First Impressions : Trails of Cold Steel III

After flying through Trails of Cold Steel II, I immediately began Trails of Cold Steel III.

I needed to know what happened to the gang from Class VII. I have less than a 10 hours in the game at present, so I thought it was a great time to share my very first impressions.

 

1. Graphics improvement

 

 

Wow, the graphics have gotten so much better from Trails of Cold Steel I and II. This is no surprise, as it is the first of the series to be made for the PS4 and Nintendo Switch. Yes, that is the same tree copy and pasted all over the screen, but that tree has actual leaves! Plus, the characters’ fingers look less like stick sausages!

 

2. new combat

 

 

I am not the biggest fan of the new combat wheels, which uses the both the D-PAD and the buttons. I don’t think I’ve ever played a game that uses these controls, and I can see why. I think the new Orders functions are a pretty neat feature that fits in well with a military school, and I love the updated menu. I also can’t help but notice that there are two Master Quartz slots, but I haven’t gotten to use the second slot yet.

 

3. rean

 

 

He’s the same old goody two shoes with a heart of gold, except for that sudden growth spurt. How does he think glasses are going to disguise him? I mean, it worked for Clark Kent, but it sure doesn’t work for Rean, as his students figure out his identity as the Ashen Chevalier right away.

 

4. everyone is super mean

 

Ah, original Class VII, how I miss you.

It is hard not to miss the original Class VII when all of Rean’s students, and even the other Instructor’s students, are super mean to him. If they’re not making snarky remarks about his war hero status in Erebonia, they’re commenting on how they aren’t impressed by his sword technique, or that he looks stupid with his glasses. Yikes. And Rean just takes it all in stride without reprimanding them, which seems pretty awful from a teaching, military, and human being perspective.  Though it’s admittedly a little sickening how kind and humble Rean is, he really doesn’t deserve this treatment and it’s hard to watch.

 

5. juna is the absolute worst

 

 

Honestly, she is by far the worst of all the bratty new students, who all seem to have chips on their shoulders the size of the continental United States. I get that she’s from Crossbell, which has been forcibly annexed by the Empire, and that Rean had a very big role in said annexation, but gosh, shouldn’t you know how to respect your superiors when you’re in the military?

Juna seems completely incapable of showing even a modicum of respect for Rean, and has a poor attitude all around. I was absolutely horrified when she even flat out told another Instructor she wished she hadn’t got stuck with Rean as her teacher right in front of Rean. And if that weren’t enough of a slap in the face, she says this right after making the decision to remain in Rean’s class herself, after he very kindly gave her the opportunity to transfer out of his class.

 

6. altina

 

 

Thank god for Altina, she is the only kind student so far, despite being an operative of the intelligence agency and being far more experienced than her older classmates. I am really excited to have her as a main party member, as I always liked her character as the “Black Rabbit” spy. Her relationship with Rean is really precious and interesting. I love that he encourages her to make her own decisions and to be her own person.

 

7. thors branch campus

 

 

How did they build this entire school in less than a year? Altina remarks that it was originally going to be a resort, and was modified into the branch campus, but this makes it even more remarkable. I suspect that there’s more to it than even the principle, who calls the school a trash can for those not good enough for Thors Main Campus, knows.

 

8. azure Siegfried

 

So. Excited.

Um, hello?! Watching the first opening to the game, I cannot help but notice a mysterious Mr. Azure Siegfried, who looks a lot like  View Spoiler ». I cannot wait to encounter this character.

 

9. Ash

 

I am intrigued by the character of Ash. He gives me serious rebel and possible traitor vibes? He appears to harbor monumental resentment for Rean, but I don’t doubt that there is more to his feelings. I wonder where the story will go with him.

 

10. Best Anime Opening Yet

 

Whoopsies, snapped this before Kurt joined in the shot.

I guess I’ve been pretty spoiled with other JRPG’s anime openings, like Tales of the Abyss and Tales of Xillia. Until Trails of Cold Steel III, the series hasn’t even come close to these kinds of epic openings. But luckily, this one hits pretty hard!

11. Pacing

 

 

I really struggle with the pacing of all Trails of Cold Steel games. Like the previous entries in the series, Trails of Cold Steel III starts in the future or perhaps the present, and then takes you back to the past. For instance, Trails of Cold Steel III starts in the thick of a battle with all of Rean’s classmates fighting Duvalie the Swift and the rest of her organization, the Stahlritter. But just after we win this fight, we are taken back three months prior to the quiet, small town, branch campus life to Rean’s first day as a teacher. It’s hard to go from a high action battle to the mundanity of school life. And it was even more annoying that the battle tutorial came after this first fight, by which time I had already figured everything out from the first fight.

 

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So far, Trails of Cold Steel III has made me incredibly thankful to not be a teacher. Even Rean has a newfound appreciation for his own instructor during his time as a student at Thors, Sara Valestein, who was often inebriated during field studies. I really hope the students gain a new appreciation for Rean, who while a bit bland, has the best intentions for literally everyone he meets. I can’t wait to see where Trails of Cold Steel III takes players, and I am very excited to reunite with familiar faces in the future.

 

Have you played the Trails of Cold Steel series? If so, who is your favorite character?

 

 

 

 

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First Impressions : Trails of Cold Steel III

Posted January 15, 2021 in Games

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