What sacrifices are willing to be made?
There comes a time during the lifespan of a video game publisher where inevitably it seems they try to push out something new. Trinity: Souls of Zill O’ll is that “something new” that Tecmo Koei took a gamble upon. No, the series isn’t new in Japan, but to us in North America, it certainly appeared out of thin air. But even for those fans of the series, which last saw a Zill O’ll game for the PSP years ago. As it stands, Souls of Zill O’ll released in North America in February of 2011.
In Zill O’ll, you take control of the half-elf Areus, who is seeking revenge on man who murdered his mother. He shortly meets up with companions Dagda and Selene and becomes involved in a quest to save the day from evil. Souls of Zill O’ll does nothing new with the whole good vs. evil plotline, and it’s, frankly, a rather weak narrative. There are a few twists along the journey, and the ending is pretty cool, but it is otherwise your run of the mill plotline.
With that said, Trinity: Souls of Zill O’ll has some of the best action RPG gameplay that I’ve ever had the pleasure to experience. Koei is known for its great successes with its Warriors series, whether it be Samurai, Dynasty, or even Gundam (among a few others). So it is no surprise that the action aspect of Zill O’ll feels so good. Players map abilities to square, triangle, and circle (and you can map two to each button). Then, combat consists of hitting the buttons in whichever order you feel best; or you could just slash your way through, Dynasty Warriors style. The combat is very standard, but it works well. As an additional perk, Areus & Co. are able to use a trinity attack once the meter is filled, unleashing a devastating attack capable of falling gigantic foes. Enemies in Zill O’ll also respond to different attacks. Some creatures display weak points, which the player can exploit to deal massive damage. Others have special resistances, qualities, and attacks of which the player should be wary of to leave the battle alive. Also, each of the three main characters (which you can interchange to in battle) have capabilities that make them specifically useful in certain situations. For example, Selene can reach places that neither Areus nor Dagda can; so those archers that you couldn’t reach are now able to be defeated without the use of magic.
The story is told on top of an overarching map similar to Dragon Age. Players choose a destination to travel to and click on it to make it there. Quests and missions can be accepted in towns and identified on the map (usually). Quests generally varied from kill quests to retrieve quests, to escort quests, totaling over 70 entries. The game itself offers approximately 50 hours of gameplay (I believe I earned a platinum trophy in about 75-80 hours).
The last bit of criticism I would like to incorporate into this review is how putrid the voice acting was. Sometimes, I am absolutely baffled by the abysmal quality of voice acting in games. While this isn’t quite on the level of Arc Rise Fantasia, it’s certainly one of the worst I’ve heard in the last decade of gaming.
Now, I feel like I need to do a bit of a detailed re-cap here. Trinity: Souls of Zill O’ll is a culmination of things that are both awesome and terrible in gaming. The combat is fun and addicting, but the story and reasoning behind it fall way flat on its face. The incessant amount of enemies required to battle can also force the combat into a stale state, especially with the length of the game. Atrocious voice acting tops the disappointment with a very sour, probably rotten cherry.
But even through all that, I sincerely enjoyed this game. The action RPG elements worked well (even when overused), and I loved clearing dungeon after dungeon. And while the story wasn’t particularly breathtaking – or even very good – I grew to enjoy some of the characters, and the ending was at least interesting. With a multitude of varying quests at your disposal, it is easy to take breaks in the story/regular gameplay to complete a few. Lastly, the variety of weapons lends itself to the large amount of combat by at least giving the player new ways to defeat enemies (and, if nothing else, some cool looking blades).
It’s tough to rate this particularly high, but know it can be an enjoyable endeavor.