It is rare to see two role playing games within the same series to receive an English translation within the same year, but that is exactly what has happened with the Trails of Cold Steel series, which is a spin off from The Legend of Heroes franchise which began over a quarter of a century ago. The first game, which we reviewed back in January set the pieces in place for a larger story, and now it is the turn of Trails of Cold Steel II to continue its legacy.
After the events of the previous game, the Erebonian Empire has fallen into civil war. We are once again invited to join the original game’s protagonist Rean Schwarzer, who has been separated from his classmates that he formed a bond with at Thors Miiltary Academy. Knowing that the kingdom could fall to ruin because of the conflict, he sets out to bring back together his allies from Class VII, as well as bring an end to the struggles between the various factions which aim to seek control of Erebonia. Alongside this, the characters which we have grown to know in the first instalment are facing new challenges, but thankfully for any fans, they do not stray too far from what made them unique in the first place, such as the eternal rival like conflict between Machias and Jusis. The storyline takes a very different tone from the school life focus of the previous instalment, and offers a refreshing take on finding a place in the world that exists beyond education, and the consequences of internal conflict within a military focused country.
As you might expect, the amount of time you spend at Thors Military Academy is dramatically reduced this time around. Instead of visiting set areas outside of the academy during field trips and side missions, the various regions of Erebonia are now the main over world of the game. From the rustic forest like settings of the Nord Highlands to the picturesque lakeside known as Legram, there is a vast variety of locations to visit, each with their own unique monsters, hidden dungeons and side quests to be solved. One of the best locations to visit is the Lunaria Nature Park, which provides you with some of the rarer monsters to encounter, and results in obtaining some valuable Sepith crystals which can be used to power up your characters.