Trinity: Souls of Zill O'll Review
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On 09/22/2011 at 02:45 PM by Jesse Miller
What happens when you add a little RPG to the Dynasty Warriors formula?
For those who want more Dynasty Warriors without actually getting more Dynasty Warriors.
Trinity: Souls of Zill O’ll is exactly the kind of game that you would expect from the makers of the Dynasty Warriors franchise – no more, no less. It’s unfortunate that I can’t simply end my review right here because there isn’t much else to say about the game beyond that opening sentence. Unfortunately the powers that be at PixlBit have requested that I elaborate on exactly what that opening statement means, and while that may seem unreasonable I am nothing if not a good sport.
All is not well on the continent of Vyashion if Chancellor Zofor is to be believed, as he has prophesied that King Balor will meet his doom at the hands of his grandson. Not one to take such news lying down, King Balor does the logical thing and has his daughter, heavy with child, murdered and then sets out to have his son’s bastard half-elfin children killed as well. As is the case with all stories of this nature the kids escape their impending demise to live another day and keep hope alive that the prophecy may indeed come to fruition.
Chances are you’ve heard this all before. Trinity is full of old fantasy plot retreads like this that will at best make you chuckle and at worst cause you to roll your eyes. A game can get away with a cliché-ridden plot if it at least tells it well, but that is not the case here as Omega Force resorts to telling the story through FMV and static figure, text-only conversations that add little actual content. These game conventions may have been acceptable ten years ago, but we now live in an age when even independent studios are able to provide in-game plot and full voice overs to their games.
The game describes itself as an epic RPG adventure, but I haven’t really been able to make the connection. Sure you control a party of characters, but aside from leveling up and assigning skill points to an extremely limited amount of available options, there isn’t much that the player really controls in reference to character development, which is a key element in any RPG.
The game also actively seeks to limit the amount of interaction the player can have with the world at large. There are towns to visit, but you can’t explore them in the traditional sense. You can access different towns and dungeons via the world map which only become visible after you’ve first been expressly ordered by the game to go there.
When you enter a town you’ll be happily greeted by a full text menu with a static painting of the town as the backdrop. It’s almost as if the game wants to cut out all the unnecessary ambiance and exploration and give you nothing but the necessary information and the bare amount of flavor text. Want to check out the wares at the local shop? Just select shop! Want to go down to the tavern and chat up the locals? Simply select the tavern option and you’ll be treated to a selection of conversations to passively be a part of! I understand that building a vibrant and living world is no small task, but at least a faint attempt would have been appreciated.
Likewise, dungeons are fairly limiting experiences as well. When you first visit a dungeon you will find that certain areas are inaccessible. This is a perfectly normal phenomenon in video games, but closed off areas usually become accessible later after getting some kind of key, skill set, or plot device. In other words, it makes perfect sense why you can’t access the area now and why you will be able to in the future. There are a couple of times that having the right character will allow you to proceed where you couldn’t before, but more often than not you’ll find that doors and pathways that were once closed will later open with no explanation whatsoever. I found this rather odd and was slightly amused when my party voiced their confusion via text box as well: “This wasn’t open earlier. Oh well, let’s proceed.”
All of these shortcomings had set me up to completely hate the game and indeed I was prepared early on to write a scathing review, but something rather odd happened about five to six hours in -- Trinity had me hooked. I had grown a strange desire to plow through dungeons, defeat monsters in the arena and complete simple quests for the adventures guild. Once you’ve stripped down the misguided attempts to drape this game in common RPG tropes you’re left with a rather solid hack and slash game.
The combat will be quite familiar to anyone who has ever picked up a Dynasty Warrior title. You have one button that handles your basic attack and two other buttons that can have skills or spells assigned to them. The functionality is as basic as it gets and most gamers will be able to get through the first handful of dungeons, arena fights, and quests without having to touch a healing potion. As you continue to progress, the difficulty level will rise to a level where simply running into a group of enemies and mashing the attack button will no longer work. Initially I didn’t see it, but Trinity actually guides you to becoming a more skilled fighter quite naturally. I myself was surprised to see how much better I was getting.
There are three members in your party and each has their own unique fighting style. You can only control one at a time, but you can switch between them quickly during battle. This allows for some interesting play mechanics, but you’ll likely find a character that best suits your style and stick with them, switching out only when it's completely necessary to advance.
The monster designs are surprisingly detailed and interesting as well, though you will find that variety was not a virtue bestowed upon this game’s bestiary. You’ll fight lots of goblins and lots of skeletons. As you progress you’ll fight even more, albeit with a palette swap. This isn’t a major detraction though, as fighting these monsters is much more enjoyable than you would think.
As I said in the beginning, Trinity is exactly the kind of game that you would expect Omega Force to make. It’s light on detail and substance, but on the most basic of levels an enjoyable experience can be found.