Sakura blossomed, Polish developers again deceived the expectations of the players. Approximately these words can describe the magnificent from the aesthetic, but clumsy from the standpoint of the gameplay Trek to Yomi. The new game from Flying Wild Hog (creators of the relaunch of Shadow Warrior) has mixed feelings. The aesthetics of Akira Kurosawa’s films, the era of the feudal system and the general style of the game catch the eye, but the crooked and jerky combat system is so annoying that you want to turn on the easy level of difficulty and rush through the story like a katana through rice paper.
Chronicles of duty, love and dishonor
But first, as usual, about the story. It all starts with training, where the actors are introduced to us. There are three of them: the main character Hiroki, his sensei Sanjuro and the teacher’s daughter Aiko. Robbers attack their village, as a result of which Sanjuro kills the main bandit, Kagero, but dies in the hands of children. Hiroki and Aiko grow up, become the main in the settlement. But trouble happens in another village, and the protagonist runs headlong for the glory of the samurai.
This is how Trek to Yomi begins and I would like to praise the screenwriter who develops this story. Deities and the realm of the dead are tied here, as well as arguments about love, duty and honor. The plot is not as simple as it seems, and in the second half the player will even be given a choice that affects the ending and determines the path of the protagonist.
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Trek to Yomi is saturated with Japanese flavor and culture. By collecting collectibles, the player can learn more about the deities of the Japanese pantheon, as well as draw parallels with ongoing events. This is an interesting find, but, unfortunately, some details about the main characters are hidden behind the descriptions of these items – the lack of budget did not allow them to be woven into the story.
However, that very “Kurosavshchina” is here only for the sake of advertising and the big name of the director who left us long ago. A black and white filter and a couple of plans similar to the works of the maestro – this is all that is here from Akira Kurosawa. Trek to Yomi can be a great gaming “dessert” when you get to know the director’s work, nothing more.
After a bottle of sake, a samurai with his katana is not a shogun
The story and the overall visual style of Trek to Yomi, although catchy, can in no way offset the dullness of the gameplay. I will not lie if I describe Trek to Yomi as follows: the character runs through linear locations and kills opponents. Only sometimes developers dilute fights with the easiest puzzles or give a little workaround, but that’s it.
And it would be nice if the combat system worked, and every fight was like in the films of Akira Kurosawa – quick sharp blows, blood splatters, heads roll on the ground, katanas do not touch. But it’s not. On medium or high difficulty, you will have to parry endlessly and depressingly peck at opponents with a katana until they die.
Combinations of punches should help in battles, but I noticed big problems with the registration of keystrokes on Trek to Yomi. In every, literally every battle, there are moments when I press the parry button, but it does not work, and the hero takes damage. Or I definitely press the buttons to enter a combination, but the hero does not perform the final, finishing attack. This is especially evident in the fight with the last boss, where one mistake costs the life of the hero.
During the passage, the scripting of the combat system is also striking. The Assassin’s Creed series has sinned this way before, when a scene was played for each attack, counterattack, or any other action of the hero. In Trek to Yomi, the situation is similar, only sometimes the enemies can interrupt this scene, as for some reason they act faster than the main character. Sometimes it gets comical. The archer has a melee leg attack that stuns and knocks back the hero, and then shoots him with a bow. It is impossible to get out of this state. A couple of failed attacks lead to a reboot.
Bosses also do not cause reciprocal passion. As long as they are people or something similar to a humanoid, the rules of the fight “parry-hit” work. But if the protagonist fights with an unknown animal from Japanese mythology (sorry for the spoiler!) – they will only have to run away or dodge, biting off a little bit of health with a few pokes of a katana. Sometimes helps out ranged weapons in the form of a bow or gunpowder, but the ammo is limited.
Because of the problems described above, there is no beauty in combat and cannot be. Finishing off and samurai battles in the style of Akira Kurosawa from the trailers are a marketing ploy of the developers. Because of this, Trek to Yomi is very disappointing – another snag!
Trek to Yomi is not bad. It’s a linear party game with a beautiful visual style that’s annoying with choppy animations, wacky combat, weird bosses, and issues with gamepad button logging. Having run through the game in one evening, you don’t regret anything, but you don’t want to return to it either. The good news is that Trel to Yomi is available on Xbox Game Pass and is worth checking out only if you are a subscriber to the service. In any other case, pass by.
- Art design and visual style
- A story with choices that influence the ending
- Completed in 4-5 hours
- Scripted combat system
- Sharp, jerky animations
- Issues with click registration