When you get to a battle that is manageable (which to be honest is about 95% of your battles) you'll find that combat isn't nearly as bad as Cross Edge, which isn't saying too much, but it is a definite improvement. This is one of the times where I wish Gust would throw everyone out of the office while they get to designing the combat UI. In it's current state it's bland and confusing, opting to use the PS3 face buttons to determine what type of attack you are using. The combat itself relies on the action point system which stores unused points for the next round of combat. Think of rollover minutes on a cellular plan and that should give you the basic idea of how the AP system works. Thankfully the grid placement system of Cross Edge was completely sacked. Instead there is the awkward magic system that requires a large amount of AP to use spells. Spells range from level 1 which can be used with the simple tap of the circle button, or you can charge the circle button for more powerful magic which will require more AP. Some spells in the game are quite powerful, like the Release Mana spell which allows you to use graphics that can be placed on the weapons for special effects like hit point regeneration for the whole team, while others are for the most part are useless and never work, like putting the enemies to sleep or lowering their hit percentage. There are other nuances to combat as well, like chaining your character's actions to increase the damage output and to increase various stats over the course of the fight like your luck or agility. It's a lot to take in and thankfully there is a very handy encyclopedia available in game that will fill you in on everything (provided you've reached the part in the story where they taught you the subject).
Outside of combat there are a myriad of things you can do to augment your character's stats. This ranges from upgrading weapons with various materials found in dungeons, to fashioning accessories with various materials found in dungeons. Yeah, I just repeated myself and, yeah, there are a ton of things you can make, and all the materials come from the same place. It's kind of silly that there are so many different things to change the stats of your characters and yet it feels like you accomplish nothing by doing so. I felt more progress coming from naturally leveling up my characters than from outfitting them with an asinine amount of pieces of equipment. Later on these augments are a bit more welcome as they actually have some bearing when going up against some of the end-game bosses.
Once you finish a playthrough with Kanata or Rizelea you are encouraged to play through it again since the characters are different though the gameplay is pretty much identical between the two main characters. Kanata offers an easier playthrough and is recommended for beginners while Rizelea is big on the whole character augmentation aspect of the game. A typical run through the game takes between 20-30 hours, which is a bit short but combining the two stories puts you closer to 40-50 hours with scenes that cross over being irrelevant since you've already experienced them and can simply skip through.
Trinity Universe is a definite improvement over Cross Edge and overall is a decent title. I just wish it had a better battle system instead of having so much emphasis placed on making your character stupidly over-powered. The dungeon crawling gets old quite quickly but thankfully they aren't terribly long excursions into boredom. The character interactions are what make the game tolerable even though the overall story is kind of a bore but is kept light with a good dose of humor. I found myself enjoying the characters much more than the actual gameplay just because it was far too convoluted just get a party up and running. I attempted to go at the game straight on without any modifications and found myself hitting a brick wall around the fourth chapter that left me level grinding for a significant amount of time. Once I gave in to the character modding I had a much easier time and flew through the rest of the game. Except for when I ran in to one of those random strong enemy encounters, then I just ran for my life right out of the dungeon. If you've got some spare scratch, this isn't a half bad pick up in a summer that is quite light on PS3 RPGs, but otherwise, this one is for the NIS faithful.
More On:Trinity Universe
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
Trinity Universe isn't quite the shining star I was hoping it would be. A complicated character augmentation system and a bland sense of exploration keep this adventure from being truly stellar.
Page 2 of 2