Release date: April 25, 2023
Publisher: Marvelous / XSEED
Trinity Trigger is set in a world caught in an ongoing war between Order and Chaos, each with a chosen champion fated to fight one another to the death to choose a victor. Generally, one of the chosen ones is assassinated before the duel can begin, resulting in zero changes for the world as a whole, but a pretty grim fate for our protagonist who just so happens to be the Champion of Chaos. Opening up, the plotline of the game seems to thrust a very heavy burden on the player, but will it deliver on its hefty narrative, or will Trinity Trigger be just another hack-and-slash action RPG that falls to the wayside?
The opening brings us to the home of our hero Cyan and his childhood friend, Firn. Cyan happens to be a scavenger of sorts, spelunking through local ruins called Arma in search of treasure to sell to make a modest living. The local ruins, referred to as the Gladius, are Cyan’s current mark. Making our way there, we run into a large monster for the first time, and it is here where the core gameplay loop is introduced, along with the game’s approach to boss combat.
When fighting large bosses, each one has a shield that will need broken before damage can be dealt to them. Each shield has a particular weakness to a weapon type or two. Starting with the sword, we find that we aren’t really able to make much headway – that is until we meet our first Trigger, a cute little creature named Flamme who volunteers to help us. Transforming into a more powerful sword, we wield Flamme and are finally able to make a dent in the dungeon monster’s defenses. When a shield is busted, the monster will be stunned for a while, allowing the player to damage them, but before too long the shield goes back up and the monster rampages once more. You’ll have to anticipate moves, dodge, and whittle down the shields again and again in order to finally down the creature. This is the formula for every dungeon you’ll come across in Trinity Trigger.
After exiting the first dungeon, you’ll be meeting up with more characters and story progression, explaining just why Cyan has the strange mark in his eye and what it means to be a Champion of Chaos. Learning that there are assassins after your life, you choose to leave your woodland hometown and seek out a bit more power from other Arma – the next one close by being called The Lance. This becomes the way of things – seek out the next Arma, battle the shielded boss for seven to ten minutes, and meet a few more people along the way, learning a bit more about the lore behind the battle between Order and Chaos as you go.
Players will meet a couple additional party members as the story plays out, which then unlocks local multiplayer. Allowing up to three players to share the battle, multiplayer is a wonderful way to make sure that you’re capable of dealing out max damage to bosses in this Secret of Mana-style action RPG, as the AI isn’t the greatest at doing what needs done. Each character corresponds to an element, and the Arma you’ll visit will allow those of a corresponding element to pick up a new weapon form for their Trigger once completed. This does round out what you have access to, and allows the player to change things up to find strengths and weaknesses for enemies and bosses.
Trinity Trigger does have a few systems to keep things a bit more interesting. Enemy drops, for example, can change depending on which weapon a monster is downed with. These drops are useful for the crafting system in game, which is the easiest way to get consumable items like healing potions, as well as more interesting weapon customization equipment for your Triggers. Weapon Customization can bolster stats, add defensive abilities, regenerative abilities, and more. Making sure to pick up recipes from local shops will allow you to make more items – and crafting is an easy way to use up the resources you gather while keeping the money you have to spend on the light side. Paying full price for a potion for 300, or 75 and some grass to craft it? I’ll craft it every time.
That said, healing in Trinity Trigger is a bit of a slog. Utilizing the R and L buttons, the player can call up their items or their list of Trigger weapons. The list is in a ring format, allowing the player to quickly select what they’d like to use. Items have a finite amount that can be carried at one time. Potions, for example, start with a max of ten — this becomes a bit annoying further down the line when battling Arma bosses. Keeping yourself and your team healed is a bit difficult with such a limit, but as you progress the story and unlock stronger potions that you can carry it will ease the issue of running out of consumables.
The world of Trinity Trigger is beautiful and varied – a bio-luminescent forest, unforgiving wintery mountains, and sandy windswept deserts are just a handful of the areas you’ll be adventuring through. With about twenty hours of gameplay overall, and a soundtrack that steals the show, you’ll enjoy the media aspects of the game (especially the animated cutscenes) even if the gameplay feels like a bit of a slog. Getting to know the characters and the world around you through sidequests and lore really builds upon the world, but the short run time does us no favors. Something seems to be lacking.
Trinity Trigger started with a heavy story that deepened over time, but the repetitive gameplay just feels off. Grinding through boss shields can feel like forever in some instances, and item limitations can make fights incredibly tedious. The most rewarding aspects are definitely the colorful and detailed changing environments and the game’s whimsical soundtrack. Overall, Trinity Trigger feels like a proof of concept for something that could be so much more – I’d catch this one on sale unless you’re really into action RPGs to get the most value out of your money.
Trinity Trigger copy provided by the publisher for the purposes of this review.