From Ghost of Tsushima to Sekiro, samurai are on the rise right now. And it’s not the Flying Wild Hog developers who will say otherwise. After a series of games more in the ninja vein (Shadow Warrior), the Polish studio, led by Leonard Menchiari, decided to take a step back to take us to Japan during the Edo period. And the least we can say is that the Flying Wild Hog proposal, ratified by Devolver, is more than informal.
- Ghost of Tsushima in the mood
- A work of art à la Kurosawa
- Sifu among the Samurai?
Rich in his sensei teachings, young Hiroki has the necessary strength to protect his village. A clear path, dictated by the codes of bushidō and hagakure, that the misfortunes of life will nevertheless come to shake. The path of the samurai is not always easy to follow. Aside from life and death, Hiroki will have to choose whether he really wants to borrow it or get rid of it. It is therefore an endoscopic story offered by Flying Wild Hog and Devolver, all with scenes from katana duels and shots worthy of Kurosawa’s greatest films.
Ghost of Tsushima in the mood
Trek to Yomi falls heavily in its box “Atmospheric games”. Whether through its rudimentary soundtrack or its story, the Devolver game takes you by the hand and takes you on a real journey (or rather a short hike given the duration). As exotic as it gets, the title has its own atmosphere and manages to convey it, especially thanks to its small phases of exploration. Between gravity and mysticism, we are quickly caught up in the Trek to Yomi spiral, which pushes us to challenge ourselves and make decisive choices.
The path of Hiroki is also yours, so of course it is up to you to decide which one to follow. Depending on the choice you make, the end of your adventure will not be the same. However, the differences are limited to the end of the scene and some dialogues, changing Trek’s conclusion to Yomi but not the experience itself. We would like to see more and be able to experience the consequences of the path we followed. Note, however, that it will not cost you much to see the different possible endings. The title is short (allow four hours for a first part by exploring a bit), it only takes two short hours to navigate it in a straight line. In less than ten hours, you can easily satisfy your curiosity and discover all that Trek to Yomi has to offer.
But one game can be enough for most players.Amidst revenge, love and honor, Hiroki’s epic is reminiscent of that of Jin Sakai and many others. Basically, nothing new to samurai. The main lines are quite predictable and have this bitter taste of deja vu. But Trek to Yomi still manages to stand out by finally offering us a dive into the heart of Shinto mythology.
The journey to Yomi (the world of the dead) is not just about the villains who succumbed to the Hiroki blade. To find his way, he will have to face these rotten lands and Look tortured people living in it. Making this choice, Leonard Menchiari and Flying Wild Hog invite us to discover a little known piece of Japanese folklore and it is in their honor. The latter is also very detailed thanks to the various items that you can pick up throughout your trip. This approach makes Trek to Yomi a weird little game, made even more so when you look at its primary target.
A work of art à la Kurosawa
Some will no doubt have noticed, Trek to Yomi is above all an almost cinematic experience, a tribute especially to the films of Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. By choosing black and white and different camera shots, the title stands out beautifully and manages to surprise us to the end with its implementation. The paintings follow each other and do not look alike. Despite the dating graphics during the cutscenes, the title manages to impose an informal artistic touch that strikes the mark in the game.
In addition, this special attention paid to the graphics does not in any way alter the gameplay. The angle changes, although normal, are fluid and play smart with the latter. Trek to Yomi, then, go from scrolling horizontally for racing to a slightly more open 3D for exploration phases. This intermediate works especially in the game, offering us a coherent and enjoyable performance throughout.
Playing with decorations and especially light effects, some paintings are particularly impressive. Best of all, they give many battle scenes an epic feel that makes you want to get them all the way. With this conquered artistic direction, Trek to Yomi found its greatest strength. However, it still risks leaving some players out, especially those who are discouraged from using black and white and old-fashioned graphics. In that sense, Trek to Yomi has a certain artistic side, but what about the game itself?
Sifu among the Samurai?
If you have already been informed about the exploration phases (optional but interesting), most of the Trek to Yomi is the same to cut your opponents with katana blows. After taking your first steps in the art of battle thanks to your sensei, you are thrown into the pit of lions where various enemies seek only one thing: to make you join the world of Yomi. But there is nothing to tremble before them.
Contrary to many people’s beliefs, Trek to Yomi is not a samurai version of SIFU. Its combat mechanisms and enemy motifs are quite simple and never push you to your limits. Once you meet them, it is unlikely that you will find yourself in a real problem. In addition, artificial intelligence does not help things. Some enemies, for example, just wait in a corner before attacking you with an ounce of strategy’s loop. Sometimes you can avoid the fight and get some enemies out of the damage using the landscape (by the way, a pretty interesting point).
Unlike most games of the genre, the difficulty is therefore not gradual. A fact that Leonard Menhiari wanted, which is supposed to emphasize the moments of great tension. But now, these are rarely present, limited to one or two one-on-one fights with the boss. If the satisfaction of killing an enemy never fades, it’s more thanks to it the theatricality of the act and the beautifully performed choreography of the games from the difficulty of its execution. Without them, we would almost get tired of duels or waves of enemies around us.
And yet, Flying Wild Hog made the effort to offer us evolving gameplay. Throughout your journey, you pick up new weapons and learn new battle techniques. If some have style, others are unfortunately very adventurous or unnecessary, sometimes almost impossible to place between the blows of the enemy. In the end, to proceed without too many pitfalls, it is best to limit yourself to forging the same two keys in the same order. Apart from a moment of confusion, the only chance your opponents will have to survive will be to rely on the few mistakes (in control) that leave you motionless despite your instructions.
Whether you are in easy, normal or difficult operation, nothing changes, you just have to repeat the operation for a longer or shorter period of time. The three game modes only affect the lives of the enemies and the strength of their blows. Thus, overcoming your attackers with the right technique is more time consuming than difficult. Only real challenge: Function In an effort which, as its name implies, will make you start from the beginning at the last checkpoint with the slightest hit.
- Artistically trained …
- A dive into the mythology of Shinto
- Beautiful choreographed battles …
- Paintings worthy of Kurosawa
- … despite the dated graphics
- Unnecessary options
- little difficulty
- … but too repetitive
Trek to Yomi is a very beautiful film. He does not need to pale in front of the giants who inspired him. The use of the camera and its black and white grain allow us to present particularly luxurious paintings. Add to this some impressive fight choreography and you will have a small nugget of artistic mastery. If a game was judged by that, Trek to Yomi would undoubtedly be at the top of the charts. But unfortunately, the game is, by comparison, very little pressed in terms of gameplay. His unnecessary choices and repeated quarrels prevent him from fully expressing his potential. That said, it’s still worth the while, and even more so if you’re sensitive to this kind of video game work.
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