Having recently hopped off of Trails of Cold Steel 3, I’ve been put into a bizarre position – Prior to this, I had zero desire to experience the rest of the ‘Kiseki’ franchise… But after playing through Trails of Cold Steel 3 through to completion, I’ve been instilled with a burning desire to break out my PSP, download some fan-patches, and to play through the whole of the Kiseki franchise, from Trails in the Sky to Ao no Kiseki.

A large part of this has to do with the variety of additional characters that Trails of Cold Steel 3 employs – This is no surprise for anyone who has watched more than the demo and the intro cutscene, with characters like Arianrhod, Campanella, Randolph and Tita being featured prominently in separate titles – Oroborous itself as an organisation has been plaguing Zemuria ever since the first Legend of Heroes game, with Arianrhod and Campanella in-particular being extremely well presented across the series history.

That, and the fact that best boy Randolph (Randy) featured as one of the main protagonists in Ao no Kiseki – Trails of Cold Steel 3 does a fantastic job of telling you about the exploits and adventures that these characters have previously gone on, and whilst I’ve never played any Kiseki game outside of Trails of Cold Steel 1, 2 and 3, instead of sitting there scratching my head, I instead was filled with a single thought: “Oh damn! These badass characters featured in badass games did badass things against badass villains..! That’s badass!“.

It’s the same feeling that watching a series and knowing there’s a prequel or spinoff with a God-tier enjoyablity-rated character that already exists… Think a 10 year old finding out that his favourite Star Wars character, Han Solo, has his own prequel film. Holy mary he’d be hyped as anything! It’s the same feeling that I get with Trails of Cold Steel 3 and the rest of the Kiseki series; these characters have done so much growing in their own games, have such interesting backgrounds and relationships that I want to go and see where they originated from, to see the seeds that were sown for Cold Steel, and to understand how the Sen no Kiseki (Cold Steel) games affected them, their friends and their personalities.

Not just this, but the amount of detail in Erebonia (And by extension Liberl, Crossbell and Calvard) makes me want to explore the reaches outside of the Erebonian Empire and to see the variety of locales, civilisations, history and themes – Kind of like The Elder Scrolls; exploring Morrowind lead to me wanting to explore the Aedra and Daedra, Cyrodill, Skyrim, the Dragonborn heritage and the future of the Empire; Trails of Cold Steel has filled me with the same curiosity by not just restricting itself – or its cast – to Erebonia and Erebonians; as I said in my review of Trails of Cold Steel 3, variety is the spice of life in Cold Steel 3.

So where do I go from here? Do I dive into Randolph’s story with Ao no Kiseki? Do I experience the start of the franchise with Trails in the Sky? Well, according to the official timeline, Trails of the Sky FC, SC and the 3rd are up first, followed by Zero no Kiseki and then Ao no Kiseki, before playing Trails of Cold Steel 4 – Thankfully, Trails in the Sky FC, SC and the 3rd are all available on Steam, but Zero no Kiseki and Ao no Kiskei are a bit more… Difficult.

Unfortunately these two games never got an english translation, meaning that in order to experience these games, I’ll need to either wait for an official release, or buy the Japanese versions of the games, softmod my PSP, and install fan-translations (Of questionable quality as well) to play them in my native language… Or I could always learn Japanese to a professional level! Hah! Like that would ever happen… I barely even remember my French classes back when I was 13!

…So as it stands, I have three more games to go through, two lengthy YouTube tutorials to fan-patch the other two, and two more games to play on my PSP… All before Trails of Cold Steel 4 releases in English… At some point.

Ah well! Never say never! Nothing is truly impossible!

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