The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III

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  • It was possible to play Cold Steel I without Zero/Ao spoilers, and Cold Steel II with only minimal such spoilers, but III probably won't make a lot of sense without the context of Zero/Ao. Currently, there's a great fan translation of Zero by the Geofront team here, and one for Ao is nearing release here. If you can't wait for the Ao release before starting the game, there's a pretty good cleaned-up version of a beta translation here. I recommend playing through those games first because they're way better than the Cold Steel games, anyway, but they'll also make the story make a good deal more sense.
  • The game is a little harder than Cold Steel I/II, but significantly easier than the Liberl and Crossbell games. If you've stuck with the series all the way through, you'll probably find even NG Nightmare pretty easy, and you can always slide the difficulty down if it poses too much of a problem for you.
  • The game adds a new effect called Break which puts enemies into a stun state pretty similar to Faint until their next turn. Combined with Delay-reducing orders, breaking an enemy once is essentially a guaranteed victory, so if you're having trouble surviving, just stack Break on a few characters and make use of the Sledgehammer Order once you've got it.
  • Equipping quartz with field effects, like Dragon Vein's Assault Gauge recharge, or Ingenuity's EP restore, or Detection's effect of putting chests on the map will work even if characters are not in your active party, so make use of their slots. If you throw Dragon Vein on a Support member, you can pretty much enter every single fight with Triple Advantage.
  • All status effects, including Delay, were strongly nerfed in this game by virtue of most enemies having 20% or lower susceptibility to them, which not only reduces the chance of inflicting them, but also their duration. In CS1/2 stacking Gaius and Fie with status quartz was a good strategy, but here it's somewhat wasteful of slots. Of note, this reduction in duration occurs after duration-increasing effects like Bluster, so even if you stack +4 duration, most enemies that resist that status will only get 1 or 2 turns total.
  • Unlike the Crossbell games, it's going to be pretty difficult to max more than a few characters' bonds, and they're separate from their Link level, so you can't even just grind them out. Make sure to check the inventory of every shop in case there's gifts, and try to focus on your favorites and save maxing everyone for NG+. You could always cheat in more Bonding Points, too, but be careful because certain parts of the game require your bonding points to hit 0 to advance, and you can softlock yourself if you set them too high.
  • About 2 chapters in, you can set up a build with Gladiator Belts, the Brigid Master Quartz, and the Kaleido Sub-MQ that allows anyone in your party to basically be S-Breaking every fight. It has the secondary advantage of making enemies drop way more sepith. You can get between 100-250 sepith of every color per fight, and if you do this for a chapter or two you'll be set on Sepith for pretty much the rest of the game. This strategy works best on someone like Rean, since sepith drops each time an enemy enters a "hit" animation, and his S-Craft triggers that animation about 20 times.
  • In most of the previous games, the big thing gating strong builds was a dearth of sepith of a given element, usually Wind or Time. Here, it's U-materials. In Chapter 4, you can eventually farm U-materials by fishing up Mega Arowana, but prior to that the best opportunities are usually in Einhel Keep or each chapter's final dungeon. You shouldn't really need to farm U-materials much, anyway, though, since the game is pretty easy even on NG Nightmare.
  • There's a localization error with food where a few recipes say they restore EP, but actually restore CP. You can sort of figure out which ones they are intuitively by the food or the values, but for thoroughness' sake, the Southern Punch, Fresh Tomato Noodles, Tomato Curry, and Hearty Kebab recipe sets all actually restore CP.