As I slowly work my way through this fantastic RPG, I must say that I'm impressed. Now that I've completed up to chapter 2, let's take a deeper look at the Erebonian Empire but be warned; there will be spoilers.
Chapter 1 basically acts as an introduction to what the daily life of a student at Thors Military Academy is like. Lectures may get boring but you have to pay attention because you don't want to be caught off guard when the instructor asks you a question. It's pretty cool that you get bonus marks for performing well in class. However, the best way to be top of the class is to take on side-quests. After school, Rean can freely explore the campus and help citizens as well as fellow students. Thankfully, the petite student council president is helpful enough to explain the details. Of course, Rean isn't always as focused as he'd like to be so why not do a little fishing first? I love how they incorporated such a fun distraction of a mini-game because you can start fishing at any spot that looks promising. During my time spent working on quests, I laughed when I saw that one was called "Story of Seasoning" which is a reference to Story of Seasons (another title from XSEED Games). Anyway, upon carrying out some chores, Rean went back to his dorm room to study while listening to his favourite radio station. I think he has a thing for the presenter but at least he's studying hard.
A few interesting events occurred during this chapter including realising that the dungeon in the old schoolhouse keeps changing its layout. I hope this is explained later. On a less ominous note, Alisa finally apologized to Rean for giving him the silent treatment then they headed off to their practical exam. This just involved beating up some sort of training robot which was quite an easy battle. Then, we took a train to our very first field study! We played a game of Blade to pass the time before arriving in Celdic. After settling in, we met up with Instructor Sara who clearly loves herself some beer. The first day ended with Rean filling the shoes of a local merchant which was fun and then it was off to bed. The next day, my team decided to investigate a case involving stolen merchandise. After meeting an adorable little girl and her cute kitty, we headed off to find the goods. We would soon discover that corrupt local authorities were responsible for the theft. How disappointingly shameful of them. On the way back to Thors, Rean explained that he's actually a noble but only through adoption. This information would later upset Machias who utterly hates the upper-class.
Chapter 2 followed the same general layout of the first although with a much more interesting story. One thing I found kind of odd was that it started with the girls in a cooking class and the boys in a computer class. Some may find that to be a tad sexist, but I digress. The free day spent around campus was similar to the one in the first chapter complete with a visit to a newly evolved old schoolhouse dungeon. Rean got to pet a kitty and help out some twins, though. Anyway, the practical exam went smoothly with the exception of Instructor Sara challenging us to a fight after Machias and Jusis started arguing. I'm glad that you're supposed to lose in that battle because she packs quite the punch. After that disgraceful display, it was off to Jusis' hometown Bareahard for our next field study.
Upon arriving at Bareahard, it became evident how much everyone respects Jusis and his family. However, he refused to be treated any differently which is rather decent of him. The first day mostly involved miscellaneous quests and it ended with a nice meal that Machias obviously complained about. Little did he know that he would get arrested the very next day for suspicious reasons. So, it's up to Rean and his team to come to his rescue! Upon breaking him out, it was made clear that they only arrested him as a bargaining chip so they can manipulate his father (Imperial Governor Regnitz). Wow, the four noble houses of the Erebonian Empire sure are corrupt.
Between brewing civil strife, an unjust class system, and mysterious figures speaking of devious matters; the story is definitely evolving to be quite an intriguing one. Chapter 1 ended with a masked man asking an unknown fellow, "Should we proceed as planned, then?" and chapter 2's ending really threw me for a loop. Seeing a strange girl who looks like she's from the future talk to a shiny hovering robot made me do a double-take in disbelief. I wonder what's about to go down...
That about does it for the second installment of my Trails of Cold Steel journey. I'll see you when I'm done chapter 4. Also, stay tuned for my full review once I'm completely done with the game!