Trinity Trigger brought me back to simpler times. Some of my favourite moments growing up included my friend and I whipping through Secret of Mana on Super Nintendo. If there was a way my friends and I could play together, we’d be sitting right in front of the TV for hours working together to clear whatever game it was that got our attention. Later generations would include fewer cooperative titles, but Namco’s Tales of series had the holy grail for two players. JRPGs have always been one of the most beloved genres in my friend group so having them feature the option to add a second player was like a cherry on top. Inevitably, as we all got older, we had less time to play Phantasy Star Online or Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles but some of my most cherished memories include playing together with my friends.
So, lo-and-behold when it was revealed the latest from XSEED and FuRyu was going back to the renaissance of JRPGs. One of the first things you may notice is there is a considerable amount of star-producer power working on Trinity Trigger. This includes worldbuilding artist Yuki Nobuteru (Secret of Mana), character designer Raita Kazama (Xenoblade), scenario writer Yura Kubota (Octopath Traveler), and composer Hiroki Kikuta (Secret of Mana).
Chaos and Order
As protagonist Cyan, a Warrior of Chaos, your goal is to save Trinitia with Elise and Zantis, your two friends. Your party can use Triggers, creatures with the ability to transform into eight types of weapons. At one point both Gods of Order and Chaos used their champion to win only for the Arma, powerful weapons embedded across the continent were lost. Together, you will work to acquire the Weapons of the Gods and stop the Warrior of Order. As you venture out and meet your party members, you’ll see Cyan is adept at the sword, Elisa with the bow, and Zantis adept at an axe.
Your party will search out the Arma to unlock new forms for their Triggers to use in battle. Each time you visit the Arma, the process is repeated until all eight weapons are unlocked for each character. Trinity Trigger is very conventional in all the right ways, and it never oversteps. Plot rarely throws you a curveball and when it does, it may lead to nothing further down the line.
When I say Trinity Trigger goes back to the renaissance of JRPGs, I mean that it plays and feels like something from the PlayStation/PlayStation 2 era. If you’ve played Secret of Mana, then you’ll feel right at home here. The battle system is rather simple, but it works as you have a standard attack, and your weapons and items are pulled from a radial ring menu. You can also freely swap between the three characters and even call a friend over to co-op together. While your team begins with only one weapon, as you progress through the story additional weapons unlock for a total of eight. Dealing with enemies, you’ll generally need to focus on elemental weaknesses and resistances so be sure to keep an eye on them.
Combat’s a highlight in Trinity Trigger and you’ll have to focus on each weapon’s stamina meter. The meter is a way to manage your stamina, and when it depletes your damage output drops immensely, effectively making your attacks almost useless. You’ll need to recharge the meter before attempting to deal damage. To my surprise, I found this system to be engaging and it’s easily a great way to swap between your weapons as they all do something different against enemies.
Trinity Trigger is an ode to RPGs of yesteryear
Additionally, while there is no magic system per se, there are special abilities that offer buffs and specialized attacks. You’ll also find bosses come with a shield that needs to be destroyed before you can deal any damage to them. This adds a decent challenge when facing off against bosses who usually have weaknesses you can then take advantage of with your Triggers. Essentially bosses can be boiled down to trial and error and it requires some patience to figure out what works best and what doesn’t. And while not one boss, in particular, stands out as overtly challenging, each boss is easy to read so it’s not difficult to figure out what to do and when.
Additionally, weapons have augments that help them grow in power. You’ll craft new items from materials dropped from monsters and dungeons but also need to search out unique monsters for rare drops that only fall when using the correct Trigger. You’ll also find recipes by finishing sidequests or buying them from merchants.
In my roughly 25 hours spent in Trinitia, I enjoyed the locations and enjoyed exploring. Some of the side quests feel level-gated meaning that if you’re under-leveled you’ll end up in a bad situation where your party will likely not survive. And when you pair this problem with some very shaky and questionable AI, it will often lead to some baffling decisions on the AI’s decision in battle. Sometimes, the AI will be helpful and do exactly what you need it to do, other times it’ll do the opposite and throw your party into a trap.
Trinity Trigger offers up fun and sets out to deliver a worthy experience and does so well. While it rarely steps out of its comfort zone, you’re getting a solid RPG boasting some impressive talent behind the scenes. Trinity Trigger feels like it’s from a bygone era but is modernized just enough to feel like a spiritual successor to the Mana series. The addition of co-op isn’t lost on me either and I appreciate being able to play with a friend whenever they want to join in and battle with me.
[A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.]
Reviewed on: PlayStation 5