Game Review: Trinity: Souls of Zill O’ll
Release: February 8, 2011
Genre: Role Playing Game
Developer: Omega Force
Available Platforms: PlayStation 3
ESRB Rating: Teen
You could be forgiven for never having heard of the popular Zill O’ll series as Trinity: Souls of Zill O’ll is the first game in the series to be released in the USA or Europe. The game is actually a prequel but do not panic if you have not played any of the other games in the series as you are not expected to know any of the background and this game plays well as a standalone game in it’s own right.
The main character, a half-elf named Areus, is an heir to the throne of the kingdom known as Vyashion. The opening cinematic explains how the emperor of Vyashion, Balor Dyneskal, went mad due to a traumatic lose of his loved one. His trusted mage Zofor then tells him of how his own grandson will kill him, so Balor sets about the slaughter of his entire bloodline, all except one which he does not know about, Areus. The game starts with Areus, now grown up and a gladiator in the local arena. Here you will learn new combat moves and level up through the many battles you can choose to take part in. The gladiator battles often reward success with valuable items but they are not free to enter and each of them has a suggested level of difficulty which you should note before you launch into one before you have leveled up enough.
The gameplay mechanic is similar to Dynasty Warriors although you are not fighting hundreds of enemies at once. The combat is basic with a single button used to execute most of the moves, which a basic combination of button presses will trigger the more complex ones. Your party is made up of characters with different skills and it pays to use them all during fights. Thankfully switching between them in the heat of battle is just a single button press again. Areus is your sword-master, hack and slash is his speciality but he can also cast destructive spells. Selene the Darkenith is the agile member of your party while Dagda the Boldan is the brute force warrior who prefers hand to hand combat. The combat is arguably the best feature of the game with the boss battles being the highlight. You will need to use the skills of all three party members to defeat some of the more difficult bosses.
As well as the usual RPG gameplay elements where you attain better armour, weapons, spells etc, you have the extra option of three ‘souls’ for each of your characters. Abilities can be attached to these souls and assigned to a button on your controller and through the course of the game, you earn skills points which increase the power of these abilities.
The storyline is a slow burner and may take the first couple of hours before it really grabs you. One of the reasons for the length of time before you will get wrapped up in the story is the fact that most of the dialogue is actually text and is presented is a non-animated way which breaks the flow of the game really badly and reminds you all too often that you are playing a game. The sense of escapism just isn’t there and some of the translation into English is laughable at times.
Navigation between locations on the map is well done, you won’t have to trek across miles of open country. The locations are separate playing areas which you can navigate to simply by calling up the map and selecting your destination. Some RPG purists will not like this but for casual RPG players, this could cut hours of unnecessary travel out of the game.
As with any RPG, there are two main parts of the story, the core story itself and of course side-quests. Sticking to the main story and avoiding side-quests altogether will clock in around 30-35 hours while the side quests will easily add another 10 hours onto this. So you can see that Trinity: Souls of Zill O’ll is a hefty game that ticks the box for quantity of gameplay hours.
Graphics are not groundbreaking and would not look out of place in a PlayStation 2 game. The variation on the types of enemies is balanced for a game of this size, there are over 100 different enemies and dozens of locations. The sound fits well with the general atmosphere of the game and does not grind like some other Japanese RPG games do, although some of the voice acting will make you wince.
Marks final say: Trinity: Souls of Zill O’ll is a really solid Japanese RPG that may not appeal to Western gamers, but if you are a fan of Dynasty Warriors then give it a shot because you may like it since it’s best feature is its combat. The fact that most of the story is told through text means that you need to be prepared to spend hours reading instead of watching and listening to cut scenes. If this doesn’t appeal to you then stay clear. In summary, huge game with huge potential that is let down by method of story telling.
– Story mostly told using text
+ Combat is easy to pick up
+ Boss battles are challenging yet fun
+ 30+ hours for main quest
– no DLC for Western version
Final Score 7 out of 10