The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV Game Poster Image
The Class VII saga comes to a satisfying end.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The game continues the previous games' strong themes of friendship, teamwork, and standing up for those who might not be able to stand up for themselves. 

Positive Role Models

The game revisits characters from previous chapters while continuing the development of the characters in Class VII. The students have grown into positive characters, working together despite their differences and building strong bonds as a team. Other characters are shown to be loyal and caring, and willing to sacrifice for what (and who) they believe in.

Ease of Play

Controls and gameplay have been overhauled for this final chapter, with a lot of new quirks that fans of the series will have to learn. Also, after streamlining the controls and abilities for a smoother experience in the last game, some have been added back in with significant changes, turning this into a much more complex, complicated experience.


Players regularly fight in battles against human soldiers, fantasy creatures, and mechanized vehicles using medieval weapons, firearms, and magical abilities. These combat sequences show damage with flashy effects, with enemies disappearing when defeated. One character has a special attack that features a substantial blood splatter effect.


There's some suggestive dialogue between characters, as well as a scene in which one character gropes another character's chest.


Some profanity such as "s--t" and "a--hole" occasionally appears in the characters' dialogue.


This is latest entry in the Legend of Heroes RPG (role-playing game) franchise, and the final chapter in the "Trails of Cold Steel" saga. The game picks up immediately after events of the previous release while also tying up loose ends from all three prior games. Players unfamiliar with the story to this point will be missing out on substantial chunks of the overall story and may be confused without playing the previous games.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some scenes show characters smoking cigars and drinking alcohol. There's even a part of the game that involves characters taking part in a drinking contest.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV is a fantasy role-playing game available on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. The game is the final entry in the Trails of Cold Steel saga, bringing the overall story to its conclusion while wrapping up plot threads from the three prior games. Due to the amount of reference to previous events, players new to the series may get lost in some of the details. Gameplay has also changed somewhat, adding new features while also re-incorporating some past mechanics, making for a more complex tale. Violence is constant, though little blood is shown onscreen. The game's dialogue does include some profanity and sexual comments, and characters are also occasionally shown to be smoking cigars and drinking alcohol.

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What's it about?

THE LEGEND OF HEROES: TRAILS OF COLD STEEL IV is the grand finale of the epic Trails of Cold Steel odyssey, bringing to a close the story of Rean Schwarzer, the students of the infamous Class VII, and the return of the legendary Divine Knights of old. Picking up two weeks after the events of the previous game, Juna, Kurt, and Altina wake from a coma, having barely escaped the Great Twilight unintentionally started by Rean and his rampaging Valimar. Discovering that Rean has since been separated from Valimar, corrupted by his curse, and captured by his father, Gilath Osborne. Now it falls to Juna to gather the members of Class VII, both past and present, and convince them to rescue their fallen friend. With the largest cast of any game in the series and multiple plot threads to tie down, it all comes down to this final chapter. Will Rean and Valimar be the key to Erebonia's salvation? Or will he bring about its ultimate downfall?

Is it any good?

This complex story, which has developed over multiple game entries, has done an impressive job in tying up loose threads and creating a cinematic finale. Luckily for fans of The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV, outside of a couple of minor stumbling blocks, it succeeds. There are moments when the plot seems a bit rushed or convenient in addressing past events. There's also the issue of the game's two endings. After initially beating the game and seeing a relatively downer of an ending, players are told they haven't seen the "true ending." There's no way to avoid this, though thankfully players won't have to replay the entire game or search for some tiny, easily missed task for the "true" ending. But this doesn't make much sense in terms of game design. Instead, it feels like the developers forgot to include a quest at the end and used this as an excuse to patch it in.

As much as Trails of Cold Steel IV relies on its story, the fact remains it's still a game too. And it's here that it seems to stumble a bit more. The series' gameplay has never been all that consistent to begin with. That's not to say it's bad, but each game has felt significantly different that the ones before. After making an effort to streamline a lot of the commands and options in the last game, for some reason the developers decided to not only add more new complexities and techniques, but also reintroduce mechanics from previous titles, such as the Lost Arts from Trails of Cold Steel II. Though fans might enjoy seeing some of these options reappear, it also feels like a step backwards. These additions don't break the game, but it makes for a much steeper learning curve, especially after getting used to the smoother mechanics of Trails of Cold Steel III. Finally, this isn't meant as a starting point for newcomers. Between all the references to past events and characters, and the patchwork gameplay from prior games, this is solely for fans that have followed the saga from its start.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about finding inspiration in role models. Who are some of the people that kids look up to and inspire them on a regular basis? What can kids learn from fictional characters, and who would be some positive non-fiction people to be inspired by?

  • How can larger story arcs help to keep fans interest over multiple entries? What are some of the potential pitfalls of telling a story over numerous chapters?

Game details

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