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Trinity Universe – Review

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Trinity Universe - Review 1

Trinity Universe, released by Nippon Ichi Software America for English distribution a few months back, is a sort of updated successor to Cross Edge, a game that I have recently made a number of comments about due to its disappearance from existence. Unlike Cross Edge however, this game does not have an insane number of characters, and more importantly, is one of the first games by NISA that has shown character such as Etna and Flonne in 3D rather then as 2D. Is the game good? Read on for my review of Trinity Universe for the PlayStation 3.

A myriad of things drift to this place. Rumors say all things in the universe eventually end up here. UFOs, sushi, libraries, pirate ships… sometimes even whole planets arrive.

This place is referred to as the ‘Netheruniverse’. Demons loot these objects locked in orbit. Empyria is under the invisible thumb of a demon… Nobody is paying attention to the increase in objects… Today, a new object is welcomed by the Netheruniverse.

The above quote basically summarises the backstory of the game, you play within the universe called Empyria, where random objects start to drift towards the land mass which people live on. A majority of these are seemingly harmless such as cat ears and sushi, but others such as libraries, schools and ancient ruins run the risk of crash landing. The being supporting this world from destruction is known as the Demon God Gem, who is seemingly culled off at the beginning of the story. The story however is not linear, but instead branches off into two different paths, each with a different main character and storylines, at least for the most part.

The first path is the Demon Dog King storyline where you play as Kanata, alongside the characters Tsubaki (Original), Pamela (Atelier series), Etna (Disgaea series) and Prinny (Almost every Nippon Ichi series) and focuses on Kanata escaping his destiny of becoming the next Demon God Gem and going on adventures whilst catering to the other characters needs. The second story is the Valkyrie storyline which focuses on Rizelea (Original), Lucius (Original), Violet (Atelier series) and Flonne (Disgaea series) and is about Rizelea attempting to get Kanata back to his original destiny in order to protect the beings on Emperia.

The first storyline I took was the Valkyrie path, and I would have to say that it is decent at best, it was spread out into 13 chapters which each consisting of a few events, battles and one main dungeon to explore. Some of them were good and contributed to the storyline, however the first few were just getting the characters into your party whilst the following ones were both parties clashing to get the other one to fold and follow their orders. This was okay, but I would have loved to see more in the storyline. I am about half way through the Demon Dog King path and it is proving to be much more enjoyable, mainly because the storyline seems a bit more structured, and there is the presence of Etna and the Prinny Squad, along with their fourth wall breaking comedy which is always a laugh.

The characters are as mentioned above, alongside four optional characters, Miyu, a managraphics artist who you meet early on and is really hesitant, Recit who has a thing against people throwing away receipts, Mizuki, a not so assassin-like assassin and a fourth one which is present in the storyline but unlocked after getting the true end on both pathways. Generally, all the main characters either retain their previous charms (Yay for Prinnys!) or alternatively, have clashing personalities such as a valkyrie teaming up with a dark hero and a naive king teaming up with an intellegent care-taker, it is simply for their personalities to clash, and hey, it works!

Graphics wise, this is one of the first games released by NISA that really has a significant 3D component in it. For most of the primary interface, it still retains its 2D charm with the character portraits utilizing a new system which makes all the characters appear to have realistic movements such as breathing and blinking, as well as near-perfect lip-syncing, at least in my opinion. The other menus are almost similar to the system used by other games such as Record of Agarest War and Cross Edge, only significantly better then the two with no more messy interface crap. An interesting menu component is the netheruniverse map which shows a fully 3D display of the planet surrounded by all the items surrounding the planet and then you can see if they provide events, dungeon opportunities or nothing.

The dungeon crawling aspect only shows either Kanata or Rizelia depending on whose path you chose, with the other characters only appearing during the battle sequence. The dungeon designs are overall good and work well with the type of dungeon they are supposed to be, but I do think with the heavy emphasis on dungeon crawling, they would have chosen just a few more themes for the dungeons, to keep things fresh. In-battle character designs are okay, and I wasn’t expecting them to be Square Enix like graphics, and they were overall appropriate and show good animation skills. It makes me curious to how much further they could have made the designs, since the character portraits are really good.

