Our Rating: 7/10
The Trails of Cold Steel IV has arrived on PC! The PC system requirements are nearly similar to the III’s, which isn’t unexpected given that the two titles are basically a set. If you’ve enjoyed Cold Steel III on PC, you will indeed know what to expect from your system in aspects of efficiency. But we’ll get to that in a bit. Let’s start off with what the game is all about.
After the heartwrenching incidents of Part Three, Trails of Cold Steel IV picks up directly. Rean Schwarzer loses hold of his inner strength as a result of his despair, declaring “Great Twilight,”. That’s precisely what Chancellor George Osborne predicted.
The Great Twilight comes in handy now that Erebonia has waged war on the neighboring Calvard Republic. This factor has the effect of turning dark thinking about impending war into positive ones. Many Erebians are now willing to defend their homeland.
The real battle for Class VII is now underway. The first step is to figure out where Rean is being held, hostage. Then they’ll each play their part in the war together. Your adventure takes you to various towns and cities in a linear plot, where the new normal hits you hard.
Enlistment is now mandatory, and a large number of people are sent to the battlefield. You’ll have the appropriate discussions with the locals, as befitting a role-playing game. You’ll read a lot because the majority of them are text-only.
Even though the fights in this series are turn-based and fairly fixed, the devs manage to establish a very intriguing scheme. Each character has their weapon, which can be used for both regular attacks and extra ‘Craft’ attacks.
All characters can use ‘Arts,’ which are magical attacks. Your squad can have a total of 4 members, with two characters being able to bond with one another.
You can “throw off” the enemies with regular or Craft attacks, allowing you to launch a counterattack. You’ll get a ‘Brave Point’ as a result of this. These points can be used to perform Rush and Burst assaults, in which the duo or the entire squad attacks at once.
Battles and Enemies
Enemies can be found on the roads between towns and cities. You’ll also run into Chancellor Osborne’s troops regularly. Luckily, Class VII is aided by several heroes. Crossbell’s Special Support Section and Liberl’s Bracers will occasionally lend a hand, ensuring the most diverse cast of characters possible.
Divine Knights and Panzer Soldats
Rean and a few other Class VII members will occasionally interact with the Divine Knight and Panzer Soldats. In Erebonia’s violent past, these massive humanoid robots play a crucial part.
Panzer Soldats are mildly smaller and inferior Panzers that were created during Trails of Cold Steel II’s civil war. Battling with these robots is a little different, and it revolves around the rock-paper-scissors strategy. The opponents adopt a specific stance, after which you must choose one of three sections.
The major weakness is one of them, and once you strike it, you initiate a follow-up attack. These battles are usually a little easier. You have to figure out which body part is appropriate for each position before you can go insane with the enemies.
There are a few optional activities to do in respectively. You have the option of cooking, fishing, or playing the Vantage Masters card game. There are also books available that go into great detail about the “tradition” of the Roads franchise. There are plenty of other things to do if you want to relax.
PC Configuration and Performance
Cold Steel IV should run smoothly on a low-spec PC. Even a high-end computer, however, may face challenges with some of the port’s improved setup. As mentioned, the configuration is nearly comparable to Cold Steel III, and it should ring a bell to anyone who has played other PH3 ports. This menu design is particularly appealing because it provides quick descriptions and even visual recaps of each feature you can configure, as well as their relative demands in order of your system’s layout.
The most taxing elements of the config are the PCSS shadow filtering options and high MSAA anti-aliasing. For a setup with:
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080Ti
- Intel Core i7-7700k CPU
Configurations (except MSAA) set to their best, you’ll get a 4K resolution and more than 60 fps in most aspects of the game. In open zones with a great deal to render, switching to MSAAx8 at 4K resolution can drastically lower efficiency. Given the game’s simple geometry, greater resolutions with limited anti-aliasing selections still look good if you need to reduce a setting or two.
The Good, the Bad, and Overall Experience
The Trails of Cold Steel IV series has a story at its core. The universe is on the verge of war at the start of the fourth game, and all of the protagonists are still haunted by the events of Trails of Cold Steel 3. Unfortunately, as a new player, it’s nearly impossible to grasp what’s going on without first reviewing previous games.
The game has a ‘Summary’ option on the menu, but due to the series’ extensive lore, it’s quite stressful to use. Also, the overview is written in a very dull manner, with little of the empathic intensity that makes the series so good. It’s a pity because the show’s characters and world-building deserve all of the praise. While the series’ fans are recognized and honored for their devotion.
CPU Usage + Turbo Mode
The game has already received an initial patch that reduces CPU consumption in certain aspects. This also resolves some command and loading concerns. Durante also pointed out a GPU quirk in which emptying the shader cache can help with efficiency. Other features from prior PC ports, such as Turbo Mode, the possibility to load immediately into your most recent save file, and the ability to modifier keys or keyboard input, are still available.
Particularly, instead of needing you to hold down the button for maximum effect, the Turbo mode feature now has an on/off option. It’s assumed that this was done to render it simpler to set the toggle to the L3/R3 buttons, but you can rebind the controls anyway you want, and it’s just a minor point to note.
The graphics in this game aren’t particularly impressive. The landscapes and characters appear to be a little better than in the previous installment, but it’s still not much of an improvement.
Dungeons are a series of blocks made up of assets taken from previous Trails games. It’s not an overstatement to say that you occasionally believe you’re watching a PlayStation 2 game.
The narrative’s conclusion is logically emphasized in the fourth section. However, the presentation is so unsatisfying that the cloak of love cannot hide it. Trails of Cold Steel 4 feels like it belongs in another era, whether it’s the dungeons, sound and art design, or gameplay.
The combat system allows you to exploit your opponents’ flaws, but it places such a heavy emphasis on a wide range of stats that the set becomes overwhelming. As a result, determining what information is critical is frequently challenging.
You’ll only discover the vulnerabilities by attacking first, then tapping the information button to see which element and/or type of weapon they’re weakest against. For each opponent, Trails almost demands that you write down all of that data.
Voice Overs and Soundtrack
Both Japanese and English voices are present, and both are of high quality. Not all characters, however, have a voice, and this varies from event to event. Even the main characters are sometimes mute, while an NPC speaks fully.
As a consequence, there’s a strange mix of text and speech, which isn’t ideal for a show that prioritizes deep, emotional storytelling. To put it another way, it’s difficult to become engrossed in the game’s narrative.
Some users have reported that the latest update has caused audio bugs, so there are still some challenges to resolve. In any case, it appears that the port is back in great company as it proceeds to be polished after its initial premiere.
All four segments of the narrative are established in such a way that you can see how the characters have matured from young military academy students to young adults who battle together.
That being said, Trails of Cold Steel IV is difficult to endorse for people who are coming into it without any knowledge of the previous titles. This game is aimed at the most ardent fans of the series, who have been following it for years and are so eager to see how it ends that they overlook the known flaws. Before you get into Trails of Cold Steel IV, we’d highly recommend that you check out the older titles first. It will surely make this game a lot more enjoyable if you fully know the game’s full history.