Played in Japanese on PS4. Got partway through the Quatre chapter (in the science town).

The game uses the classic "cast of 8" JRPG ensemble, characters introduced each chapter. I think this game is too long (I'm 2-3x as slow playing in Japanese due to the amount and difficulty of reading here), though part of that is exhaustion with playing in a second language. It's an 60-80 hour RPG with regular timing.

As a Trails fan (who frustratedly put up with the entire ho-hum Cold Steel series), Kuro makes some nice and positive moves for the series. The lead, Van, seems to actually have a canon romance, there isn't any creepy harem dating shit, and other characters seem to have romances of their own as well as interesting ties to organizations or their home cities.

I love the battle system changes - most of the time you can just hack away in dungeons, and more fast-paced Trails-y turn-based combat feels really good! I got the sense that it's easier overall than past games, but I play on Normal difficulty so who knows. That being said, there isn't any real tension in the dungeons. It mostly feels like padding before the next plot beat.

I still feel like the Massive Countries within the Kuro arc has similar problems to Cold Steel - you get a pretty disjointed sense of the entire world, and things start to feel cyclic/repetitive after a while.

Well, I'm not sure if I'll finish Kuro 1, but I'll probably still try out Kuro 2 (or at least watch the series to the end...what's gonna happen??)

Reviewed on Mar 28, 2022