Even though Nintendo’s Xenoblade Chronicles X ended up having a serious bukkake session with most of the world’s gaming media early last year, it was the little known The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel that actually won the hearts and minds of serious die-hard RPG fans everywhere else. And whilst Nintendo should be commended for ensuring that its 3DS handheld continues to be a veritable hotbed for RPG games (even though I’ll contend that the PS Vita takes that crown), what can’t be argued is that the company’s Wii U platform has fallen considerably short in terms of expectations – with only Monolith Soft’s own title and Tokyo Mirage Sessions FE offering any real alternative to what the PS4 and XBox One consoles have to offer.

Still, Nintendo does hold the trump-cards that are the Pokemon and Zelda franchises, but with major development studios already writing off the Switch as being a platform that will host their AAA RPG efforts (such as Persona V and Mass Effect: Andromeda), it must be alarming to realise that Nintendo’s platform is already mired in negative publicity before it has even launched. Of course, Nintendo still has Pokemon, Zelda, Smash Brothers, Mario, and Mario Kart as being bona fide system sellers, but that’s just five franchises, whilst Sony and Microsoft have their own in-house talent as well as AAA third party efforts to draw from. At the same time, there is no guarantee that Nintendo will be able to maintain platform exclusivity for some of its biggest third party titles – with Monster Hunter already being earmarked to leave handhelds due to their limiting sales potential. At the same time, there is a reason as to why Japanese games like Final Fantasy XV, Persona 5, Kingdom Hearts 3 continue to be released on both PS4 and XBox One – because both consoles have sole millions of units worldwide and are established brand name commodities. What is the Switch, if nothing more than mere hot air that is being released by a company that hasn’t had an assured hardware track record for nearly a decade.

But enough of that… Let’s try to get back to The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel and talk about how some people have earmarked it as surpassing Persona 4 as their favourite game on the PS Vita system. And whilst it shares certain traits with The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky (as the games take place in the same universe and are by the same developer), it’s still very much its own game series, with the second chapter also out on PS Vita, whilst the third chapter has now been confirmed for PS4 only.

Even if Trails of Cold Steel is often regarded as being one of the finest RPGs in recent years, some have commented however that it often spends too much time in its “world building” and is rather slow as a consequence. But that’s what makes it a lot more endearing for those who want to savour a more mature storyline – which is quite text heavy and encompasses a lot of political intrigue. And it’s never usually this cheap – especially with a rather sumptuous art book included.

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