TRINITY: Souls of Zill O'll review
Too much soul food
Mind waking me up when the game gets to the point? Thanks.
Alright Koei/Omega Force, let's see what you guys got here... ah, I see, a dungeon crawler with some RPG elements. Not bad. I mean, at least it isn't a rehash of Dynasty Warriors. Sure, half the stuff I see here is soo 2004, but I guess I'll let it slide, because it seems like a concept that'll work out for you guys, and I hope some outdated crap doesn't hurt the experience. Hopefully, it won't get snubbed in favor of Dragon Age 2, your arch rival. Perhaps your Japanese dungeon crawler will outdo Bioware's American dungeon crawler on the grounds that people will be too sceptical to purchase Dragon Age 2, and buy this game out of curiosity. Games that come out of nowhere tend to be pretty good, eh?
Yeah, that's what I thought until I actually decided to play through the game. The end result is an above average game that's too *bleep*ing long for its own good, with too much fat that needs to be cut out before it can be considered good or even great. It's got a few more screws loose, but it's also done a few things exceptionally well. I bet you're all wondering what sucks and what rocks, or probably even what this game is. Well, sit down and pay attention. You might learn something.
Souls of shit all compassion and effort.
One day, Emperor Balor receives a prophecy, telling him that he will be slain by his own grandson. This has him go after his daughter and son. The son, Prince Lugh, was actually raising a family in secrecy... until he's figured out, and he gets slain, but his wife and two kids manage to escape. Perhaps Balor ought to use this prophecy to not be such a douche? You know, instead of being all paranoid and shit by killing everyone that shares his blood? Anyway, flash forward a couple of decades, and one of those kids grows up to be a fighter at the arena. This kid is called Areus, and he's a half elf. If Tales Of Symphonia taught me anything, it's that whenever half elves are involved, so is prejudice, and later on in the game, it's used in an effort to turn friends against each other, but I'm getting about 10 or 12 hours ahead of myself here. So yeah, Areus fights at the arena in the town of Liberdam, but he's encouraged to become an adventurer. Basically, he reports to Adventurer's Guilds to start doing some quests that involve slaying monsters, recovering treasures and escorting people through the many dungeons laid out in the world of Vyashion. He eventually meets with two people - big bloke Dagda, and token chick Selene - and together, they go out to save the world from the big bad Dyneskal army... oh, and Areus wants to avenge his family by killing Emperor Balor. Yeah, that becomes his main motivation to really do anything in this game.
I'll admit, the story did interest me. It was as cookie cutter as they came (basic revenge story), and it was played out straight (meaning no parody, it's all serious), but at the same time, I was just interested in what happens in between the reason for revenge, and the revenge itself. Unfortunately, the story ended up really weak. It was built up to be this epic story of revenge against the protagonist's grandfather... unfortunately, it does two critical things wrong. First off, story progression is all over the place. One minute, the story progresses, but the next minute, you're told to do a bunch of quests that have nothing to do with the story because it wants to prolong the ending. I admire the effort, but scenes progress at a snail's pace more than anything else. Hell, at points, I forgot there was a story... that's bad! The second sin they've committed is that most of the scenes are text only, meaning no voice acting. Are you *bleep*ing shitting me? This was made in 2011, not *bleep*ing 2004! But it's not just a matter of principle; it's also terribly written, with too much text, but no payoff for actually reading through all of it. Like most of my early reviews on Neoseeker, they're written in ways that whimper "please don't read me". Bloody hell, what a waste of time!
Souls of quests and dragon slaying.
Throughout the game, you'll be going through a series of quests. I've already mentioned the types, bur what I didn't mention was that they're all extremely identical. Whether you're sent to slay a monster, find an item or escort somebody, you'll find yourself just going through the dungeon, killing enemies, and then killing a boss monster. No, I kid you not - this is all you do, and good god, this shit gets boring after a while. You are not given a smidgeon of variety, aside from maybe two puzzles in two different dungeons. Man, they really went above and beyond for those dungeons! I mean, a simple lever puzzle and an elemental puzzle? Shit, you're really breaking the fourth wall here! Nah, seriously, it's lame, but at least it's more than linear caverns with maybe one or two chasms to jump over if you're lucky.
So you're probably thinking "at least the combat is good, right?" And you'd be right, my friend, because the combat is good. At first, you have a basic combo to perform. All it amounts to is mashing the button you mapped that attack to. Later on though, you'll gain access to special attacks, like magic spells and stronger physical attacks. You can link them with your basic combo, though you can only equip three at a time. Even further on, you'll gain access to additional souls, meaning that you'll be given up to four more attacks to mix and match with the original lot. At least there's a fair amount of strategizing in customization, as you have to pick the right three attacks to suit each situation and your playstyle. For instance, something like the basic combo, rising strike and thrust attack is all good. You can even upgrade these attacks by spending SP or Spirit Points on them in the Skills menu (SP is gained by killing enemies, and don't worry, you'll get EXP which levels you up... you know, increasing your power).
