At PAX East, I had a chance to try out an Action RPG named Trinity Trigger. Part of the game's major drawing point is the potential for co-op gameplay in a genre that usually favors single-player experiences. With the release of Trinity Trigger, I've had time to play the game both single-player and a little bit of co-op, although this review was written with single-player in mind. I wanted to also give a huge thanks to XSEED Games for allowing us a chance to review Trinity Trigger! On to the story as it's the simplest to cover.
Trinity Trigger centers around an almost eternal war between two opposing gods, Order and Chaos. Realizing that the fight is beyond the gods, they have designated warriors to fight on their behalf. Whoever wins among the two Warriors of Order and Chaos will win for their god respectively, thus ending the war. However, there are those who wish to prevent the world from falling under both Order and Chaos, fighting for Harmony instead. If there is no representative of Order and Chaos before their fated duel, like if one were to die, the war is delayed until another representative is found.
Cyan finds himself as the Warrior of Chaos yet is unaware of its legacy nor the truth behind his title. After his sibling's life is threatened after surviving an assailant's attack, Cyan decides to leave so as not to endanger his sister's life. Elise joins him, a member of the very same Harmony who wishes to prevent the war, in order to find a way to end the gods' conflict without bloodshed. Soon after, the knight Zantis joins them and serves under the god of Order. Despite this, he is devoted to protecting Cyan for personal reasons. With the game's core trio established, the full game of Trinity Trigger begins to open up.
One of Trinity Trigger's main selling points was the inclusion of co-op. Up to three players can control any of the three protagonists, Cyan, Elise, and Zantis which is one of the few games I've played to incorporate co-op in a Japanese action RPG. It made me feel nostalgic for the PlayStation Portable games where there was an ARPG game with multiplayer capabilities released almost every month. The difference between Trinity Trigger and games like White Knight Chronicles is that the co-op is in real-time. Games like Diablo are a great example of this and it is a blast exploring new areas this way.
Multiplayer co-op unlocks as the player unlocks Zantis a third of the way in the game. While it takes about roughly an hour or two, it does take a while to build up on co-op. The best way I can recommend having the most fun out of Trinity Trigger's co-op is to host the game via a discord call and have people tune in to the action when it calls for it. I hadn't experienced the "Discord call with friends" experience quite yet, but playing with a co-op partner felt more like two friends chilling on a couch watching your best friend play their game.
As of this writing, I hadn't finished the game although I can imagine I am reaching the game's climax, so I'll lay off on spoilers. When the big plot reveal happens and Cyan's fate is brought to light, the game starts to hit its cliches. The protagonist is from an estranged family? Check. A sibling wants to kill him because she's here to defeat Chaos? Also, check. Deception and apparently kind people revealing themselves to be jerks? Of course. None of these are negative, in fact, it's when the game is self-aware of its antics does it become a treat and breaks away from the monotony.
Trinity Trigger likes to troll the player a lot and it's something I'm sure the devs at FuRyu got a chuckle at. At some point, mimic chests appear, which deal way more damage than the average enemy, poison a party member, and are hard to kill. Each map has a chest counter that tells you how much treasure is available. That means if a map has four chests in total, yet you see four in front of you and you already opened three, at least all of them may be mimics because that last chest may be near the exit. Bonus points for putting a treasure chest out of the way hidden behind traps only for it to be a fake chest.
There are also signs located in various overworlds that will warn the players that "experienced hunters" are only allowed past a certain point. Naturally, the foolish player (me) would look at the sign, realize they steamrolled through everything so far (they didn't, they used a lot of potions), and say "Hey that sign doesn't scare me because I (can't read) am not scared!"
Then a large giant snake appears and proceeds to one-shot the party, giving the player a deserved Game Over. This is also the game's first cruel lesson to the player that there's a lot of backtracking in Trinity Trigger. There are many side quests that the player is encouraged to partake in as clearing them will unlock recipes. These recipes are for recovery items as well as augments that can be slotted to weapons and armor for bonus effects. It's in the player's better interest to take advantage of the recipes as they will make the grinding process a lot easier.
