Recent PS3 release Trinity: Souls of Zill O’ll commences with a condemning prophecy, as a tyrannical ruler is advised that he will be murdered by his own grandson. Attempting to outwit destiny, Emperor Balor, orders the death of his pregnant daughter, unaware that his son has furtively fathered a child with an Elven woman. Over years, rumors of an illicit heir grow, initiating a second crusade to purge the nefarious leader’s lineage. This campaign culminates in a final stand, where the seditious son’s mortal sacrifice permits the grandchild to escape. Driven by vengeance- Areus, the young half-elf, begins training to fulfill his destiny.
Mirroring the game’s narrative impetus, Souls of Zill O’ll also seeks to make a clean break from its ancestry. With development handled by Omega Force, the entity behind the fertile Dynasty/Samurai Warriors franchise, players might expect little more that a hack-and-slack with a high-fantasy reskinning. While the sporadic sensation of swathing through a crowd of goblins might feel familiar, Trinity’s role-playing influenced additions deviate remarkably, making the game feel wildly divergent from yet another trip to the feudal kingdoms of the far east.
Traditionally, Omega Force’s titles present an adept solitary officer flanked by fleeting bands of incompetent cohorts and an occasional ham-fisted high-ranking assistant. Trinity offers a swappable trio of ever-present heroes, each with a distinct offensive arsenal. Although your two sidekicks follow RPG trope- Dadga is the prototypical friendly behemoth capable of using stone pillars as clubs, while Selene is the detached, agile assassin, they are mercifully self-reliant. Sure, you’ll have to take control of each character to solve the intermittent environmental puzzle, but they habitually hold their own in battle, hammering away diligently at each observable threat.
As foes are vanquished the team is rewarded with both a steady stream of loot as well as skill points. These credits can be used to bolster the two switchable skillsets of each hero, granting elemental damage abilities. Before long, Areus was using his augmented flame and ice powers to ignite tumbleweeds or freeze patches of water, inciting environmental damage to adversaries. Although not every object in Trinity’s realm is destroyable, the periodic toppling of an archer tower or dislodging of icicles offers a gratifying alternative to melee and ranged attacks. The title even offers a variant of Dynasty Warriors‘ prominent Musuo attacks, with players ability to initiate a crowd-clearing Soul Burst, or boss-dispatching Trinity Attack once a gauge has been filled to capacity. Wisely, tactics are required when dispatching the game’s more fearsome opponents- who are susceptible to specific types of elemental damage. The title’s built-in bestiary even reveals weaknesses, if gamers need additional assistance with a stubborn creature.
With a decent variety of missions- ranging from rescuing wayward adventurers, finding misplaced items, dispatching a string of boss characters and even fighting in a gladiatorial arena, trekking through each location is undeniably enjoyable. Thankfully, the developers transform most venues over time; allowing access to deeper recesses or augmenting stages with additional enemy types, in an attempt to offset fatigue. Regrettably, the process of obtaining missions isn’t as rewarding, with Zill O’ll subjecting players to stationary, often unvoiced, cut-scenes. Although this technique is quicker than the customary crawl through town, the method inhibits Trinity from delivering the type of meticulously detailed world savored by players.
Omega Force’s experience refining Dynasty Warriors‘ graphical engine is evident throughout Souls of Zill O’ll. From a fluid framerate despite dozens of on-screen characters to stages filled with well-rendered lush flora or giant phosphorescent fungi the title periodically impresses. Less successful is the translucent layer employed to give the title a handdrawn aesthetic, which periodically resembled Saran wrap covering the corners on my HDTV. Although Trinity‘s camera usually behaved, when confined to a corner, the game would frequently offer an ungainly perspective on the action. The title’s symphonic score complemented the on-screen action well, but was prone to repetition through the twenty-plus hour expedition.
As long as players aren’t diametrically opposed to gameplay which mildly recalls the crowd-control mechanics of the Dynasty Warriors franchise, Trinity: Souls of Zill O’ll can be an enjoyable endeavor. As an action oriented game, the title’s blend of combat with skill and equipment management has the capability to win over fantasy fans too impatient for a turn-based affair.