Dark, gritty and willing to take chances, Trillion: God of Destruction is an interesting strategy/RPG hybrid that sometimes struggles to find an identity but still serves up a memorable experience. Trillion won't be for everyone, but fans of JRPG or strategy games should give this one a chance.
I missed out on Trillion: God of Destruction when it released for the PlayStation Vita, but anyone who read Richard's review of it will know he was a big fan of the game despite some of its flaws. I came away sharing many of his feelings towards it now that I have had a chance to spend some time with Trillion on the PC, which releases today.
To its credit, Trillion tries really hard to be innovative here. At its core, Trillion is basically just one huge boss fight. A boss fight where this boss has... you guessed it, 1,000,000,000,000 hit points. Yeesh. To say that the odds are overwhelming right out of the gates would be a massive understatement, but having to build up your party in order to take down a neigh unbeatable boss in battle is the stuff RPGs are built upon.
There is some serious Disgaea in this title's DNA, which makes sense given the development team behind it. There are some really heavy themes here, as you watch characters you come to care about die, including our primary protagonist Zeabolos - except he is given a last minute pass from a mysterious woman named Faust. When you first face Trillion, there is no hope at beating the monster. You can only hope to chip away at his ridiculous life total before he inevitably wins. This sets up the rougelike loop of Trillion: God of Destruction.
The gameplay comes in two phases. You have the combat, and you have the rest periods between combat. Calling these phases of calm before the storm 'restive' is a bit of a misnomer, because you will want to spend that time training your character up. Of course, too much training can backfire as well, if your character gets too fatigued injury can occur. These periods of brief downtime can also be used to help further relations between characters as well. However, the grim reality of the story comes to fruition during the ensuing combat.
Grid and turn-based, combat plays out as something of a tactics game. It has a very puzzle-like quality that rather reminds me of the strategy/roguelike game Guided Fate Paradox (which I was a huge fan of as well). Once your character dies, some of their experience and statistical gains carry over to the next character. This creates a sense of progression despite the overwhelming odds. With nearly a dozen different endings, there is a lot of replay value to be had here, and the gameplay cycle is addicting. It plays out longer than 'one more turn', but it has that same kind of addictive quality to it.
Where Trillion: God of Destruction might become divisive is in its lack of identity. In trying to carve out something completely unique, the game could be something of a challenge for players to come to terms with. There are a lot of menus to work through, especially during the rest periods which have a simulation-like quality to them. There is no doubt that this pattern off training and interacting with others can grow somewhat repetitive. Practice battles prep you for what is essentially the same big boss fight over and over again as well. I found the challenge to be rewarding, but I can also easily see how it might not be everyone's cup of tea.
Also at odds with the identity is the rather grim overall storyline and how it is somewhat in contrast with the bright, cartoon-like visuals. Mind you, the visuals are right in-line with a lot of other releases by Idea Factory and Compile Heart, but the tone of Trillion: God of Destruction is far darker than most of their games, and the somber tone of the story and events seems at contrast with the vivid graphic style. Thankfully the presentation looks good, and it sounds even better with some seriously catchy tunes and some solid voice acting.
If you come into Trillion: God of Destruction expecting a typical JRPG, you will likely be disappointed. There are some deep systems at play here, but they can be learned rather easily and once you get the hang of them, you can focus on the game's primary progression loop. To that end, this JRPG/strategy/roguelike mashup was an experience that I enjoyed enough to see several of the endings through. Trillion: God of Destruction is a really unique game, and for that reason alone I recommend giving it a chance if you are a fan of the above genres.
Idea Factory International
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Article by Nick