There are various augments that increase defense, health, damage, crit rate, and armor break as well as increase the amount of exp and money players gain from each monster defeat. The player can still enjoy Trinity Trigger without investing too much in the triggerite and crafting mechanics, as the main core of the game is obtaining various weapon forms. By approaching alters at different shrines, which serve as mini-dungeons, there's a chance for each party member to gain a new weapon form. At first, Cyan has a sword, Elise has a bow, and Zantis has an Axe. Not only can each character obtain the other's starting weapon, but there are many more to obtain. Dual swords, an energy gun, gauntlets, lances, and many more are available each with their own enemy strengths and weaknesses.
What I enjoyed the most about Trinity Trigger was the story as well as the characters themselves. I think most games make too much of an effort to make the most "annoying" or "archetypical" characters and Trinity Trigger doesn't have any of that. Even Zantis, a character archetype who has the most potential to be an "annoying dudebro" turns out to be a noble guy. Elise, who may also appear haughty is actually kind to Cyan and Zantis (and is haughty towards everyone else who rubs her the wrong way). Cyan, despite being voiced by Joker himself, avoids being "main character syndrome" until the plot demands it from him.
Even down to the story itself, Trinity Trigger is very anti-good and anti-evil. Chaos and Order doesn't mean "evil" and "good" respectively as too much Order means everything's the same. Too much Chaos and people become monsters. Despite being a "warrior of Chaos," Cyan is benevolent by nature and helps out others in need. The representative warrior of Order, however, has all the markings of an "antagonist" despite "fighting for good."
Another neat attribute to Trinity Trigger, which was a huge reason why this review took a bit long, was because of the sheer number of voiced dialogue. There are many side missions available to the player as they progress through the story, as I mentioned. However, each side story has its own story and its own unique objectives. Some give the player the only way to access all weapons for all party members. There are four bonus story DLC missions that each provide insight into each of the three protagonists and their motives. There is a bonus fourth one directly related to one of the major characters in the plot, but there are tons of worldbuilding in this game.
Early on, the trio will run into a group of apparent bandits. As it turns out, they are running from the imperial inquisitors and are trying to do their best to live their lives. The reason for the hunt is hinted at in one of the bonus story DLC chapters, but the bandits themselves also have their own individual side quests. Even Cyan's younger sister from the beginning of the game has a side quest of her own. Every time I felt ready to progress through the story, there was always something new and interesting to achieve in terms of a side quest.
There's a small town that has been inflicted with madness and dances jovially and festively 24/7. While they don't kill you for messing up their little dancing parade (unlike the mad windmill women in Elden Ring), some of the villagers do have side quests that offer insight into this small little town. Of course, the player can just breeze through every town they come across on their journey, but taking the player's time to "smell the roses" brings more out of the total experience in Trinity Trigger. With that said, the combat is a mixed bag.
I've had fun unlocking the new weapons as they were made available. Using weapons in unique ways to uncover hidden paths was a huge part of the fun. There's an energy pistol that shoots ricocheting bullets which explode on impact. This is used to solve some of the overworld's puzzles, like shooting a bomb that's just out of sight yet within range for a trick shot. Fighting enemies are just as average as I'd expect it to be, however. Each weapon has three trigger arts that can be chained together to form a combo. Some arts are weaker than others but may provide buffs.
There's a blue synchro meter above the player's head which doubles as their stamina. When it gets to gray, attacks will deal significantly less damage. To restore synchro, the player will need to either roll into an oncoming attack or wait. Some weapons, like the dual swords and gauntlets, may be weaker than the bigger weapons, but drain the synchro meter far less. This is sometimes important for boss fights where breaking an enemy's armor and stunning them will prove invaluable. There's little to no variation of this combat and once the player has found a style that suits them, it becomes second nature.
Aside from its relatively basic gameplay, Trinity Trigger has a lot to explore and enjoy, with a cast of characters both in-game and voice talent that I've grown accustomed to. Some of the later challenges become a battle to see if the player is well stocked on restorative items. Entering a dungeon without being fully stocked on items will make things unnecessarily challenging although, before every major fight, there's a save point that restores everyone's health. Regardless, there has been the occasional "cheap death" that has been negated by simply being prepared.
Trinity Trigger is a solid ARPG experience with a pretty good plot, and characters that help drive the plot and make me care for them, and the multiplayer co-op is a nice bonus. While it takes a while for things to get rolling, Trinity Trigger is a fun social game that's just as much enjoyable as it is playing solo. Just be sure to set some time for this one, as there is quite a bit of content. The often repetitive gameplay doesn't burn itself out in bursts, which is perfect for playing this game to the finish.
Trinity Trigger is now available on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Windows PC