Trinity Souls of Zill O'll Review
Tecmo Koei, most notably known for their Dynasty and Samurai Warrior series, do two things very well: over-stylizing Asian history and churning out annual hack 'n' slashers. This time, however, instead of basing a game off a historical time period, they decided to make a story-centric RPG that focuses less on the number of characters you can amass and more on three individuals and their intertwining story.
Trinity Souls of Zill O'll is largely a story of revenge that centers around a young half-human, half-elf named Areus. As a child, his father was slain by the evil Lord Balor due to a prophecy that said he would die by the hands of his grandson. His plan to stop the prophecy goes awry, of course, as Areus survives and grows intent on one day killing the man that murdered his father. Down the road he meets the powerful warrior Dagda and the roguish Selene, who accompany him on his quest.
A lack of originality permeates throughout the entire game, sadly. It is at heart a dungeon crawler, which means the only time you will ever directly take control of your heroes is in those dungeons. Towns filled with various locations are all accessed through menus and static images. There's also loads and loads of text that aren't fully voiced, an issue that's unacceptable considering it's the year 2011 and the game is for a next-gen console like the PS3. The formula is simple: Go to the adventurers' guild, choose a quest, find the location on the world map; hack, slash and blast your way through the dungeon until you meet the quest criteria; then rinse and repeat. Though I am making the game sound terribly monotonous, I found myself coming back for "just one more quest" on more than one occasion. Then there are times that the guild doesn't have any more quests to hand out, so you're stuck having to scroll through every town on the world map, hoping that the next story segment activates or a different guild has one available.
While exploring the various dungeons, you're free to switch out any of the characters on the fly. Areus is a Warrior/Mage hybrid, wielding swords and some powerful projectile spells. Dagda is a towering warrior who relies on nothing but brute strength and fists, while Selene is an agile rogue who uses twin daggers and knows some handy paralyzing techniques. The hordes of Goblins, Harpies and the like are easily dispatched, but the bigger boss enemies require a bit more strategy. For instance, if they are fire-based, Areus can easily take them down using his ice attack. Once their guard is broken, players have the chance to use a powerful joint-character finishing move called the Trinity Attack. Besides offensive abilities, each character has useful terrain abilities that allow them to access otherwise unreachable areas. Areus can set fire to trees that block their path, Dagda can demolish walls, and Selene's double jump can put her in reach of higher platforms.
Aside from straight dungeon-crawling, you're able to rise in the ranks as a gladiator. The Arena lets you face off against enemies that you encountered during your adventure and has many rewards that are worth your time, including powerful new weapons for each character. For some reason, even once you have all three characters, only you and Selene can participate in the Arena battles while Dagda sits them out.
Though the gameplay can get addicting, assuming you're in the right mindset, the presentation is where the game comes up short. Dungeons are copied and pasted throughout with only a few original locations, and the environments fail to impress with their extreme lack of detail and their muddled textures. The characters themselves look decent enough, and the finishing moves are impressive, but the overall appearance resembles an early PS2 game.
Trinity Souls of Zill O'll is a valiant effort to focus on a more plot-driven game rather than the mindless button mashing of the Warriors series, but the game could have used considerably more polish, especially in terms of presentation.