Trinity: Souls of Zill O’ll comes from the creators of the famed – and much copied – Dynasty Warriors franchise, Omega Force. It’s nice to see them step outside of their comfort zone by making an a fuller action-RPG title, as they manage to add some much-welcome changes to their usual hack ‘n slash style of adventure gaming that’s really become its own sub-genre as of late. Fans of other games in the long-running Zill O’ll series (which date back to the original PlayStation) will probably feel right at home in this PlayStation 3-exclusive release, though others who might be expecting a more comprehensive role-playing adventure might be left wondering what all the excitement is about.
The games starts off with you following the half-elf Areus, who seeks his vengeance on this grandfather, the evil emperor, who killed Areus’ pregnant mother due to a prophecy stating the emperor would be killed by his unborn grandchild. Along the way in his quest, he comes across the muscular warrior Dagda, and the enigmatic assassin Selene. They team together to help Areus in his circular quest while also trying to reach their own goals. Yes, it’s standard stuff for most J-RPGs these days, but told relatively well and without many cringe-inducing stereotypical moments that have become the bane of most enthusiasts.
With Omega Force at the helm of this game, the game plays an awful lot like Dynasty Warriors, but still manages to mix things up with some action-RPG elements that’s reminiscent of Diablo, as you go around in your three person group hacking, slashing, and pounding your way through crowds of enemies. The characters include a slow, but powerful warrior Dagda, the well-rounded wizard/swordsman Areus, and the fast and agile but weak assassin Selene. There are a couple of snags with this team system though, as your teammate’s AI is pretty bad, as they tend to charge directly into danger and do considerably less damage than they should, as well as take a lot more punishment than you.
This makes for some frustrating moments where most times than not you’ll die a lot quicker than they will. So if you just stick with one character while playing, they’ll end up being severely weak HP-wise compared to the other characters due to repeated deaths. The game lets you alternate between each of the three characters on the fly to use their unique abilities when needed, as well as collaboratively use magic abilities and physical offensives together to switch up your attacks while playing. This comes in handy while fighting enemies that are weak against certain magic, which will stun them and makes them open for a super-powered (and pretty cool looking) team attack.
Another neat thing about the game is the fact you can uncover new paths by destroying objects, setting areas aflame or freeze objects with spell casting to reach new places. This combined with the game’s non-linear way of play, offers players a unique adventure depending on what you do in the game. An example of this is how you can go to different towns and pick up quests / missions to do on the game, some which progress the story while others are just for rep, money, etc. You can also upgrade your character’s skills, weapons, magic, etc while in town as well. Though some may be disappointed of the news of this game not having any DLC for it, the game has dozens of side quests and hidden opportunities to add more adventures and depth to an already long enough adventure.
This leads me to some of the cons with the game. Tecmo-Koei had some nice opportunities to make this game so much better, but it comes off as a title that’s been rushed to market. The game is completely barebones with no online multiplayer or even local co-op available, and none of the DLC that was available in the Japanese/European versions is available for the North American release. Any of those things would be a welcome bonus or standard for other games of this genre, but they’re nowhere to be found here. The graphics and audio are nothing spectacular, either, though I thought it was interesting how everything looks like you’re playing the game through a canvas-like filter.
For what it is, Trinity: Souls of Zill O’ll isn’t a bad game, but it’s not a great one, either. Developer Omega Force could have strayed a bit further from the safety of their Samurai Warriors realm, though some welcome action-RPG elements and team-based gameplay do help break up the monotony of simple hack ‘n slashing. Too bad once the adventure is over there really isn’t much here to keep you playing, as there’s no online or offline multiplayer, and none of the bonus DLC from the Japanese and European version is available. That may change in the future, but for those of you seeking a new action-RPG and looking for something to past the time with, this game will most likely fit the bill, at least until something better comes along.
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