First, read my thoughts on the first chapter if you haven’t already, because not too much has changed. The school setup kind of limits things with all the themes you usually find in those kind of shows, but it still has some superb characters and an interesting story. The shipping isn’t that great (Fie is best girl) because it’s essentially a harem. Leading to a complete waste of most of the characters romantically, as you can only pick one for the protagonist. Although Jusis x Machias is a good gay ship.
Not much. Which was the main problem with this installment. It felt like a waste, especially compared to Trails of Cold Steel I, which never had a dull moment and was full of twists and turns and exploring new places. In Cold Steel II, you revisit all the places from the first game, and see how things have changed after a few months. The second half of the game especially felt like a slog, when you have to visit all these dungeons and complete random quests. It didn’t have the strong narrative structure of the first game.
I think they’ve set it up for an amazing concluding chapter. A reckoning is coming. Throughout this chapter, the class has talked about accepting the responsibility for their actions. And yet… they have quite conspicuously failed to do so, in all but the most trivial of ways. They claim they are fighting for their friends. But in reality, they are fighting for the maintenance and extension of empire. This episode focuses on a civil war, in which the students claim to be “neutral”. But they are most decidedly not “neutral”. One side has orders out for their arrest, and they effectively serve as a branch of the other’s military. Their only claim to neutrality is they only intervene to protect innocents, yet somehow this always involves fighting the same single opposing army. This being the side supporting the recent chancellor, who has expanded the empire through invasions, conquest and violence. At the end of this episode, the protagonist ends up being the deciding factor in invading yet another country. Despite this, he claims what he does is just because he fights war to end war as quickly as possible, preventing further bloodshed. We all know how well that always turns out… In short, the protagonists are a band of raging hypocrites. They think they’ve grown up, yet they haven’t realized this most obvious truth.
So yeah, the ending should be good. But for this episode, more plot development happened in the last 30 seconds and the epilogue than in the entire remainder of the game.
Also, the game was way too easy. For the last half of the game, most of the bosses never dealt a single point of damage to me. They never even got a turn. My Rean was equipped with lots of delaying equipment and speed up equipment, he used the attack that delays, just spammed that over and over again, and no one could attack me. On the off chance they did attack, I’d put Fie in front, who would evade their physical attacks with 100% probability. Then Laura and Emma did shitloads of damage as I sat back and relaxed. For the occasional boss who could actually damage me I’d bring in Alisa to heal everyone’s CP and unload on S-crafts. Then using the overloads, lost arts, the robot and rean’s beast powers just felt like cheating. Oh well, I guess it’s not like I was playing this game for the combat anyway.
Looking forward to the final chapter! But yeah, trails in the sky is so much better than this. Especially the writing and translation. This is just nowhere near as funny.