Here we are again, another trip in to the long running and frankly underrated Trails Of Cold Steel series. We are on the fourth installment of the franchise. However, does this one live up to the three prior? Yes..Yes It does.
First off, I do however recommend you play the three prior games as they are one massive story. With the character development and it links all events in this one MASSIVE 400 plus hours story. There is a catch up section but it does not do the game justice at all.
It sets the story two weeks after the events of Trails of Cold Steel III. It starts off with Juna, Kurt, and Altina awaken to find out that Rean was captured by his father. This set class VII on a rescue mission while trying to find out what the plans of Ouroboros are, and how to stop them and save the world.
Falcom has crafted an amazing world and story over four titles. The care and attention that Falcom put in to the story is outstanding. Especially with a cast so large, and a story so big. This alone is an amazing achievement in its self. To then add layers to charters and build a rich and deep world is just masterful.
For gameplay it plays the same as Trails of Cold Steel III, with a few tweaks to some systems. Falcom has balanced out some overused systems (yes, I used them too). Staggering enemies is harder, so stun locking is no longer possible. The brave orders have been dialed back some and are not where near over powered. I like it as it adds this an extra lair of tactical thinking.
A game with a cast roster of 20, it adds a few minor issues. Some narrative seemed dragged out, with every character on screen getting at least one line of dialog it was a bit frustrating and I thought this could have been so much sorter if they left ‘this’ out. And having 20 characters to equip and manage can be a daunting task. There is nothing in the game that will make you get too annoyed just the odd sigh here and there.
From what I have read, Trails of Cold Steel III and IV, were meant to have been one game. However, it was too big for Falcom to achieve this, making them having to split them in two. This makes for a slight pacing issue in the first 5 or so hours. Where the game introduces the player to the mechanics of the game. Now playing the previous title back when it was released, it did not seem like a big deal as I had a break from the game. If you come from III to IV right away, you will feel like a salmon trying to swim upriver. Nothing too bad just a slow first few hours.
Overall Trails of Cold Steel IV is again another great and more than likely under appreciated masterful JRPG. That any fan of the genre has to play once they finished the previous 300 hours.