I beat Cold Steel IV a few days ago, so here's a SPOILER-FREE review. Just my own personal opinions.
I'll get this out of the way first. My ONLY complaint about the game is the localization is an absolute mess. Main story scenes are thankfully fine, but when it comes to side-quests and NPC dialogue there's tons of grammar issues, changed names (Like the Bose region in Liberl was changed to Beaus for some reason or Sieg, Kloe's pet falcon was called Zeke...) as well as so many messed up text-boxes where the text was outside of the box. NISA really needs to step up their translation game because even fan translations like Geofront are leagues above this shit.
Now that that's out of the way everything else that I have to say is positive.
Let me start off by saying that Cold Steel IV will definitely be my GOTY and Falcom have delivered once again, not like I expected any less. Showing all other developers how to make a long-running series built upon in-depth, detailed world-building, character development and an interconnected story the goes through the entire series.
The story is fantastic as always with some moments easily being among my all time favorites out of the entire series, a LOT happened in the game, this has to be the most action-packed Trails game since Ao no Kiseki, there's plenty of shocking reveals and well thought out plot-twists and I feel that the writers really gave the Erebonia arc the finale it deserved.
The world-building is of course just as great as always, bringing back many NPCs from all previous games and arcs, showing how they are now and even making some older NPCs who felt inconsequential have a bigger role in the main story, this is just truly special and something only Trails can pull off. Plus one thing I absolutely loved was how as the main story progresses, more and more NPCs start disappearing from towns because they're being conscripted and drafted into the war effort and it really made that looming threat of the war between Erebonia and Calvard feel all the more real.
While the cast of characters is pretty massive at this point, no-one felt underutilized to me and everyone gets proper time to shine and develop. It was especially always a pleasure seeing old characters from Trails in the Sky or Zero/Ao no Kiseki meeting and teaming up with Class VII and other Cold Steel characters for the first time. Also even older characters from the Trails in the Sky or Crossbell games have moments that show they're still growing as people and it just proves to me that when it comes to character writing and development, Falcom is the undisputed champion.
The OST is incredible and one of my faves from the entire series so far. It has tons of variety with a mix of more calmer town music, bombastic orchestral pieces for the really epic moments, shreddy power metal for battle themes and tons of atmospheric, mood setting tracks. There's a lot of reused themes from past games and even some special arranged versions of older themes, but all the new tracks are fantastic.
There's TONS of content, it took me 141 hours to beat the game on my first playthrough. You always get your money's worth when it comes to Falcom games and Cold Steel IV is no different. Lots of side-quests that help build the world and develop side characters even more, some fun little mini-games like the card game Vantage Masters or the Puyo Puyo styled Pom! Pom! Party! Plus all your typical Trails standards like constantly updating NPC dialogue, long cut-scenes, bonding events with teammates and in game books you can read, like 3 and 9 which apparently give in-depth backstory of 2 new characters in Hajimari no Kiseki.
The combat is just as fun as ever, taking the new elements from Cold Steel III like Brave Orders and balancing them out a bit more. Trial Chests from Cold Steel II are back and used as a way to upgrade your Brave Orders, so your starting orders are nerffed, making the earlier half of the game feel a bit more difficult. Also I really loved how some bosses had their own Brave Orders they could use called 'Disorders' and they would cancel out your own orders and debuff your characters as well.
All in all I really have no complaints about this game aside from the messy localization. It's a fantastic finale to my fave arc in my fave J-RPG franchise and my new fave game in the series. Falcom simply continues to be the best in the world at what they do and I just don't see another developer ever even coming close to matching, let alone surpassing them when it comes to appealing to my own personal tastes.
10/10 and my fave Trails game yet.
submitted by Dragonflame1994