Review: Trillion: God of Destruction (Sony Playstation Vita)

Trillion: God of Destruction
Publisher: Idea Factory
Developer: Compile Heart
Genre: RPG/Roguelike
Release Date: 03/29/2016

Being an avid video game enthusiast nowadays means that one can easily find themselves surrounded by games that are similar to, “in the spirit of,” or an outright carbon copy of something already available. The Role Playing Game market is certainty no exception to this sad state of affairs, but every now and then a game will push itself through the crowd of spiritual successors and also-rans to present genre fans with a completely new concept, complete with new gameplay mechanics or a combination of existing mechanics that create a product completely unique and unlike anything else on the market. Compile Heart’s Trillion: God of Destruction, for better or worse, is most definitely one of these games. Throwing the core mechanics of a dating simulator, virtual pet, and dungeon crawling Roguelike into a blender, the resulting concoction is guaranteed to be a unique experience to anyone who gives it a taste, though whether or not it’s one you’ll want to come back to is an entirely different matter altogether.

The game’s narrative starts off pretty heavy, as instead of the normal fare for such games, we lead off with the depiction of the fall of Lucifer from Heaven and the initial creation of Hell as a result. That’s a pretty weighty starting point, but the game gradually shifts gears into showcasing an anime-inspired take on underworld, as we meet the main protagonist “Zeabolos,” the current King of Hell. Shortly after things get underway, Trillion, The God of Destruction (who is forged with a trillion individual hatreds, hence the name), appears at the main gates of Hell. Well, this sits not at all well with Zeabolos, who futility attempts to fight the beast, but is instead slain by it. You’d think that would be the end, but here the NPC character Faust appears and grants Zeabolos resurrection for a time in exchange for his soul. Zeabolos, weary from his wounds, must look to his six demon overlords, all of which are young maidens representing the Seven Deadly Sins, to deal with the threat of Trillion who remains at the gates. Since Zeabolos himself is on borrowed time, he’s willing to offer his throne to the maiden that can slay Trillion and save the underworld from its insatiable appetite.

Here’s where things get weird: in his grand delegation, and with the assistance of a magic ring created by Faust, the maidens are more than willing to throw themselves into the fire, or in this case, the mega sized mouth of Trillion, each believing to some extent they have what it takes to destroy the beast with a trillion hit points. Yes, that’s the other reason it’s named Trillion, it has a TRILLION hit points. This is the point in the story where things get underway proper, as you pick one of three maidens to start the game with. After its initial assault, the beast Trillion falls asleep for a set number of days. During this time, you’ll have to train, woo, and fortify the equipment of the maiden you selected in preparation of their inevitable showdown with Trillion, its trillion hit points, and it’s absolutely massive damage output.

As previously mentioned, Trillion sleeps for a set number of days, and performing any action usually takes a day, so proper time management is somewhat essential for optimal results. Training, which is carried out with a rhythmic three button press chain, is the same mechanically for each kind of training, but will yield different types of experience points, depending on the activity chosen. These points accumulate into individual pools, and certain combination of points are required to raise the statistics of the overlord in question. Additionally, upon looking at the training menu on any given day, you’ll see small icons representing other characters above certain training options. Undertaking these training options will yield more points, as you receive support from the extra characters involved, making these training exercises far more profitable, and thus desirable, to take on.

Each time you complete a training exercise with a “Great” or “Excellent” rating, you are rewarded with a training medal. Five of these medals will grant you passage into the Valley of Swords, which is a single floor, Roguelike dungeon where you can collect items of various sorts, and (if you complete it successfully) receive a considerable allotment of experience. The catch is, you’re only given one hundred and twenty turns to complete your run any time you enter the Valley of Swords, which includes exploration, enemy combat and escaping from the zone. If you can’t manage to complete the dungeon in the provided turn count, any items you may have collected become forfeit, and you are given a light “nice try” prize of some token experience points. This becomes a bit more of a concern when you consider that it often becomes necessary to exploit enemy weaknesses to inflict damage on some of them if you want to progress. While it sounds like a good idea when the game forces you to put multiple strategies into play to succeed, wasting precious turns to circle around the back of an enemy to attack because that’s the only place it will take damage gets to be frustrating in a hurry.

