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The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel

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Original Thread: The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel - Class Warfare



Among the nations on the Zemurian continent, the mighty Erebonian Empire has been quick to outwardly stake its claim militarily; yet politically, ugly bouts of internal conflict between the upper class and commoners attempting to rise to power have been steadily intensifying day by day. The Noble and Reformist Factions have been none too kind to one another over the years, and tensions between the two only stand to worsen if compromises aren’t made in the very near future.

Rean Schwarzer, like any other citizen of the Imperial Nation, is no stranger to these rising conflicts: the class system has been deeply embedded into the hearts of every Erebonian since the days of old. As a seventeen-year-old student preparing for his new life at Thors Military Academy, however, he notices that his crimson uniform differs from the standard ones issued to his peers—typically green for commoners, and white for nobles.

Enter, Class VII of Thors Military Academy. For the first time in the prestigious academy’s history, rank means nothing and skill means everything. With nine hand-picked students of various backgrounds and abilities, Rean included, Class VII readies itself to dive deep into the political quagmire that threatens not only them, but the Empire as a whole.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel (Sen no Kiseki in Japan) is the first game of the latest quadrilogy of The Legend of Heroes, a long-running JRPG behemoth by Nihon Falcom, which is itself a spinoff of the even longer-running Dragon Slayer series. TLoH finally struck gold with 2004's excellent Trails in the Sky and has been steadily gathering momentum in the west over the last few years with a number of excellent PC releases, with the Cold Steel ports headed by Peter Thoman (well-known PC modder Durante) and his development company PH3.

The Trails games to date consist of three separate but interconnected storylines, each primarily taking place in a different country located on the same continent:
Each arc stands alone fairly well, but as it is an ongoing story, a number of major events from Sky and Crossbell are referenced in Cold Steel, so if you're especially wary of spoilers it may be best to check those out first. If you'd prefer reading RPGs to playing them, you can find complete screenshot LPs of the Sky trilogy (FC, SC, 3rd) on the LP Archive. There's also an ongoing exploration of Zero here.

The main draw of the series, especially the Trails incarnations, is a strong attention to detail in worldbuilding and narrative development that most RPGs don't even try to match. Most NPCs are named and have their own small stories and interactions with one another, constantly offering new dialogue as the game progresses (which has the knock-on effect of making localization extremely long and arduous). The larger beats of grand conspiracies and nations clashing with one another are still there, but presented in an unhurried manner that allows tensions to build over time without also feeling like you're just spinning in place the whole time. Throw in a charming cast of characters and occasional weird anime shenanigans and you have something pretty damn compelling.

For the LP, I'll be playing the PC version blind with a co-commentator, Fletcher (END ME SCOOB). He hasn't played any of these games, and I'm still chipping my way through I played and finished the Sky trilogy through the early parts of this LP, so the experience is still pretty fresh for both of us. Videos started around 40-60 minutes each and have slowly drifted longer as the game goes on. It's a very long game, so please lean back and relax as we take you through this anime school year.

Full Playlist

01. Extracurricular Activity
02. The Rise and Fall of Class VII
03. Arts & Crafts 101
04. Combat Links Are a Boy's Best Friends

05. This Ain't Persona T for Teen
06. Welcome to Sidequest Club
07. I Don't Understand How Pockets Work
08. Links, Awakening
- F1. Ch.1 Bonding Event Wrap-Up
09. Summer Reading List
10. The Get Along Gang
11. Milling Around Celdic
12. Not Actually Very Scary Dinosaur
13. Blade Lock
14. Turnabout Grand Market
15. Mushroom Kingdom
16. Ape Escape

17. Feels Like Just Yesterday
18. Brain Sage
19. Booked Solid
20. Prank'd
- F2. Ch.2 Bonding Event Wrap-Up
21. Immovable, Pissy Objects
22. Ignobility
23. Beauty Test
24. A Link Between Churls
25. Tanks for Visiting
26. Begrudging De-grudging
27. Farewell, My Youth
28. Ladder Safety
29. Big Trrrouble

30. Cram Session
31. Maid of Cold Steel
32. Exactly Like Riding a Horse
33. Wind Beneath My Wind
34. Sticker Star
- F3. Ch.3 Bonding Event Wrap-Up
35. Dignity & Refinement
36. The Departing Storm
37. Everybody Loves Gaius
38. Horseland
39. Herd Impunity
40. Wake Up Sheeple
41. But It Can't Be...
42. Soldiers' Life of Despair
43. She's On the Border Now
44. Spy 'Children'

45. Legally Mandated Swimsuit Episode
46. The Boys of Summer
47. The Manway Methods
48. Speed Limit
- F4. Ch.4 Bonding Event Wrap-Up
49. Revelry in the Dark
50. Hibelle's Probably Not Dead
51. Five District Fiesta
52. A Link Between Girls
53. The Jaeger Princess
54. The Unfathomable Mr. Tiddles
55. Reminiscence and Chips
56. Our Dinner with Alfin
57. Another Brief Case
58. A Barebones Kidnapping

59. Sleeper & Agent
60. Ferris Florald's Face Off
61. Scary Stories to Tell After Class
62. Cold Front
63. The Mist in Trista
64. Whatever.
- F5. Ch.5 Bonding Event Wrap-Up
65. Laura's Happy Adventures
66. There Are Fourteen Lights
67. Extravagantly-Dressed Mystery
68. Emma Millstein's Mystery Magical Tour
69. Wrath of the an Immortal King
70. Seeing Red
71. Embodiment of Scarlet Devil

72. Laaaaaame.
73. The Ghost Next to Me
74. Nothing Happened Today
75. Butlerly Love
- F6. Ch. 6 Bonding Event Wrap-Up
76. Check Out My Cool Airship
77. Signal Decay
78. Talk to the Hand
79. Rendezveldt
80. Fowl Deeds
81. This Is Awful!
82. Sweet Dreams, Pussycats

83. The Beast Within
84. Thors Never Changes
85. Panic! at the Gymnasium
- F7-1. Ch.7 Errand Wrap-Up
86. Balloon Plight
87. I'm using a Bolt.
- F7-2. Ch.7 Minigame Wrap-Up
88. The Time Has Come
89. A Clockwork Orbal
- F7-3. Ch.7 Garten Wrap-Up
90. Dragon Slayers
- F7-4. Ch.7 Teahouse Wrap-Up
91. The Final Trial
92. The Show Must Go On
93. As the Crow Flies (CS1 End)
- T7. Ch.7 NPC Dialogue Wrap-Up
- F7-5. Ch.7 Bonfire Wrap-Up (LP End)
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