The Switch has been getting a lot of RPG love as of late. From genre classics such as the original Dragon Quest series, the lovely M2/Sega Ages ports of the 8-bit Phantasy Star titles, and the recently released Trials of Mana- players have many options on Nintendo’s console/portable hybrid. NIS America will be bringing us yet another JRPG on June 30 in both physical and digital formats at an MSRP of $59.99.
While that’s a little over two months away, NIS has been kind enough to provide Switch owners with a free playable demo that’s now available on the Eshop.
Originally released in the West in late 2019 for Playstation 4, Trails of Cold Steel III is a direct sequel to Trails of Cold Steel II. For those unfamiliar with the franchise, the chronology (as one might expect with a larger series) is a bit convoluted. The Cold Steel saga is tied into the long-running Legend Of Heroes games, which in turn started as part of the Dragon Slayer series that first made its way onto NEC PC-88 and MSX in the early ’80s. (And I thought the Legend of Zelda had a confusing timeline!)
The game’s plot is set one and a half years after Cold Steel II and centers around Rean Schwartzer, now a full-on military professor, as well as his students and friends. As he trains his pupils, Schwartzer is called upon by the Imperial empire to resolve several conflicts popping up in Erebonia.
Press for the game’s Playstation 4 release was quite positive, garnering an aggregate of 82/100 from press and 8.8/10 from consumers over on Metacritic. Alex Fuller of RPGamer awarded the PS4 version a perfect 5/5 score, concluding that “Trails of Cold Steel III is everything I want from an RPG with a world that fully sucks players in, amazing music and locations in which one can just sit and relax, and a twisting and fascinating story involving incredibly deep characters that are easy to get attached to.” while noting that the pacing and 80+ hour length definitely won’t be for everyone.
While the game can be pre-ordered through traditional retailers such as Gamestop, NIS’s online store is also taking pre-orders for a costly collector’s edition containing tons of goodies. At the time of writing, there’s only 10% of the stock left- so act fast if you’re planning on splurging! There’s even plenty of merchandise available including shirts and snapbacks if you can’t stomach the $99.99 price tag of the Thor’s Academy set.