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Change YoY: =   My Rating: 9.2

The second of many The Legend of Heroes games on my list, Trails of Cold Steel III was akin to a second start for the series, as it not only made the series' debut on a new console generation, but also introduced a new set of main characters that took the center stage for much of the game. In general, the four Trails of Cold Steel games feel like two distinct pairs, the first two centering around the same core group of characters and storyline, while the latter two take place after some time has passed and, as mentioned, feature many entirely new characters in addition to the already familiar cast. This soft reset is both a blessing and a curse. It definitely gives the game a feeling of freshness, but on the other hand in some ways it also feels like you're restarting a lot of stuff from scratch.

 Once the story gets going and the new characters have been introduced and made familiar, then the game hits its stride again. Not that the beginning is bad or anything, the game just takes a moment to essentially collect itself and put everything in place for what's about to happen. Effectively, we're setting up new pieces on the board for the final game in the series after quite a few of the major storylines were already wrapped up in the second game. None of this makes the game bad by any means, quite the opposite, just means that it takes a little while to get going, and when it does the result is one of my all-time favourite games. It may be the weakest of the four Cold Steel games, but as this ranking probably tells you, that doesn't make it any less great overall. The gameplay, characters, story, and music are still all fantastic, and the weaker elements are essentially a necessity of setting up the events to follow in later games.