Trails of Cold Steel IV

The Legend of Heroes Trails of Cold series is one of the most popular Japanese role-playing games of all time. And, the latest entry, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV is out now for the Switch, PlayStation 4, and PC.

The Legend of Heroes Trails of Cold Steel IV Details

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PS4, PC and Stadia
Reviewed on: Stadia
Developer(s): Nihon Falcom
Publisher(s): NIS America
Genre: JRPG
Modes: Single player
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

Trails of Cold Steel IV

Narrative-rich experience

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV is a heavy-handed JRPG, even for a role-playing game. It’s the fourth and final entry in the series, and it’s a continuation of the previous title, which was also called Cold Steel III.

The story is heavily influenced by the events of the previous Cold Steel games, so if you’ve not played them, you’ll have some catching up to do. The game’s title screen features a Backstory menu that allows you to watch and read the animated events from the previous titles. It also has a world introduction and character profiles.

With that said, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV does a good job of keeping you in the loop. It also provides enough context for the various recurring characters to allow newcomers to follow along.

The long awaited finale to an epic storyline

The Legend of Heroes Trails of Cold Steel IV is the conclusion to the storyline that started back in December of 2015 on PS3 and PS Vita. Trails of Cold Steel IV takes place a few weeks after the third game with the Erebonian Empire on the brink of an all out war. The heroes of Class VII find themselves against the full force of the Empire in an attempt to stop its path of total domination.

Moreover, the hero of the Erebonian Civil War and Class VII’s instructor, Rean Schwarzer, has gone missing. It’s now up to you, the students of Class VII, to unite with heroes from all over the continent to create the only chance the world has to be spared from total destruction. As with other games in the series, Trails of Cold Steel IV is rich in narrative and back story.

So much in fact that the introduction to the game is roughly 50 minutes long! The game leaves no stone unturned when examining the relationships between its rich and diverse cast of characters. Instead of jumping around from one scene to another, Trails IV does a good job or explaining the relationships between characters. Many parts of the dialogue in the game are voiced but you can still expect to do quite a bit of reading. At times, it can be quite overwhelming if you aren’t familiar with the overall storyline. With all this in mind, Trails of Cold Steel IV’s story is phenomenal. Overall, I believe that the series storyline is one of the best JRPG stories in recent memory.

Trails of Cold Steel IV

Deep, rich, satisfying combat that’s never overwhelming

The turn-based battle system in The Legend of Heroes Trails of Cold Steel IV is incredibly deep and complex. I never felt that it was confusing or overwhelming in any way. Instead, it features a huge variety of strategies and tactics that keeps you engaged throughout the campaign.

There are so many ways to approach a battle. You can take advantage of weaknesses of your opponents, such as elemental weaknesses, physical break attacks, and more. Each move contains a variety of options, making it easier for you to spice up your attacks rather than following a standard attack strategy. Special skills, quick-time follow-ups, and link attacks are also available.

In The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV, new and returning combat systems are introduced to the series. These include the ability to summon massive mechanized creatures to the field, Auto Battle, and the use of Lost Arts. Although it may seem overwhelming, the slow pace of the game allows you to get to know each new mechanic slowly.

The Legend of Heroes Trails of Cold Steel IV is one of my favourite JRPGs in recent memory

The Legend of Heroes Trails of Cold Steel IV is one of my favourite JRPGs in recent memory. The story of this game is epic and its world is immersive, allowing you to explore it for hours. While the game’s slow pace may not be for everyone, if you stick with it and give it a chance, you’ll definitely fall in love with it. 

+ Engaging narrative
+ Deep and rich combat system that never feels confusing or overwhelming
+ Huge cast of characters each with their own personalities
+ Excellent resources for catching up on the story from previous game
+ Lots of content in addition to the main story to keep you entertained

– If you haven’t played previous games the story may seem confusing to some
– Slow pace of the story can be a turn off to some


Gameplay: 4.5/5
Graphics: 4/5
Sound: 4/5
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.5/5

Overall Rating 4.3/5 (86%)

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Jon Scarr
Jon is the Gaming Editor and is based in Toronto. He is a proud Canadian who has a serious passion for gaming. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry with over 20 years experience. You can often find Jon streaming the latest games on his YouTube channel. Jon loves to talk about gaming and tech, come say hi and join the conversation with Jon on Threads @4ScarrsGaming and @4Scarrsgaming on Instagram.