entry in the series thus far

I know that Trails of Cold Steel 2 is universally considered the weakest entry in the series, but so far, Trails of Cold Steel 3 is my least favorite for many reasons. These reasons include less of a focus on the original Class VII, reliance on knowledge of games from previous entries in the The Legend of Heroes series, the pacing, and just the overall sheer length of the game. I felt that some of the dungeons were just unbearably long (even though I’m more than familiar with dungeons in JRPGS), and that the side quests were super bland for the new Class VII, which was supposed to be a special ops class. Why is a special ops class fishing, collecting truffles, and the like? I wish the side quests had a little more weight to them. That being said, these trivial side quests is something all of the Trails of Cold Steel games share.

 

so much Required Reading

I  found it really frustrating that all these characters, lore, and events from previous The Legend of Heroes games were suddenly imperative to understanding the plot of this game. I’m sure it’s really awesome for gamers who have played the previous The Legend of Heroes games, and I can appreciate the achievement of creating a universe with lore that spans decades, but as someone who hasn’t played these other games, it was really irritating.

 

I constantly felt like I was a reading a book series out of order, which is something I absolutely loathe doing. I had to watch countless YouTube videos on previous entries in The Legend of Heroes series so I could get a basic understanding of all the references in Trails of Cold Steel 3 that were actually crucial to the plot. I would have rather spent that research time actually playing the game, but it was impossible to grasp what was going on otherwise, with villains and protagonists from previous games showing up, and previous cataclysmic events that affect the entire world being referenced. It doesn’t help that the previous Trails series, are not available in English either.

 

Not a fan of double master Quartzes

Though I enjoyed the implementation of the Order system, which I thought was a pretty useful new tactic, I didn’t really care for the use of two master quartzes. I found it inconvenient having to share them among the absolutely ginormous cast of characters I spent way too much time researching the combinations and builds for these Master Quartzes, and found that the game was relatively easy anyways on Normal mode. That is, if one takes advantage of the order system, and sets up characters properly to fill roles such as breaker, evasion tank, magic dps, healer, etc..

 

Grew to Love New and old Characters

As I posted in my First Impressions of Trails of Cold Steel 3, I wasn’t a very big fan of the new Class VII. However, the characters all go through an exponential amount of growth throughout the game, and I truly ended up caring for all of them, even obnoxious Juna. Throughout all of the growth in the game, I consistently loved Altina the most out of Rean’s students. Surprisingly, I also really grew to love Principal Le Guin. From the moment she walked onto the screen and called the Thors Branch Campus a trash can of a school, to when she continually shocked her coworkers with her brazen attitude and strength, and to the end, where she saved a very important member of the Thors Branch Campus, I just found her incredibly entertaining. I also really loved learning more about Sara, Clarie, and Major Lechter’s backgrounds, which finally get more fleshed out in this story.

 

The Pacing is a Drag

I get that this game is, in a way, a student life game, even if the student life has bigger repercussions than a typical high school student’s. So it goes without saying, that the game deals with the monotony of student life, complete with field exercises and tons of tedious side quests. In this game though, it really bothered me. Going into each chapter, I was well aware that I’d have a lot of tedious quests to do leading up to and during the field exercises before anything exciting happened. I was also very aware of the fact that when something bad happened, former members of Class VII would come to bail Rean and his students out, without fail. I had to accept that nothing major in the plot would happen until the end of the field exercise, and that once that was over, it was back to the same monotony all over again, without fail. Sometimes, I didn’t want to pick up the game because I knew I would have to go through all of the boring side quests again before anything remotely interesting happened again. I just wish the game would have added some more variety to the same predictable formula and created more side quests that had an effect on the overall story. Instead, it felt like I was slogging through quests that had no overall impact other than my Teacher rating, some AP, and spare change.

 

The Phantasmal Blaze Plan is Baffling

I really don’t understand the point of ending the world as a master evil plan, though this is something that is done quite often in video games, books, and movies. If the world is over, what power is there left to hold? It also blows my mind that so many previously “good” characters are helping in this plan, to varying degrees. And some of them, like Sharon and Claire, even help Class VII and friends take down the plan, with what seems to be no consequences. I am more curious now than ever about the identity of the Grandmaster of Ouroboros, and how this person inspires so many people to follow them, even at the cost of previous loyalties.  I also didn’t buy that certain characters, like View Spoiler » were a part of the plot all along, as there were really no hints to any sinister motives in Trails 1 and 2.

 

The Ending made me cry

Despite my frustration at not really knowing what was going on in the grand scheme of things in this game, I am so glad I stuck out playing Trails of Cold Steel 3 because of the gut-wrenching ending! The ending to Trails of Cold Steel 3 completely took me by surprise. I actually cried at the events.  View Spoiler »

 

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I can’t wait to start Trails of Cold Steel 4, after taking a break from the series in order to play Persona 5 Strikers. I am really hoping that the game will pick up where it left off and answer many of the questions I have surrounding the Phantasmal Blaze plan, the Grandmaster of Ouroboros, and I am also curious to see how it sets up the story for the next subseries in The Legend of Heroes, Kuro no Kiseki, or Trails of Black. 

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Final Thoughts : Trails of Cold Steel 3

Posted March 12, 2021 in Games

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