Trails of Cold Steel II is a great addition to the franchise which continues to build on the original, it continues straight after the events of the first game which makes playing it a necessity. The story begins with a mission to reunite all you beloved classmates. With such a huge mass of characters and even more being added it’s easy for cast members to fade into the background, however this game manages to not only keep all the characters involved in the story, but to continue to build their character arcs and bonds throughout the game whilst tying all the components of the story into a neat little bow by the end of the game.
The overall heart and soul of the Trials games remains true with cold steel II with some very welcome additions (except the snowboard minigame, I am terrible at that).
So what are these additions? The sequel offers much more freedom as you are no longer tied to the academy as your base of operations and you are not forced to have a set party for your assignments, instead allowing you to handpick your party before disembarking on story elements.
You begin the story at level 40 with all crafts being carried over from the first game, initially I thought this would be an issue as it wouldn’t allow for character growth, however I was pleasantly mistaken as each character learns new crafts as well as upgraded versions of previous crafts. With the level increase comes an increase in difficulty, making using tactics during battle all the more important.