When it comes to modern-day gaming, most would say that there are no more unique thoughts and that everything is recycled. This sentiment can easily be believed by the number of remakes that have come out within the last few years. Now this isn’t to say remakes are a bad thing; look at the recent success of Resident Evil 4 Remake, Dead Space Remake, Metroid Prime Remastered, and Advance Wars 1+2 Re-Boot Camp. However, despite remakes arguably being some of the best games in 2023, there are contenders such as Hogwarts Legacy and Hi-Fi Rush that could win Game of the Year.
Now, this review isn’t about a game that everyone has heard of like those previously mentioned titles. In fact, most people have not heard about this game unless they search out games based on Genre or follow specific creators, composers, or writers. At PAX East 2023, we had the opportunity to meet with Xseed Games to preview Three Rings’ upcoming game, Trinity Trigger; now Trinity Trigger had previously been released in Japan in 2022, but now it is North America and soon Europe’s turn to play the game.
So you might be asking, what is so appealing about Trinity Trigger? When we look at the game, we have a nostalgic feeling towards the game based on its presented 90s-style artwork. Trinity Trigger features a star-studded group of developers including worldbuilding artist Yuki Nobuteru (Trials of Mana), character designer Raita Kazama (Xenoblade Chronicles), scenario writer Yura Kubota (OCTOPATH TRAVELER II), and composer Hiroki Kikuta (Secret of Mana, Trials of Mana).
Developer: Three Rings
Publisher: Xseed Games
Platforms: PC (Steam), Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5
Release Date: April 25th, 2023 NA / May 16th, 2023 EU
Players: 1 – 3 local multiplayer
Price: Current Gen – $69.99 USD
Trinity Trigger’s Story
A battle of gods has affected humanity. Rather than the gods continuing to fight their own battle, they have chosen humans to fight for them. During the original war, weapons from the gods fell to earth changing its landscape. In the introductory cutscene, we see a king viewing his two children. Both of these children have glowing eyes representing that they have been chosen to fight for the Gods of Chaos and the Gods of Order. After the king rushes out of the room, we wake up in the present day and are introduced to Cyan.
Cyan is the first of three playable characters and the warrior of chaos. What starts out as a normal day for Cyan turns into the start of a grand adventure. A quake is felt as Cyan works in the forest and seems to be originating from the Gladius Arma. As Cyan explores The Gladius, he runs into a dead end, however, a new pathway soon opens up as a monster breaks through the wall. This leads Cyan to an altar guarded by a Manaboar. Out of nowhere, a voice calls out asking if you need a hand. This is where players are introduced to Flamme, a Fire Trigger that transforms into a sword.
Now with a trigger of his own, Cyan must uncover who is trying to kill him with the help of Elise and Zantis. As the player looks for answers, each town the group visits seems to be having its own difficulties. Elise plans to take Cyan to Stahl to uncover how to stop the battle between the warriors of order and chaos. Along the way, Cyan and crew can choose to help villagers within each town with a variety of quests.
As far as the story goes, the plot is fairly simple. The unsuspecting hero has a fated encounter that alters the routing of their daily life; as they set out on their journey to discover what has caused this to transpire, they gain new abilities and allies. Yes, this follows the generic trope from the 90s and even Shonen animes but ultimately it just works. At no point does the story feel like a slog to get through unlike Dead Island 2.
Side quests expand the lore of each area and allow the player to get much-needed experience, Trigger Points, materials, and money. The side quest plots are enjoyable and allow you to form a deeper connection with the player’s characters and the NPCs that inhabit the world. Even searching for new Trigger weapon types feels more helpful than a repetitive tedious task.
When you look at Trinity Trigger‘s gameplay, it appears to be fairly simple. The overall gameplay may be fairly simple, but that is due to the amount of work the developers have put into the game; sometimes, it is very easy to miss something because you want to skip a dialog box and miss something important. In fact, we did not know there was a Dodge mechanic called Close Call; achieving a Close Call refills the Synchro Gauge. Additionally, we missed the explanation of the Trinity Impact attack and equipping items to be used by allies whenever necessary.
Like other JRPGs, weapon types and abilities impact enemies differently. An enemy can be immune to sword attacks or lightning attacks and it is up to the player to discover what each enemy is weak to or resilient to. These factors will appear above each main enemy’s health bar; players can consult the encyclopedia to see what each enemy can drop, its location, and its weaknesses.