To put it simply, the combat system is fun. It's simple, but it manages to get the job done as you're able to perform attacks when you need to, and enemies go boom when they ought to. Sure, it gets repetitious as it's the only thing you do throughout the game, but in terms of execution, it's actually none too shabby. It's simple enough to get you hooked, pretty much. So if you don't mind going through a couple of quests, or if you have that dreaded "one more quest" curse, then its sheer simplicity will be more than welcoming.
The enemies aren't too shabby, either. Most of them aren't the sharpest tools in the shed because it's easy to flat out slaughter them, but they know that it's a good idea to fight back at least. Sadly, your allies aren't quite as smart. They'll attack maybe once every blue moon, pretty much leaving you to fight off groups of enemies yourself, but it actually works a bit better, because the fighting engine seems to work very well with groups of enemies, rather than on singular enemies (at least, that are like goblins or wolves - stuff like lizardmen and chimeras seem to work just as well, but not quite as well as a group of goblins).
In saying all of this, the bosses are either kind of fun, or just tedious. Their main gimmick is the ability to be incapacitated for a little while, leaving them vulnerable to attacks... but to do that, they have to be hit enough when the blue circle appears around them, and it's not always a matter of hacking and slashing at them. You'll often have to use elements that they're weak to (ie. Yeti's require a decent amount of fire before they get stunned). However, some of them don't have that circle for long, so a lot of planning in advance is required if you need to use a fireball or freezing mist attack!
Beautify your hole; beautify your soul.
The graphics are alright I guess. They're certainly not the best that the PS3 can muster, but they're at least aesthetically presentable... most of the time. I'll just cut to the part where they aren't - the visual novel cutscene style, which has static portraits of the characters that are speaking. It works okay if you have voice acting to back it up, but there's none for these scenes, and they don't look that great. I don't know what it is, but these scenes always reek of "I'm lazy and can't be *bleep*ed doing an actual cutscene but I have to tell the story somehow - oh here's a visual novel, kthxbi". It's sad, because the fully rendered cutscenes actually look good. Sure, they're not as good looking as Final Fantasy XIII, but they at least look good, and the in game graphics may be lacking the amount of detail that's expected for a PS3 game (this looks like a PS2 game released in 2004), again, it's pleasing enough to the eye. The watercolor style manages to bring out all of the colors in a way that gives the visuals an edge. What's strange is that there's this filter that comes in and out sometimes... like, what the *bleep*, is it trying to make the game look good? Because the filter makes it looks like crap, actually! Christ!
Music; food of the soul.
The soundtrack is *bleep*ing awesome! Each of the songs manage to give off the correct moods for whatever situation each piece is played for. Not to mention, some of them are pretty catchy. No way will those battle themes leave my head... although that may be because they've overplayed, but so are the quests in general, so that explains that at least. The voice acting is... not too good, unfortunately. There is never really a standout or even a good performance; just actors that are happy with mediocrity. They were probably so apathetic towards it, that it explains why most of the game doesn't even have voice acting...
A soul worthy for heaven, or for eternal damnation?
If every cutscene was given voice acting and the game trimmed out 2/5ths of itself, Trinity: Souls Of Zill O'll would be a pretty good dungeon crawler. Sadly, that isn't the case. Soundtrack and combat aside, the game is content with mediocrity. If you're interested, wait for a price drop or something, because this is, in no way, worth the $80 I paid for it. Perhaps $35 is more reasonable. Or not at all. Your choice, your money.
Stats of the soul:
It could've been pretty epic, but the pacing is garbage. Not to mention, most of the scenes have no voice acting, and aren't written all that well either.
The combat is actually well done. Simple, but it gets the job done. Sadly, the quests are all the exact same thing (basically), and the dungeons start to feel all of the same about fifteen hours into the game. Pretty much, it gets old, and clearly, it could do without a fair amount of crap. Oh, and bad companion AI blows.
Commands at least respond when you press the buttons. It's a bit tricky when it comes to platforming or fighting a smaller enemy one-on-one.
The in game graphics are alright, but look more at home on the PS2. The cutscene graphics are either reasonably well rendered scenes, or just stiff portraits of characters "talking" with a bland background.
The soundtrack is actually pretty damn good. Definitely goes well with whatever moment it's played over. Voice acting is generally mediocre, though.
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