This week on JRPGs I tried for a bit, we have Trinity Trigger. Developed by FuRyu and published by Xseed Games here in the West, it follows a somewhat cliched story whilst attempting to introduce some fresh mechanics to keep things from going stale. Do they succeed? Read on and find out.
Trinity Trigger sees you inhabit the world of Trinitia, in ancient times there was a war between the Gods of Order and the Gods of Chaos. Being the lazy gits Gods usually are, they fought by choosing humans to do battle on their behalf. You take on the role of Cyan, a suspiciously average village boy who quite obviously has some form of royal heritage and are thrust into a world-wide adventure when it turns out there are assassins out to get you. I said it was cliched.
The mechanic that FuRyu have adopted in order to differentiate their game from every other mid-range JRPG is that of the titular Triggers. Triggers are adorable little sidekicks that chosen warriors can summon in order to help them fight. They can take on the form of various weapons each with their own pros, cons and, of course, skill trees. Combat is simple enough as a base concept; hack, slash, and dodge your way to victory.
The more you battle the more skill points you gain, allowing you to specialise a bit more in a particular weapon. Add in three main party members and that’s a decent degree of strategy for such a simple game.
The one downside I can see from my few hours in-game is that the AI controlling the other two characters is not great. Routinely they would remain in the big red-orange blinking path of a charging boss despite the klaxons going off and my character running for their lives and who has to heal them up? That’s right, this chump.
Another fault in combat is the procedurally generated dungeons and forests you explore; each is soulless and felt more like a series of hurdles to jump to find the next story beat than a meaningful challenge. I found myself just charging through as quickly as possible rather than spend another minute fighting whatever nonsense had just respawned behind me.
The narrative is interesting enough and the characters are charmingly drawn and voiced enough that I wanted to see what happened next but, and I may be wrong, I think the “twist”, as it were, is as plain as day due to an unfortunate cutscene choice at the beginning of the game. I’ll not spoil it but it’s hardly M. Night Shylamalan levels.
Artistically is where the game truly thrives for me, the art style is gorgeous even if this doesn’t always translate into the scenery and the anime-style cutscenes reminded me of watching the Pokémon series as a child, and I don’t mean in a nostalgic sense, rather the cutscenes seem like they’re done in an old cartoon style, whether by artistic choice or cost-cutting measure it’s hard to say.
Trinity Trigger will certainly endear itself to fans of 90s JRPGs with its aesthetic and world-building for sure but do bear in mind that emulating the 90s isn’t always a good thing in video-game land.