Trinity: Souls of Zill O'll - Staff Review  

When Zill It End?
by Michael "Macstorm" Cunningham

Trinity: Souls of Zill O'll
20-40 Hours
+ Decent hack-and-slash combat system
+ Beautiful soundtrack
+ Shows potential
- Padded by dull, repetitive missions
- Visuals marred by lack of use
- Padded by more dull, repetitive missions
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   Trinity: Souls of Zill O'll is an action RPG from Omega Force, the developers of the hack-and-slash Dynasty Warriors series. While it shares a lot of similarities with those games, Trinity is actually part of the smaller Zill O'll RPG series. This is the first game in that line to make it to North America, and it shows a lot of potential, but ultimately it is lacking in too many areas to fully realize that potential.

   Trinity tells the tale of Areus, a young man seeking revenge against Balor, the Emperor of Dyneskal, for the death of his father. Due to a prophecy stating that Balor would die at the hands of his offspring, the Emperor hunted down and killed his own son, but his grandson escaped. Areus, the grandchild, witnessed his father's death at the hands of Balor and has sought to kill the Emperor ever since. This plot device leads Areus across the world as he teams up with the rough, rugged warrior Dagna and mysterious rogue Selene to go from his lowly beginnings as a gladiator to heroic status in the very kingdom he is seeking to overthrow. The story is not extremely deep, but does a decent job portraying Areus and his motivations. The plot is solid enough and well told, but has other issues that obscure it and bring it down.

Waiting Waiting on the next wave of enemies

   The biggest problem with Trinity and its story is that it is buried beneath layers of text-only dialogue exchanges and repetitive missions. The game features cutscenes at key plot points, but most of the dialogue is delivered via static, boring conversations with no spoken dialogue to help. Given the hit-and-miss quality of the voice acting and the bland lines, this likely saves gamers from hours of monotony, but still most will be pressing buttons to speed along the never-ending text. With such a tedious delivery of lines, most of which say nothing more than where to go next, the game frequently threatens to put gamers to sleep.

   It's not just the mindless dialogue that hurts Trinity; the repetitive combat and pointless missions do the real damage. The game features a three character action battle system in which the player can swap between those characters on the fly. Each of these characters features a trio of skill sets that can be assigned based on play style and can be adjusted as needed. Players can build attacks that will combo together and can even swap characters mid-attack to build a strong combo. This is further expanded when battling the larger enemies, as each has an elemental weakness, that when exploited will cause them to go into a break state where they can be damaged easier. Even with this depth, there is a certain amount of rinse and repeat involved here.

   The battle system allows for a decent amount of variety in play styles, but gets ruined by the lack of diversity in missions. The mission types players will be forced to endure typically include one of three things: defeating a boss monster (that has likely been fought over and over already), finding a missing item (usually by defeating one of those same boss types), or escorting someone through an area (and possibly fighting yet another boss). These quests will often be repeated in the same areas over and over with the same enemies merely shuffled around between areas. In order to progress, players will typically venture into a new area and follow one of the mission templates listed above. Even though the side quests are optional, they are almost indistinguishable from the story missions. Had the game been more succinct in its pacing, it could have been a much more enjoyable experience, but the content repetition instead serves to prolong an already mediocre hack-and-slash.

TnA Obligatory T&A

   Combat tends to be more of a war of attrition than an actual challenge, as the most difficult issue is surviving an onslaught of enemies with limited healing resources. Thankfully, all characters are healed after combat, so it is not usually too rough. Only one section near the end of the game became problematic due to a chain of boss fights without breaks to save or obtain more healing items, but even that was not too bad. Overall, the balance is decent and being able to find save points often while exploring helps mediate most problems.

   Another issue Trinity faces is that its presentation is all over the place. The game's cutscenes and battle areas are veiled beneath a lovely watercolor style, but even then the visuals are not amazing, especially for a PlayStation 3 title. Sadly, those semi-decent visuals are hardly used, as towns and the surrounding areas are nothing more than basic menus on static backgrounds. This is further compounded by the voiceless text exchanges between character portraits on those simple backdrops. The game even features some great character designs, but then just leaves them hanging. It is just a sad use of the PlayStation 3's power; not so much the lack of quality, but the simple lack of anything. On a positive note, the game's soundtrack features a fantastic collection of mood-appropriate pieces, that while are unfortunately overused, are pleasant throughout. The presentation is could have been more, but the effort was not made here.

   While Trinity: Souls of Zill O'll has a lot of potential in its varied battle system, decent story, and wonderful soundtrack, it falls flat in other unforgivable areas. The repetitive and pointless missions combine with the pointless text-only overflow of dialogue to pad the game two or three times longer than it needs to be. If only the fat had been cut and more variety was offered, the game might have been decent. As is, Trinity is drowning in missteps.

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