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The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III Game Poster Image
Streamlined tale successfully concludes vast trilogy.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The world has been rebuilding after a brutal civil war, and society is adjusting to a new way of life. The academy now opens its doors to nobles, commoners, and foreigners alike, encouraging people from all walks of life to work together. Players also build onto past relationships and create new bonds of friendship while working to keep the newfound peace.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Rean has grown and evolved from an abandoned child to an exceptional student and now holds a position as an instructor, teaching a new generation of students and inspiring them to reach their own potential. Rean is compassionate and caring, helping those in need and standing up against oppression.

Ease of Play

The gameplay has been improved and streamlined a bit over the previous games, reducing the constant need to navigate numerous menus in combat. Some other elements alter how the game's played as well, including new location-based battles, which may require players to reposition their party to take advantage of the environment.

Violence

Players regularly fight in battles against human soldiers, fantasy creatures, and mechanized vehicles using all manner of medieval weapons, firearms, and magical abilities. These combat sequences show damage with flashy effects, with enemies disappearing when defeated. Some cutscenes do show wounded characters and blood splatter, but no graphic scenes of gore.

Sex

There are occasional sexual comments made in the dialogue between characters, and there's a scene of one character groping a female's breasts under her armor.

Language

Some profanity, such as "s--t," is occasionally used in the dialogue.

Consumerism

This is the latest entry in the long running Legend of Heroes RPG franchise, and the latest chapter in the "Trails of Cold Steel" saga. Players don't have to be familiar with the previous games to play this, but will miss out on various references throughout the game.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some cutscenes show characters drinking alcohol and one character's shown smoking a cigarette.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III is a role-playing game (RPG) available exclusively on the PlayStation 4. It's part of the Legend of Heroes RPG series and the latest chapter of the Trails of Cold Steel trilogy. Players team up with other characters and go into battle against a variety of enemies in fantasy combat with medieval weapons, firearms, and magic abilities. There's very little blood in combat, though some cutscenes do show more in the way of blood. There's some profanity and sexual innuendo in the dialogue, and some scenes show characters drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes.

User Reviews

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What's it about?

THE LEGEND OF HEROES: TRAILS OF COLD STEEL III picks up a year and a half after the events of the previous game. The long civil war has finally ended and the people are trying to rebuild and maintain a tenuous peace. Rean Schwarzer has stepped away from the battlefield to take on the role of an instructor at Thors Military Academy, determined to teach a new generation to look beyond their differences, learn from one another, and become a better group of people as a result. But just because the war is over, it doesn't mean the threat to peace is gone. The secret organization Ouroboros has decided to step out from the shadows and aggressively pursue its ultimate goal, to reclaim what it lost at the end of the civil war and set into motion the endgame of a plan first started centuries before. Can Rean and his Valimar mecha, together with his friends both old a new, find a way to stop Ouroboros' machinations? And how could it all tie into Rean's mysterious past?

Is it any good?

Remastered re-releases on the PlayStation 4 introduced a whole new audience to the Trails of Cold Steel saga from the Legend of Heroes franchise. Now, fans both old and new finally get the next chapter of Rean Schwarzer and the rest of the alumni from the Thors Military Academy in The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III. Newly designed from the ground up for the PS4, the game gives the series a much-needed overhaul, streamlining its complex combat system in a way that still feels familiar, but makes things a whole lot more fluid. The game also drops players right into combat encounters, making use of the player's location and the surrounding environment is a much more engaging way. Players can take advantage of things like gaining the high ground or funneling foes into tight corridors, making an extra strategic element to consider in combat. It all comes together to make the combat more exciting and more accessible than before.

Another way Trails of Cold Steel III benefits from not being a remaster of a previous game is its presentation. While the prior games looked fine, a lot of effort had to go into adapting the original material and staying faithful enough to be familiar to fans. Here, more attention has been paid to detail and to making the most out of the PS4 hardware. Things flow smoothly from one thing to another, and transitions between actions feel more natural. The story's still a complex mix of various plot threads colliding, a situation that's all the more confusing when it also involves dangling threads from the previous games. The game includes a primer to catch newcomers up to speed, but it's still easy to get lost when trying to follow everything. And once again, the game tees up a sequel that will leave some questions unanswered, but by and large, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III manages to be a fulfilling adventure that still leaves players eager for more.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the importance of diversity and acceptance. What are some of the ways we can learn from those with different backgrounds, histories, and beliefs from our own? What are some good ways to bring people of different backgrounds together?

  • Who are some of the people that inspire you in life? How can fictional characters inspire people to be better? What are some non-fictional people (teachers, entertainers, etc.) that kids can look up to?

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