The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel Game Poster Image
Patience and persistence are rewarded with an epic saga.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 13+
Based on 4 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Game's universe is heavily segregated, which is a big focus of the overreaching story. But there's a group that brings both nobles and commoners together. Bonding with classmates shows how much people may have in common, despite differences in upbringing, and how coming together as a team can overcome great obstacles.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Rean is a good-hearted and compassionate character, looking out for others, standing against oppression. Substantial cast of supplemental characters covers spectrum of personality traits, though most Class VII students wind up close and willing to work together toward common goal.

Ease of Play

Turn-based combat system gives players time to think out their moves, but it's still a fairly complex mix of timing, abilities, equipment, etc. There's a lot of preparation involved before ever getting into a battle and a lot of options to navigate in combat. Also a huge amount of reading, menu navigation, strategic thinking involved.


Players battle against human soldiers, fantasy creatures, and robotic foes using a variety of attacks, including swords, guns, magic spells. No real blood or gore: more flash and effects, and defeated foes simply disappear. But game's cutscenes do occasionally show more graphic scenes of violence, with blood and death.


Some occasional lines of suggestive dialogue objectifying females in some way, such as commenting on breast size.


"S--t" and other light profanity occasionally appears in dialogue.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some characters are shown smoking and drinking alcohol, with lines of dialogue referencing either drinking or being drunk.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel is a role-playing game that's available on the PlayStation 4. The game is a remastered version of the original game that was previously available on PlayStation 3, PS Vita, and Windows-based PCs. The plot focuses on the segregation of classes and the breaking down of those walls by working together and finding commonality in others. The gameplay is complex and requires patience to navigate, especially during battles. The violence in combat sequences isn’t particularly graphic, though some cutscenes show more explicit and bloody scenes. Parents should be aware that the game's dialogue features occasional use of profanity and offensive language. There's some sexually suggestive dialogue and objectifying language about female characters, as well as references to drinking alcohol. Some characters are also shown smoking and drinking.

User Reviews

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Teen, 16 years old Written byNeon2002 August 27, 2019

Great game!

Great messages: Be yourself, be loyal, friendships are important, be brave in times of trouble, don't kill the bad guys if you can help it, be appropriate... Continue reading

What's it about?

THE LEGEND OF HEROES: TRAILS OF COLD STEEL revisits the saga of The Legend of Heroes with this fully remastered high-definition PlayStation 4 re-release of the role-playing classic. The game tells the story of Rean Schwarzer, a recent recruit into the experimental "Class VII" at the Thors Military Academy. This special class brings together the usually segregated classes of nobles and commoners in an effort to find common ground and learn to work together in defense of the Erebonian Empire. Over the course of the school year, Rean and his fellow students learn of the conflict that surrounds their land, and they also discover more about each other, forming strong bonds of friendship along the way. Class VII is also tasked with exploring the mystery of the Old Schoolhouse, a strange building that somehow alters its structure and challenges people to a series of grueling trials, all in hopes of proving themselves worthy of the secret that lies within.

Is it any good?

This game is an epic story that spans generations and follows multiple viewpoints of its global conflict while never losing sight of the personal struggles of the characters within. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel is a remastered re-release that serves as a new introduction for a new generation of RPG (role-playing game) fans. Admittedly, the tale of Rean Schwarzer and his Class VII classmates is a bit of a slow burn. There's a lot of plot to follow, with a lot of attention to detail, and lots of reading. Even so, it's an intensely engaging story. Even the side missions have their own fully fleshed-out tales, complete with deep character development that gives even the supplemental characters their fair share of the spotlight. Be forewarned though: The story ends on a cliffhanger, leaving fans with their fingers crossed for a re-release of the rest of the story.

As grand as the story in The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel is, the gameplay does a pretty good job, but things are far from perfect. Combat is a very complex affair. Battles involve a lot of strategic thinking, both before and after the fighting starts. Players need to make sure they have the correct items equipped and particular orb abilities slotted, and that they're loaded up on the right items even before they face off against a foe. Then there's a complex system of strengths and weaknesses that plays out like an overly complicated version of rock-paper-scissors, with specific attack types (slashing, bludgeoning, etc.) affecting certain enemies differently than others. Though the beginning tutorials try to break all of this down for players, it's still a lot to absorb at any given time and can feel particularly overwhelming in the earlier stages of the story. Even so, if you've got the time to invest and you're looking to recapture a true RPG gem, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel is one not to be missed.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the acceptance of others. What are some of the ways in which we may view people as different from ourselves, and how can we find the commonality between us all? What are some of the positive ways in which people from various backgrounds, beliefs, and upbringings can come together?

  • How might various behavior traits, both good and bad, be picked up by younger kids through the shows they watch or the games they play? What are the best ways to combat bad behavior traits and endorse good behavior traits?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy

Themes & Topics

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