Trails of Cold Steel III is a massive game with many large areas and deep dungeons you’ll need to navigate, you’ll find beasts around every corner and chests hidden in every nook and cranny. Below, you’ll find a breakdown of how Exploration works in the game.
You can change your on-screen character by pressing the [L1] button, this will cycle between the members in your current party. Other than changing who you’re controlling directly, some characters’ weapons make it easier to stun enemies for an Advantage attack. As a general rule, Juna is a lot tougher to nail them with due to her short range. For the most part, you can’t go wrong with Rean, he attacks quick and you’ll find it easy to strike enemies with it.
You’ll find the minimap in the top right corner of the screen and you can expand it by pressing the [DPAD DOWN] button. This is handy as you’ll be able to see useful information later in the game such as Treasure Chest locations (provided you have the correct Quartz equipped), enemy locations and even objects related to puzzles. This guide is written with the minimap locked and facing north, so as better to provide directions. The map will also let you know what NPCs have quests or other useful information, handy to find out if you’re missing anything before you press on.
Finally, when you’re outside of dungeons, you can quickly get around using the Quick Travel Menu. This will allow you to instantly move to key locations in towns and Leeves in general so make use of it. It’ll also give you handy information such as which parts of the town has key events to view or where your other characters are currently stationed.
Methods of Transport
Initially you’ll only be able to sprint using the[R1] button, this, coupled with turning on Turbo Mode is arguably the best way to get around the world as it leaves you open to still strike any enemies you may wish to battle. Later on in the game, you’ll gain the ability to rent Horses or use the Orbal Bike, both of these methods were designed with the Japanese version of the game in mind where Turbo Mode didn’t exist so they’re less desirable in the International Version. Still, who doesn’t like cruising around in a Bike with customisable colors every now and then?
There are several ways to enter combat in Trails of Cold Steel III outside of being forced into it during story beats. You’ll see enemies on the field and you can use the [X] button to swing your weapon, this varies based on which character you’re currently controlling. If you strike an enemy head on or simply walk into it, you’ll enter battle in a regular state with no bonuses or penalties.
Should you walk into an enemy from the back, you’ll force an Advantage Encounter, this will allow you to take your turn earlier than normal. Strike an enemy from behind however and you’ll stun them, forcing a Double Advantage which will stun the enemy at the start of battle and give all your allies a boost of +10 CP. The best way to achieve this is to be patient and wait for the enemy to turn however you can force this from the front once you learn the timing. Using Rean especially, you can double strike an enemy to make them momentarily flinch before moving slightly to the side. Doing this, you can work you way around to the back of the enemy and strike them in the back.
Finally, you have Assault Attacks, making use of the Charge Gauge in the bottom right corner of the screen. These are Assault Points and you gain them via attacking enemies on screen or breaking the objects scattered around the field. You can’t ever hold more than two so if you find yourself with two Assault Points, trigger a battle using the [R2] button. Your chosen character will attack from range causing the next Encounter Type to be a Triple Advantage. This handy bonus will give you the effects of Double Advantage along with 50% break damage to all enemies, as a general rule you want to start battles with this if you can, especially on Nightmare Mode. What’s more, the larger regular enemies on the field can’t be back attacked but using Assault Attacks, you can still trigger a Triple Advantage so always go into these battles with this in mind.