From Ghost of Tsushima to Sekiro, samurai are on the rise right now. And it’s not the developers at Flying Wild Hog who will say the opposite. 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, validated by Devolver, is more than atypical.
- Ghost of Tsushima in the mood
- A work of art à la Kurosawa
- Sifu among the samurai?
The young Hiroki is rich in the teachings of his sensei and has the necessary strength to protect his village. A clear path, dictated by the codes of bushidō and hagakure, which the misfortunes of life will nevertheless come to shake. The path of the samurai is not always easy to follow. In addition to life and death, Hiroki will have to choose whether he really wants to borrow it or get rid of it. It is therefore an introspective story that Flying Wild Hog and Devolver offers us, all marked by katana duels and footage worthy of Kurosawa’s greatest film.
Ghost of Tsushima in the mood
Trek to Yomi pretty much falls into the box with “Atmosphere games”. Whether it’s through its witty soundtrack or its history, Devolver’s play takes you by the hand and takes you on a real hike (or rather a short hike given the length). As exotic as possible, the title has its own atmosphere and succeeds particularly well in conveying it, especially thanks to its small exploration phases. Between gravity and mystery, we are quickly caught in the Trek to Yomi spiral, which pushes us to question ourselves and make crucial choices.
Hiroki’s path is also yours, so of course it’s up to you to decide which one to take. Depending on the choice you make, the end of your adventure will not be the same. However, the differences are limited to the final scene and some dialogues, change the conclusion of the Trek to Yomi, but not the experience itself. We would have liked to have seen more and be able to experience the consequences of the path chosen. Note, however, that it will not cost you much to see the various possible endings. The title is short (allow four hours for a first part by exploring a bit), and it only takes two short hours to browse it in a straight line. In less than ten hours, you can therefore easily pique your curiosity and discover all that Trek to Yomi has to offer.
But one game may be enough for most players.Between revenge, love and honor, Hiroki’s epic is reminiscent of Jin Sakai and many others. Basically nothing new in the 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 thugs who succumbed to Hiroki’s blade. To find his way, he will have to face these rotten lands and shikome tormented people who populate it. By 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 particularly well detailed thanks to the various artifacts that you can pick up during your journey. This approach makes Trek to Yomi a strangely small game, which is all the more so when looking at its primary objectives.
A work of art à la Kurosawa
Some will no doubt have noticed, Above all, Trek to Yomi is an almost cinematic experience, tribute especially the films of the Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. By choosing black and white and different camera images, the title stands out fantastically well and manages to surprise us to the last with its realization. The paintings follow each other and are not the same. Despite dated graphics during interludes, the title manages to impose an atypical artistic touch that hits the mark in the game.
In addition, this particular attention to the visual in no way stains the gameplay. The angular changes, although regular, are fluid and play intelligently on the latter. Trek to Yomi thus goes from horizontal scrolling to the battles to a slightly more open 3D to the exploration phases. This intermediate thing works especially in games and gives us a coherent and pleasant reproduction throughout.
When playing on the decorations and especially the effects of light, certain paintings are particularly striking. Best of all, they give several fight scenes an epic feel that makes you want to get into them all the way. With this mastered artistic direction, Trek to Yomi has found its greatest strength. However, it still risks omitting some players, especially those who are deterred by the use of black and white and old-fashioned graphics. From this point of view, Trek to Yomi has a certain artistic side, but what about its gameplay function in itself?
Sifu among the samurai?
If you have already been told about the exploration phases (optional, but interesting), The majority of the Trek for Yomi is just as much about cutting your opponents with katana blows. After taking your first steps in martial arts thanks to your sensei, you are thrown into the lion’s den, where various enemies seek only one thing: to make you join the Yomi world. But there is nothing to shake in front of them.
Despite what some people thought, Trek to Yomi is not a samurai version of SIFU. Its combat mechanics and enemy patterns are pretty simple and never push you to your limits. Once you know them, you’re unlikely to get into real trouble. Moreover, artificial intelligence does not help the case. For example, some enemies will just wait in a corner before attacking you in a loop without a gram strategy. You can sometimes even dodge the fight and put some enemies out of danger by using the landscape (by the way, a pretty interesting point).
Therefore, unlike most games in the genre, the difficulty level is not really gradual. A fact wanted by Leonard Menchiari, who was to emphasize moments of great excitement. But now these are only too little present, being limited to one or two full-bodied boss fights. If the satisfaction of killing an enemy never really fades, it’s more thanks the theatricalization of the act and the beautifully executed choreography of the battles than its difficulty in performing. Without these, we would almost get tired of duels or waves of enemies surrounding us.
And yet Flying Wild Hog made an effort to offer us evolving gameplay. Throughout your journey, you pick up new weapons and learn new combat techniques. If some have style, others are unfortunately too risky or superfluous, sometimes almost impossible to place between enemy blows. In the end, to get ahead of too many pitfalls, it’s better to limit yourself to hammering the same two keys in the same order. In addition to a moment of confusion, the only chance your opponents have for survival will be to rely on the few bugs (on the controller) that leave you motionless despite your instructions.
Whether you are in light, normal or severe condition, nothing changes, you just need to repeat the operation for longer or shorter time. The three game modes only affect the lives of the enemies and the power of their battles. Therefore, it is more time consuming than difficult to overcome your attackers with the right technique. Only real challenge: The condition In an attempt which, as the name suggests, will make you start over at the last checkpoint at the slightest hit.
- Artistically completed …
- A dive into Shinto mythology
- Beautifully choreographed matches …
- Paintings worthy of Kurosawa
- … despite dated graphics
- Redundant choices
- a little hassle
- … but far too repetitive
Trek to Yomi is a very beautiful film work. He does not have to fade for the giants who inspired him. His use of the camera and black and white grain allows him to present us with particularly sumptuous paintings. Add to that some eye-catching battle choreography and you have a little nugget of artistic mastery. If a game were judged after this, Trek to Yomi would no doubt top the charts. But unfortunately, the game by comparison is too little pressure compared to the game. His superfluous choices and his repeated struggles prevent him from expressing his full potential. That said, it’s still worth the detour and even more so if you’re sensitive to this kind of video game work.
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