Combat within the game is fairly simple, players just have to dodge attacks. In order to assist the player to dodge attacks, a red marker will indicate where special attacks will hit beforehand; these markers will fill up as the attack is cast giving players the chance to dodge them at the last minute. Bosses within the game have a clear and distinct market for their armor and health points. Once the armor is broken, the player can chip down the enemy’s health. Additionally, just like regular monsters, boss monsters have resistances and weaknesses that the player must be aware of. Switching between Arma types allows the player to fight in the best way possible.
At different Shrines, the player can restore their health, save, fast travel, and level up their triggers. Each trigger has six different abilities per weapon type (Arma). As the player levels and Triggers level, new abilities tiers are unlocked. Players can spend trigger points in order to upgrade their triggers abilities; only three abilities can be active at a single time but players can pick between which ones they want to use.
While exploring the world, players can see each character’s experience gauge, synchro gauge, and health. This helps players keep track of their abilities and how close they are to leveling. Upon leveling, the character that leveled will heal back up.
The four gameplay aspects that annoyed us the most with Trinity Trigger were the co-op system, healing, maps, and AI’s fighting style. If you would like to play the game with a friend, you will be unable to until you unlock the third character even if you only want to play two players; the game only features local multiplayer. Hopefully, a patch can come out to make the game online capable.
Our biggest complaint was with the map system. Finding your way through each area can be a headache. The Travelogue will point the player in the right direction but the marker will not show on the map until in the right area. This can make finding quest items or monster fights rather difficult and lead to running around aimlessly.
Healing. Now healing within the game is fine. Our complaint with it is that you are not always able to heal at a shrine and must rest at an inn instead. Additionally, when in combat, the game will not really make an indicator or sound when allies are getting low health. Because of this, the player must watch each character’s gauge.
This brings us to our complaint about the AI settings. When in combat, the AI will take reduced damage but will not use special abilities. The player must switch to the other character to use their abilities, switch weapons, or use their synchro abilities.
Trinity Trigger’s controls are fairly simple to understand and use. In fact, on the PlayStation 5, they almost feel too simple. Players can pull up the map using the touchpad. The L2 and R2 allows the player to switch between characters. Circle is used to roll and X is to attack. Triangle controls the player’s special attack and square activates the synchro ability. R1 allows the player to change the Trigger’s Arma and L1 is used to select items quickly; players can set an item to be shortcutted and used by the AI.
As for the game’s graphics, they are a great blend of 90s JRPGs with modern art. The game runs smoothly and does not feel clunky compared to some of its predecessors. The characters within the game have their own unique feel including the NPCs. Only the monsters feel slightly stale at times; some monsters will have a similar style design but be a different color based on their status effects. The game does feature a variety of monsters, but when you see one that has just had a visual and effect change it makes you feel underwhelmed.
The game’s music helps create an atmosphere. Some songs will cause you to relax while others will get you pumped up and ready for combat. The composition really helps set the mood. The English voice acting is on par with the Japanese, however, the single-word lines and grunts during dialog or combat can get rather annoying.
Yes, Trinity Trigger follows the 90s hero trope but that was ultimately its goal. The game looks to bring players back to a time that many consider the golden era of JRPGs and does so while blending in modern elements. The core gameplay is solid and the game is easy to just pick up and play; there are some fine-tuned gameplay mechanics that will make player’s lives easier but they don’t make it so that the game is impossible. The game’s graphics bring older gamers back to the 90s to feel the nostalgia of that golden era. Meanwhile, the game’s soundtrack sets a mood that keeps players engaged.
Although Trinity Trigger follows the 90s trope, it still tells a fun compelling story that will keep the player entertained. Players can choose to run through only the main quest line but in doing so miss out on side quests that fill out the world. The game only has four negative aspects which we discussed early. The developers could ultimately fix most of these but we don’t see that happening. You will get lost while on a quest and in a way, that’s something that was rather common during 90s JRPGs.
If you are a JRPG fan, then Trinity Trigger is a great game to consider. The fact that you can play this game through local multiplayer is great even if it takes a while to unlock, but the lack of the online option hinders it a bit. The game is currently available for $49.99 and is worth considering picking up; if you are on the fence about it, picking the game up when it’s on sale between the $20 and $40 threshold would be worthwhile. We had a lot of fun playing the game and hope you do as well.
Trinity Trigger was reviewed on a PlayStation 5 using a copy provided by XSeed Games. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here. Trinity Trigger will be available on April 25th, 2023 on Windows PC (Steam), Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5.