Another major aspect of Trillion is the building of relationships between Zeabolos and the Overlord Maidens. As the days go by, story sequences will unfold which flesh out various details about Zeabolos and the Maidens. These usually result in Zeabolos being put on the spot to answer a question, and at the end of these sequences, you will receive tokens which can be used to obtain random gifts from a large prize machine. The gifts you collect can be given to the Maidens, and in turn, raise what is known as their Affection level. Of course, there are gifts certain Maidens like and gifts they do not, and giving a Maiden a gift she isn’t particularly fond of might very well lower her affection rating; if you’re familiar with Danganronpa’s gift giving system, it’s quite similar to that. The Affection level of your Maiden isn’t just a social thing, though, as it acts as an overshield of sorts when your current Maiden is in battle, so it’s important to raise it as much as possible to give yourself an extra edge. Any damage the Maiden takes or skills she uses used are paid out from the Affection bar first, before they hit the actual life and magic bars. When the Affection bar is finally emptied, the Maiden will work with her standard hit point and magic point totals.

At the end of a game cycle (seven game days), you’ll have a chance to fight a large Mokujin which is modeled after Trillion itself. More times than not, these mock battles will not go well, but eventually, given enough time and cycles training, you’ll actually make it up to the Mokujin and actually do some damage to it. Eventually, after training for a set period of time, it will be D-Day, and the beast Trillion will wake up. The general goal is to do as much damage to it as possible with the Overlord Maiden before you either pull the Maiden out of the battle or she succumbs to the beast; either way, it will do some damage to the area before falling asleep again, at which point you can either continue training the current Maiden or move forward with a new Maiden who receives a portion of the original Maiden’s power. It’s a perpetual rinse, wash, and repeat formula that honestly, demands a good amount of patience from the player to succeed. Part of the problem here is that the training activities are the epitome of simplistic mechanically, and they are all the same. Some variety, and possibly something more like an actual mini game would be more welcome here, if only to make the experience seem more complex. The ability to explore the Valley of Swords to a greater extent would be an improvement as well; as it exists in the game now, it’s little more than a diversion, and it’s a lacking one.

With those gameplay elements lacking, all that’s left is the story and dialogue between the characters, and if you’re only so invested in that the rest of the game suffers for it. The presentation tries to carry a lot of that load, and for the most part it succeeds; the game is competently voice acted, and reading and listening to all the various dialogues will leave you well versed about all the games characters, lore, and inner workings, of which there are a lot. The in-game music also sounds perfectly fine, and fits the tone of the game well, though it doesn’t really do anything beyond that; it’s fine for the game, but nothing more. The art style and character design is nothing new or groundbreaking, but it’s well done and presented, and for the most part the physical presentation of the game is well done for what it is.

The major problem with Trillion, all told, is that it’s a complicated game with a very precise premise, and unless you become enamored with the story and characters, it’s hard to stay invested based on what your given to drive the game with. Training for the appropriate skill points and allocating them accordingly will most likely see you getting out a pen and paper for assistance to appropriately plan out how to do exactly what you want to do. Collecting money and items in the Valley of Swords dungeon makes you feel like a contestant on Supermarket Sweep, especially when one wrong step can literally forfeit the trip entirely. Then, of course, there is the focus of the game, fighting Trillion. While the Mokujin battles simulate the experience somewhat, the actual Trillion is a different story; while enough persistence and time investment will likely see you win eventually, there’s so much complicated time investment involved in trying to level up your characters so they don’t get obliterated in a single hit that it’s hard to know if the experience is worth it. It’s not a bad idea, but it’s one that will appeal to a very specific sort of gamer, and leave everyone else more than a bit frustrated.

Short Attention Span Summary:
Trillion: God of Destruction is a very unique game that is quite unlike anything you’ve likely ever played. It presents itself well through likeable character and art designs, as well as decent voice acting, and it’s an easy game to like aesthetically. Unfortunately the positive feelings evoked by the uniqueness of the game are considerably diminished due to its limited gameplay variety. The story is what one would really commit to Trillion for, and while it’s interesting, there are better stories to behold in games with better gameplay mechanics. Those who love games with romance elements and heavy stat management will definitely find something to love here, but everyone else may find it too obtuse or awkward to play for long.

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