The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV

released on Sep 27, 2018

The long awaited finale to the epic engulfing a continent comes to a head in the final chapter of the Trails of Cold Steel saga!

IT'S WAR! The continent of Zemuria is dragged into conflict as the Erebonian Empire mobilizes the full force of its military. The heroes of Class VII old and new must unite to end the conflict before it consumes the continent.

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Cold Steel 4 seems to be a polarizing title amongst Trails fans, and here's what I have to say:
I enjoyed it. I've never backed this franchise because it was necessarily the best written, nor had the best engine, etc, but as far as the gameplay, I get into such an easy rhythm of the day to day and the exploration, that I just kind of feel at home with all of the systems this franchise has. Cold Steel 4 was more of the same gameplay that I've been satisfied with from the previous 3 games. While I can argue that CS2 was the best experience because it had the tightest narrative, after about 300 hours into the franchise, I was happy with the payoffs of CS4, even ithe dialogue was cheesier than a damn four layer lasagna.
I do see validity in the lower scores this game has received, but as far as my experience, the CS has been a franchise that I can just ease into, and with knowing exactly what to expect, I've really enjoyed this series.
Can't believe I'm finally finished. I know there's still a bit more to experience with Azure, Zero, and Reverie on the horizon for me to play, but it's safe for me to say that I've really enjoyed the ride with trails of Cold Steel! I do love this franchise.

