I guess I just hit mid life crisis. Why leh? I was playing The Legend of Heroes / Trails of Cold Steel and all the things the young things did when we are in school all came flooding back. We follow Rean Schwarzer as he enrolled himself as a freshman at the Thors Military Academy. Like any Japanese anime with high school, there are homework, examination (their practical exam is fighting hor), pretty girls to chase and rumour mongers aplenty. Throw in some petty class division between the rich nobles and poor commoners and it reminds me exactly how I felt when I was in Secondary school.
The game plunges you right into the action when Rean’s class was tasked to complete a mission. I tried to recall all the RPG games I have played on the PS system (both console and portable) and did a semblence of a fight (barely). The game then unfolds with the story being told from the time when the school year started.
Well, the story tried to bit more adult with political conspiracy, kidnapping, class division being pushed into the mix. So yeah I did got a interested to see how a bunch of kids is able to pull off the near impossible preventing a civil war and also how the Erebonian politics played out.
So how was the game play? If one knows such RPGs then there is a lot of mixing and matching of skills and items called ‘Arts’ and ‘Crafts’ to attack opponents with using the Orbment system. The key is to keep leveling up characters as much as possible before going on to meet the king of the dungeon/highway/fort. Add that to the ability to move the characters around to avoid group attacks by the enemies and also increase the attacking potential by allowing characters to link up, the game is pretty deep and does need a bit of strategy thinking to maximise damage on the enemies.
In order to create the best pairing, the characters must be able to work together by building up relationship For example Rean has to go around and find his classmates to talk, revise homework together (I joke you not! You have to pass exams by reading the content of the conversation). On top of that he has do some menial work for the Student Union (the game is seriously imitating real life here!!). The activities building up characters got very repetitive after a while as the story revolves around school life – there are classes, exams, field trips and back to school again.
I had experience playing Final Fantasy so it is not as bad as a complete newbie but I do need to re-wire my brain a bit to play this. The game can be quite a long drawn affair even when I can fast forward to various location within a mini map with the PSVita loading times being pretty quick. A lot of time used is to build up relationship between the playable characters and doing a lot of ‘school stuff’.
Perhaps I have already plan my life around games instead of allowing games to dictate time spent. Even when I tried to segregate the game into sub-chapters, completing it would require more time than a ride on the MRT or bus. However playing this on a 4 hour flight could kill time pretty fast if you follow the story.
This game is definitely not the first story of the series and is actually the 3rd story arc. I didn’t follow this game that closely but as a first timer to the series, it was quite entertaining if one has the time to watch the animation and read through the conversation. The good thing is the the game play does push you thinking how to win the monster but it is also easy to take up but hard to master it well. Just make sure you have time for this.