The launch of Trails of Cold Steel on PC is here, which means it’s high time for the third and final iteration of this 3-part series of articles. The first part dealt with lifting the performance of the game to a level that I consider acceptable — great, even. The second one explained all the graphical options beyond the console version which were implemented in this port.
In this post I’ll introduce two final, previously unrevealed features which will be included in the release. The first should make everyone who has a lot of games to play and only little time — or wants to re-play Trails of Cold Steel on PC without any tedium — happy, while the second one is only really relevant for a much smaller audience — but I’m sure they will be enthusiastic about it.
The first feature is “Turbo Mode”. If this functionality is enabled in the launcher, holding down the R2 button (or other controller equivalent, or whatever you mapped it to in keyboard/mouse controls) will speed up battles, cutscenes and even field progress by a factor of four. This allows you to very quickly complete “unimportant” battles or traverse some of the larger late-game maps. When Turbo mode is active, it’s indicated by an animated on-screen icon:
While this is not entirely new – a few PC ports over the years have included a similar feature – it is fully integrated and has one particularity which I call “Smart Turbo”. In Trails of Cold Steel, when you “unbalance” an enemy, you are given a short timed prompt to select a special “link” move. During this prompt, even if you keep Turbo Mode active, it will automatically stop speeding up the progress of time so that you have the same chance to select an action that you have while playing normally.
During battle, turbo mode also skips most animations in addition to the general speed-up function. You can see the impact of this mode on a battle in this Youtube video.
Ultrawide Aspect Ratio Support
I was talking about a surprise feature that I didn’t believe XSEED would go for in my previous post, and this is it. Supporting additional aspect ratios in a game as UI-heavy as a JRPG, and one that was only ever targeted at 16:9, is never trivial, so my time estimate for this included several full work days. Since time is, in a very real sense, money in this case, I didn’t expect that XSEED would go for implementing a feature which — as of the latest Steam survey — is only really useful for less than 2% of the potential players.
Well, they did go for it, and after working through 32 distinct issues the game now supports any aspect ration larger than 16:9 out of the box! Of course, there are some limitations: primarily, that the main menu remains at 16:9, and also some battle UI overlays don’t transition perfectly at the edges of the 16:9 frame. But for most situations, I implemented unique solutions that I think look pretty nice.
Of course, if I was going to do wide aspect ratio support, I wasn’t going to do it just for 21:9 — every aspect ratio larger than 16:9 should work, at least in theory. So if, say, you have a 3-monitor 48:9 setup, then that will look a bit like this:
I have to admit that, just because of the constraints of reality, the ultrawide option is not tested as rigorously as playing at 16:9, so it’s not unlikely that you might find a small graphical hiccup in one particular scenario in the game or another. If you do, please report it.
Whew. A long road is about to come to its end, and I fervently hope that the game will work as well for you as it does on our testing machines. It’s the first time a game is released where I have been largely responsible for most of its PC-specific code, so I’m a bit nervous, but I do believe that it’s in a much better state than many of the releases I had a look at over the past few years.
And what I know is that if something major does go wrong, I won’t wait months, weeks, or even days to communicate with whoever is affected and try to get it resolved.