El final perfecto para una tetralogía inolvidable

nooooo little erebonian boy don't drink the juice that makes you imperialist

Trails fans are affected by the Erebonian Curse

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III - A Shattered Legacy
In the wake of the Erebonian Civil War, Rean Schwarzer succumbed to the darkness within him, embracing his cold and militaristic side after the loss of Crow Armbrust. Drawn by Chancellor Osborne's vision, Rean became a formidable figure in Erebonian politics, leading his own agency that operated in the shadows.
The old Class VII of Thors fractured, torn apart by ideological differences. Half of the class, under the leadership of Olivier Lenheim, formed a faction against Osborne, determined to resist his authoritarian rule. The other half, influenced by Rean's charisma and power, became staunch supporters of the chancellor's vision for Erebonia.
Surprisingly, Laura S. Arseid chose to stand by Rean's side, abandoning her former ideals of justice. The death of her father, Victor Arseid, had left an indelible mark on her, turning her into a merciless noble who wielded the Arseid school's techniques with ruthless precision. This transformation strained her relationship with Fie, once close friends but now distanced by the stark differences in their paths.
Crow Armbrust, thought to be lost forever, returned to the living, but at a grave cost. He suffered from an identity crisis, struggling to reconcile the person he once was with the reality of his return. Recognizing the need for redemption, Crow became an unexpected protagonist, leading the resistance against Osborne's oppressive regime alongside Olivier Lenheim.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV - Shadows of Reckoning
As the Great Twilight loomed over Erebonia, Cedric, the crown prince, took on a pivotal role in the ongoing power struggle. Years after the Thors incident, Cedric led a new Class VII at the academy, featuring Ash Carbide and Kurt Vander, who harbored a rivalry against the remnants of the old Class VII. Their loyalties lay with Olivier Lenheim's faction, which sought to oppose Osborne's regime.
Crow, grappling with his past and striving for redemption, led the charge against Rean and his agency. The narrative shifted between the perspectives of Crow and Cedric, revealing the complex interplay of power, loyalty, and the consequences of one's actions.
In a climactic confrontation, the old and new Class VII faced each other, mirroring the conflicts of the past. Crow's journey of redemption collided with Rean's descent into darkness, and the fate of Erebonia hung in the balance. The echoes of the Thors incident reverberated through the academy, as the students faced the consequences of their choices and the enduring struggle for the nation's soul.
Trails of Cold Steel III and IV presented players with a morally complex narrative, where the legacy of Class VII became a battleground for the future of Erebonia. The rivalry between Crow and Rean, the strained friendships, and the overarching themes of power and redemption wove together a compelling tale that challenged players to navigate the murky waters of loyalty and consequence.
The narrative unfolded through the eyes of Crow, Olivier, and Cedric, exploring the complexities of loyalty, redemption, and the enduring consequences of choices. The fractured bonds of Class VII became the focal point of the conflict, with Fie and Laura's strained relationship mirroring the broader discord.
In a climactic confrontation, Crow and Rean faced off, the echoes of their past deeds reverberating through the present. Cedric's class, torn between allegiance to the crown and the pursuit of justice, became instrumental in shaping the fate of Erebonia.
Crow sacrificed himself in a fierce battle to ensure Rean's safety, leading Rean to recognize that his ultimate goals could only be accomplished by defeating Osborne, thus safeguarding both Erebonia and his comrades. Stepping into the fray, Rean becomes a pivotal figure in the clash between Olivier's Testa-Rossa and Osborne's Ishmelga. The confrontation concludes with Olivier's demise within Testa-Rossa, while Rean's Valimar deals the finishing blow to Osborne's Ishmelga.
This sets the stage for the ultimate showdown between father and son, where the clash of their ideologies becomes the concluding battle in the Cold Steel saga. Although Rean emerges victorious, the high cost of achieving his triumph is the death of his own father. In that solemn moment, Rean's heart is extinguished. As a result, none of the three principal figures involved in this grand struggle manage to survive the tumultuous events that unfolded.
Trails of Cold Steel III and IV delved into a narrative of political intrigue, moral ambiguity, and the enduring power of redemption. The legend of Class VII continued, exploring the price of power, the sacrifices made for one's ideals, and the possibility of healing fractured bonds in a nation on the brink of war.
Second hypothetical ending for the hypothetical story
In this alternate ending, Chancellor Osborne's and Rean Schwarzer's grand design for a world-engulfing war comes to fruition. The combined forces of the old and new Class VII, once beacons of hope, face overwhelming defeat against Erebonia's might. However, a beacon of resistance emerges from Calvard.
Osborne's and Rean's orchestrated machinations plunge the world into chaos as war erupts across Zemuria. Erebonia's overwhelming military might, combined with the tactical brilliance of their leaders, forces nations into submission. The old and new Class VII, once defenders of justice, find themselves crushed under the relentless advance of Osborne's forces.
Amidst the ruins of nations, the President of Calvard, aware of the impending threat, rallies the full might of the Calvardian military. Determined to resist the encroaching darkness, Calvard becomes the last bastion of hope. The president, a strategic genius, leads a formidable resistance, countering Erebonia's advances with tactical brilliance.
The remnants of Class VII, battered and broken, make a final stand against the oppressive forces of Osborne and Rean. However, the odds are insurmountable, and the once-united Class VII faces inevitable defeat. Their ideals and hopes are eclipsed by the shadows of war.
As the resistance in Calvard gains momentum, the President unveils a secret weapon that turns the tide of battle. Calvard's technological prowess and military might prove to be a formidable match against Erebonia's seemingly unstoppable forces. The world watches as two giants clash, each vying for dominance and control over Zemuria.
In a climactic confrontation between the President of Calvard and Rean Schwarzer, the balance of power teeters on the brink. The clash between ideologies, however, ends in a bittersweet resolution. Calvard manages to halt Erebonia's aggressive expansion, but the cost is immense. The world is left scarred and fractured, and the dreams of Class VII remain unfulfilled.
This ending explores a world where the ambitions of Osborne and Rean come to pass, but the resilience of Calvard becomes the last line of defense against the encroaching darkness. The narrative delves into themes of resistance, sacrifice, and the consequences of a world thrust into the symphony of war.

This review contains spoilers

Honestly a slog to get through for most of it. The series can be pretty formulaic at its worst but this game felt like it was the worst of it. Also the ending was absurdly funny to me- a very fast resolution, one of the biggest built up villains in the game was concluded in what felt like literally three sentences.
A game that felt like it had zero stakes and zero consequences. It somehow stripped already empty characters into even emptier shells- in a game where I'm supposed to care about characters, I cared about less than half of the playable cast. When I care more about ANTON, an NPC of all things, more than half of the playable cast, that's a problem to me. I'm also not a fan of the harem kind of style of gameplay- it really just makes Rean feel like a puppet and no other girl is allowed to have a connection with anyone.
Still love the series but dang, this game made me think for the first time- 'what else can I be playing with my time?'. The way I feel about this game, I wish I could give it a one but I at least finished it and enjoyed some aspects of it. Here's hoping what comes after is not a huge disappointment.