Trinity Universe - Review 2Trinity Universe - Review 3The trophy art for the game is also very trophy for those that care about that thing, it is a good mixture between colourful designs and/or character art. It is evident that they went for visual flashyness instead of just a few random images put together.

Overall through, I will really pleased with how they did the overall design of this game.


Not exactly the opening, but consists a good sample of character voices, the opening cinematic/music and gameplay descriptions

You like the opening theme? Well I hope you do because this song will be blaring at you almost every single moment you are not in a dungeon or shopping. This song is overused to the max and whilst it is a good song to listen to, there is a time where it can feel like they are just pushing the song onto you. However, that is why there is a mute button for things like that. The other music in the game is varied again, however overall suits the mood. For some reason, I really do like the music for when you have to escape the dungeon before it drifts. Voice acting is also pretty good, however one small complaint is that during the dungeon crawls, characters will randomly scream out phrases, some of which seem repetitive.

The gameplay is what you would expect of a standard dungeon crawler, you run around a random dungeon, collect items, defeat monsters and progress through the storyline. The battle system used is pretty good, being similar to the system that Xenosaga used with hitting the square, triangle and X buttons to form combos and try to get the most damage alongside the highest combo count. This works well, but in the end, you could fall into the same comfort zone I did by using the same characters through the whole game (In my case: Rizelia, Lucius, Miyu and Flonne for the first playthrough) and learning all their combos. This gets harder later on, when they force you to battle with the other characters, that may still be level 8 which is a difficulty level in itself.

Besides dungeon crawling, there is also a synthesis system similar to the one in Cross Edge where you collect items and synthesis books and create the items. There are also several other systems that are interesting to look into such as a:

  1. Monster Collesseum – Gains you EXP, money and stat increasing items.
  2. Meteorites – Attack to a ring to gain big stat boosts.
  3. Managraphics – A really interesting system where you can decorate your weapons with designs called managraphics which give them properties and give the attacks different designs (So if you use a Sakura design, sakura petals will come out of the weapon upon attacking).
  4. Gallery – Like most of these games, there is a lot of gallery art to unlock!

This game has a good replayability factor. First off, upon the completion of the game the first time around, you can go into a New Game + where you can keep all weapons, armor and a few other factors, and go through the other storyline path at an increased or same difficulty level. Each path has multiple endings, with the second path taken enabling you to go down the true end, which seems to unlock a new playable character + a much more satisfying and challenging ending, and fortunately it is much easier to get then the insane one in Cross Edge!

Personally, this was a good game to spend a few days playing, unfortunately, unlike other games such as Disgaea, it just didn’t get me as hooked as them. However, this game is a decent step up from Cross Edge, and it was worth the purchase. Besides that however, what NISA has given us, is a game that brings some of our favourite GUST and Nippon Ichi characters into 3D in English, and I am personally glad they did!

Score

Storyline: 8
+ Multiple storylines.
+ Not so heavy on the characters.
+ Comedy
– Sometimes it just goes off track.

Chraracters: 8
+ A good cast of characters with conflicting personalities
+ Prinnys!
+ Each storyline path has their own characters.
+ All characters get some decent development.
– Optional characters fall to the back once recruited, with very little input into the whole storyline.

Graphics: 7
+ Some of our beloved GUST and Nippon Ichi characters in 3D
+ Adequate interface
+ Good presentation of the netheruniverse.
+ Character designs are well animated.
+ Great trophy designs.
– Dungeon level designs seem overused and uninspiring after a few runs.

Music: 8
+ Voice acting top-notch
+ Some good tracks overall
– The opening theme is well overused.

Gameplay: 9
+ Battle system is well used.
+ Synthesis system is fun and requires actual hunting for the items.
+ Search tools are a bit harder to use then in Cross Edge.
+ A lot of little features that make it a worthwhile play.
– Not as much strategy as I would have liked.

Replayability: 9
+ New Game+ with multiple difficulty levels
+ Two story paths.
+ Unlockable True End
+/- True End easier to unlock, but little information given ingame on how to unlock.

Personal Opinion: 8

Overall: 8

Due to bandwidth issues, images will not be included until the 10th, apologies but they are not uploading well.

Sam
Sam
Founder of The Otaku's Study. I have been exploring this labyrinth of fandom these last fifteen years, and still nowhere close to the exit yet. Probably searching for a long time to come.

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