Trillion: God of Destruction Vita Review
You would be forgiven for thinking that Trillion: God of Destruction was a game made by the Disgaea team: at first glance, the game bears a borderline perfect resemblance to Nippon Ichi’s flagship RPG series thanks to its Anime-influenced character designs consisting of demonic characters both adorable and provocative. Even the music shares similar beats with Disgaea’s Tim Burton-inspired compositions, and at this point all that’s needed is an appearance by a Prinny.
But with no demonic penguins in sight and a closer look at the development team, it soon becomes apparent that Trillion does not officially belong in the Disgaea universe, although it has a lot more in common with the series than its aesthetics; created by a team of former staff members, Trillion is the debut title in Compile Heart’s newly created non-Neptunia franchise, which is sure to cause even further confusion for Disgaea fans down the line. Visual similarities aside, Trillion is the furthest removed from Disgaea in a gameplay sense, featuring mechanics that are more commonly seen in Western RPGs, and never combined in the way Compile Heart sandwiched into this game.
The plot of Trillion takes place in a demon-populated world called the Underworld, which is governed by the Great Overlord (OC Do Not Steal) Zeabolos. One day, Zeabolos’ kingdom is attacked by the titular God of Destruction, an absurdly powerful creature that shows up and quickly wreaks havoc in the Underworld. His forces rapidly depleted, Zeabolos attempts to bring down the enemy himself only to perish without so much as wounding it. After making a literal Faustian bargain with the enigmatic girl….Faust…Zeabolos is given a temporary lease on life so that the two can work together to bring down Trillion. But with his body rendered useless from the last battle, Zeabolos must call upon his six most powerful and occasionally reliable Overlords to battle the beast in his stead.
The six Overlods make up the playable characters of Trillion, as well as represent the entirety of the game’s multiple mechanics. Each Overlord is chosen one at a time to take on Trillion, and is given a fixed amount of days to prepare for the inevitable battle while Trillion slumbers. The chosen Overlord has several options to choose from, and each choice takes one day to implement. The primary choice is to train, which includes a list of different training regimens that raise certain parameters for the Overlord. These regimens are instantaneous and offer immediate benefits, though there are some trade-offs to consider as well: each Overlord has a Fatigue meter that increases with each training, and allowing the meter to reach critical levels could cause the Overlord to suffer an injury that puts them out of commission for a few days, thus wasting valuable prep time.
In addition to training, there are also interactive options to increase the affinity between Zeabolos and his companion. These moments help to flesh out the characters as well as raise their affinity, which should be a familiar mechanic for Persona fans, but the benefits are far more crucial here; for every amount of Affection Points earned, those points act as a buffer of sorts to the Overlord’s HP and MP. In other words, the more Affection Points earned, the more damage and magic usage that Overlord can perform during the battle against Trillion. Once AP is depleted, they will have to fight on with their own HP, and having their health drop to zero has more permanent consequences than seen in most games.
The life or death battle against Trillion isn’t just metaphorical: once an Overlord falls in battle, they will permanently die, while the next Overlord must continue the fight in their place. For first-time players, death is pretty much inevitable, and unlike games like Fire Emblem and XCOM, character deaths actually have an impact on the main story, which makes their sacrifices feel more tragic and meaningful, especially when witnessing the Overlord perform a sacrificial final attack (a common dramatic trope in Anime). This final attack isn’t just for dramatic purposes, however, as it also offers options to aid players; choices during the final attack include sealing a specific part of Trillion’s body, reappearing in the next battle as a ghost, strengthening the next Overlord’s weapon, etc.
For anyone who has played the Indie PC game Long Live the Queen, Trillion: God of Destruction’s critical decisions should feel the most familiar. The majority of the game revolves around Batman-levels of prep time, where every decision made along the way can have massive repercussions in the future. Trillion’s name, in fact, refers to the fact that it has one trillion HP, turning the titular titan into the equivalent of a super raid boss in an MMORPG that requires several attempts to whittle down its enormous HP. This, of course, means that the game has multiple endings depending on who lives and who unleashes the finishing blow, which significantly increases the game’s replay value.
It’s just too bad the actual combat of Trillion: God of Destruction isn’t as entertaining as the preparation itself; taking a cue from turn-based movement commonly found in Roguelike games like Crypt of the Necrodancer, combat takes place on a 3D plane but features a mechanic far better suited for 2D games; oftentimes players will need to adjust the different camera settings to get a more precise look at where they stand relative to enemies, since every action causes the opposition to move in tandem. This is especially important during the fight with Trillion himself, as the massive boss highlights the ground that is about to be pelted with his devastating attacks. Once again, prep time becomes invaluable, as Overlords can take part in mock battles to see how they currently fare, as well as recruit Devil Envoys that essentially act as AI decoys during the big battle. Still, it is a bit disappointing that the pivotal fight does not have a more robust battle system, though players will indeed sweat every single movement in the grid, as one wrong move could be their last.
In the end, Trillion: God of Destruction is a surprisingly innovative RPG from a company that is normally content to release/re-release a new Neptune game every month, and further testament to the Vita’s resigned fate as an RPG lover’s dream machine. For players who are more invested in the simulation aspect of building up characters for a literal life-and-death battle as well as rolling the dice and praying to the RNG gods, this is an experience seldom found anywhere. Extra kudos must also be given for its innovation in character investment; though the initial cast of Overlords skid a little too far into waifu territory (particularly the busty and barely-covered members), having them give up their lives after hours of training and interacting is bound to elicit a few emotional reactions from players. Anything that makes death matter more in videogames deserves recognition, for sure.