A few years after the original release on the PS3 and Playstation Vita, The Legend of Heroes – Trails of Cold Steel II makes it onto the PS4 in an updated version. We dove back into what is one of the best RPG titles in the last five years to see how the conversion to PS4 was done.
Published by XSEED, the port of The Legend of Heroes – Trails of Cold Steel II was done by Falcom, who are also gearing up to release part III in the west. I was a huge fan of the first two games on the Vita, so I was a bit heartbroken that I wasn’t going to be able to complete the trilogy on Sony’s handheld, but at least they’re bringing all three games to a single platform now with these PS4 remasters and the upcoming third game.
Having said that – if you already played the first two games, then there’s not that much to get excited about. Content-wise, this is almost the same game you already know and love. There is a bit more voiceover work available, as well as the option to play with the Japanese dub – which didn’t fit with the Vita version size-wise. Unless you prefer the original Japanese voice work with your games, this is unlikely to sway you – and if you did, you probably already picked up an import version of the game.
Visually, there’s a resolution upgrade, but it’s clear that it’s a Vita game that was scaled to a more powerful console rather than a game that was rebuilt from the ground up. Luckily, from a gameplay perspective, there wasn’t much need to do so either. Trails of Cold Steel II features an excellent storyline full of dramatic turns, picking up right where the first game left off.
There’s a fair bit of turn-based combat as well, which is improved from the first game but doesn’t leave a lasting impression in any way – it’s more of a catalyst to move the (lengthy) story forward than anything. Even though it had been a few years since I played the Vita version, I felt immediately comfortable while engaging with it. That’s also true for the rest of the game, as I didn’t make use of the Japanese dub and thus was faced with all familiar content. Speaking of which – our Vita review of the game is still up, and talks more in-depth about the narrative and gameplay dynamics.
At the end of the day, the PS4 version of The Legend of Heroes – Trails of Cold Steel II, along with the first game that came out on PS4 a few months ago, is the perfect prelude to part III. But… if you already played the games on a PS3 or Vita, then there’s little reason to go back again unless you want the refresher course and no longer play with your older systems. For me, the new PS4 port did one thing in particular: remind me how excellent the Vita version was when it came out. It’s one of the best titles you can get for the platform, and it’s nice to see it being shared across platforms. If you’re a newcomer to the series, do yourself a favor and pick up these first two games before starting the third later this year – it’s well worth the journey, even if it’s technically a little underwhelming the second time around.