Trillion: God of Destruction

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation Vita
Genre: RPG/Strategy
Publisher: Idea Factory International
Release Date: March 29, 2016 (US), April 1, 2016 (EU)


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PS Vita Review - 'Trillion: God of Destruction'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on March 28, 2016 @ 1:45 a.m. PDT

Trillion: God of Destruction is a strategy RPG where you change the tide of battle through rigorous training, forging strong bonds, and making painful sacrifices, all to stop Trillion from consuming the Underworld.

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Trillion: God of Destruction follows the story of Supreme Overlord Zeabolos, who's the strongest of all overlords and descended from Satan himself.  He's a relaxed and reliable ruler who controls with a velvet fist, but this changes when a monster named Trillion appears. The monster decimates Zeabolos' lands, slaughters his soldiers, and almost kills him. He's saved only by making a deal with a girl named — no, I'm not kidding —Faust. She revives him and offers him a chance: Lend his power to one of his subordinate overlords so one of them can slay Trillion. Once it's defeated, Faust gets Zeabolos' soul, and the heroine of Zeabolos' choice takes over as overlord. Naturally, Zeabolos agrees, and the battle begins.

The team who worked on Trillion includes a number of ex-Disgaea staff, and it shows. From wacky overlords to anime humor, Trillion might as well be a Disgaea game. It's goofy with hints of seriousness, but it also tends to repeat jokes too often, with several characters never progressing beyond being one-note jokes. Still, it has a charming cast, and the oddly grim atmosphere offsets the over-the-top humor reasonably well.

The bulk of your time in Trillion is spent training your heroines to take on Trillion. You choose a single heroine (later, you'll swap to others) and decide on her training methods. Every day, you can choose one type of training that provides experience points you can spend to level up the character's skills, stats and weapons. However, you have to balance this with letting them rest and occasionally spending time doing something they enjoy. Most of the time, what you do amounts to choosing from a menu and watching it play out. Occasionally, you get random events, but likewise, they mostly boil down to picking an option and getting rewarded or punished. The game runs on a time limit,every action takes a day, and when you run out of time, you must fight Trillion.

Once in a while, the game delves into something that resembles traditional gameplay. Trillion has a turn-based grid-movement combat system that is similar to Shiren the Wanderer and Nippon Ichi's Z.H.P titles. The two major types of gameplay are training fights against other heroines and the Valley of Swords, and the gameplay is similar for both. You have HP, MP and Affection Points. As long as you have Affection Points, you won't take damage or use MP, and anything that drains from either is instead taken from Affection Points. This provides a substantial defensive boost for your character and allows you to use powerful attacks without risking HP or using MP. Characters move in Shiren style, so every time your character moves, one of the enemy also moves. Leveling up your character or seeing certain events unlocks special attacks, which can be further leveled up. They never get too complex, but it's essential to find an attack to cover every situation.

The training fights are effectively simple boss fights that serve as a source of XP and to gauge how well your heroine has been trained. You battle an opponent, and winning gets you some bonus XP and perhaps a skill. The Valley of Swords is designed to resemble a Shiren-style dungeon. The dungeons are randomly generated, you have a certain number of turns to complete it, and you must defeat monsters and collect items. Fail to exit before your turns are up, and you lose the earned XP. Rush through, and you'll leave behind items that are essential in the fight against Trillion. The Valley of Swords is neat, but it loses its appeal after you've seen it once.

Trillion is the boss of the game, and it certainly lives up to that expectation. You fight with the same grid-based combat system, but it takes on a new dimension in the boss fight. Trillion launches countless attacks at your heroine while also throwing mobs to distract and/or damage her on her way. In essence, Trillion battles are more about positioning and making proper use of resources than they are about stats. Almost all of Trillion's attacks are foreshadowed. The grid shows a highlighted area where the attack will land, and you can move to avoid it. The closer you get to Trillion, the less free space there is and the more difficult it becomes to attack while avoiding attacks. One you're up close, it's a near-constant dodging game as you figure out how to deal damage without getting crushed, poisoned, blasted by a laser, or an even worse fate.

There are a few advantages in your favor. You can bring Devil Envoys into the fight; these weaker allies are automated but come in a variety of types, such as ranged or melee-focused. They're not the most useful, but they can help keep the trash mobs off your character. On the other hand, those same mobs can be an advantage. Killing one gives you an extra turn. Killing multiple in a single turn allows you to take more than one action in a row. Trillion fights are about balancing what you can do for the maximum effectiveness. Is it worth using a spell to kill multiple enemies in a single turn, or is it better to avoid them and save that extra action for later? As long as you have Affection Points, your heroine can retreat from battle and train for another day, but each time you do this, you have less time to train. Run out of Affection Points, and you're on your last life.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about Trillion is that it's a game about sacrifice. You're eventually going to lose a fight against Trillion, and when you do, the character you're training is dead. With her dying breath, she'll pass her power to one of the other heroines and sacrifice herself to hinder Trillion in some way, such as putting up a barrier to prevent Trillion from attacking so the next heroine has more time to train. Finishing off Trillion is certainly going to involve going through multiple heroines. It adds a level of tension and stress that I wasn't expecting, especially since losing feels pretty bad. There are some potential bright spots near the end of the game, but you've got put in effort to see them, and you must first send a lot of overlords to an untimely demise.

If there's one major flaw with Trillion, it's the controls. The grid-based movement is awkward, the controls are all over the place, and the simple act of moving around involves some finicky button combinations. On more than one occasion, an attempt to move diagonally was misread; it's a minor issue in most games, but it's a serious flaw in a title where one misstep is the difference between Trillion blasting you in the face with a death laser or missing entirely. Once you play enough, it's easier to get the hang of what you're doing, but it gives a bad first impression, and it never feels quite natural. Most Shiren-style games don't have this issue, so I'm not sure why Trillion did, but it's one of the spots where the game could've used some more polish.

Trillion isn't a bad game, but it's limited. The title feels like it was made on a shoestring budget, and that's  basically the root of most of Trillion's flaws. It's a fun game once you put some time into it, but in essence, it feels like one great boss fight bookended by some comedy and very basic training. The act of training quickly becomes repetitive, and it feels like you're grinding through the same things to reach the fun parts. In a lot of ways, Trillion feels like something you'd download for $15 instead of feeling like a $40 retail product.

Perhaps nowhere is this more apparent than the production values. Visually, Trillion is an unimpressive game. Most of the tale is conveyed with static sprites and dialogue boxes. The various training montages don't have any fancy animations. The combat graphics are serviceable but unexceptional, and none of it really stands out. The soundtrack and voice acting is similarly workmanlike. Occasionally, the game went above and beyond and provided some neat cut scenes, but that's about the best production values you'll get.

Trillion: God of Destruction has a boatloads of flaws but still manages to be fun. When you get to the core of the game, the battles against Trillion, it's a lot of fun. It's just that you have to do a lot of busywork to get there, and the battles are about the only engaging part of the gameplay. Otherwise, you're mostly there for the Disgaea-style humor and characters. The game does what it sets out to do, and while it's tough to say it's worth the full $40, the game is about a single really fun boss battle, and it does exactly that — nothing more, nothing less.

Score: 7.5/10

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