Gameplay – 9/10
+ Brave Order system was really fun, albeit probably a little broken. Gave more usage to the BP the first two Cold Steel games introduced though, so you had to meter manage a little more instead of just mashing burst/rush.
+ Break system was neat, although using burst to rush break was a little broken. Still, it wouldn’t be Trails without seeing how broken you can make your party! Bosses should have recovered a lot faster, but other than that, the battle system felt really great compared to previous Cold Steel entries.
= Some of the monster fights felt like they dragged on due to high HP bars that you couldn’t get through without breaking them, and as a result I stopped doing every monster encounter.
Visuals – 8.5/10
+ Animation quality went up a huge amount since CS1 and 2, I’m proud to see Falcom working hard on touching stuff up.
+ The environments were pretty nice, honestly I loved a lot of it, but they could do a little more with their fields.
+ Some S-Crafts were really nice to watch–like Gaius’ Howling Heavens.
Story – 10/10
+ This game was fucking insane lmao. The amount of setup it had was pretty ridiculous, and the buildup from CS2 finally paid off considering how much filler it felt like CS2 had.
+ All the new characters they added were really lovely and the returning characters from the past series were treated quite well.
+ Seeing Rean as an instructor and seeing him not struggle in fights was such a good feeling after the first two games, he’s really grown up.
+ The way they finally tie all the arcs together is some huge fanservice, but all the characters feel like they’re there for a purpose.
Content – 10/10
+ This game had so much in it actually, from the main story to sidequests to just collection stuff. I also found that the content in the game didn’t drag on at all like how I feel sometimes with longer games, and that most of the content added to the game universe in some way.
Music – 9.5/10
+ Falcom JDK does it again, although I don’t think this is their strongest OST, it’s still a Falcom OST.
+ Singa is definitely not up to par with the other two composers, but I’m not that nitpicky. His work on Beyond the Journey, Step Ahead, Cheap Trap, Brilliant Escape.
+ Sonoda seemed to do a lot of field themes, personal favorites are Briefing Time, Power or Technique, Hamel -Remains-, The Caged Crossbell, Raquel, the Amusement Town.
+ Unisuga’s a god. Anything this guy makes is literally amazing. Favorites include Einhel Keep, Brave Steel, Start Line, Endless Possibilities, Saint-Arkh, the Old Capital, Lift-off!, Erosion of Madness, Ordis, the Azure Port Town, Spiral of Erebos.
+ Brave Steel might be my favorite regular battle theme in the series. It’s definitely up there with Determination of Fight.
+ I usually don’t stay on title screens very long anymore, but Start Line was so good it kept me there.
+ Every time Power or Technique came on I’d get pretty hyped ngl. I’m happy they got a chance to work with saxophones on stuff like the Raquel theme as well.
+ The chase scenes with Brilliant Escape were so funny, but also fun to watch.
= Quartz usage was minimal, I didn’t have to craft a single quartz the entire game. I guess it’s for people who don’t do sidequests or don’t hunt all the treasure like me though.
+ The game was quite optimized, it was really nice to enter an encounter and have it instantly swap to a battle screen.
– Having Machias, Juna, and Sara in the same party was hilarious for accel chains. Sara’s Brave Order wasn’t balanced for sure.
– It’s crazy how important the Hundred Days War and the Hamel incident still are even this late into the series, it really makes me wonder how they had all of this setup since the start. Also it’s a huge treat to us Sky fans.
– I had a huuuuuuge smile on my face when Blue Destination started playing.
– Randy’s a bro.
– Visiting Hamel was a crazy throwback with the Hamel theme playing.. I tripped out crazy hard having Agate in the party too.
– The cuts to black fucking ended me, so I can’t believe they did it to me twice.. Kondo pls.
– I ended up liking the new Class VII more than I thought. I thought going in that I’d like Kurt, Musse, and Altina the most, but Juna and Ash grew on me so much. I hope Kurt gets to punch Cedric in the face though.
– Voice work on this game was splendid.
– The fade to black with shudder sound during CH4 gave me a heart attack honestly, it was so well done.