Trek to Yomi Preview: Stab, Stab Again

Like a living samurai movie, Trek to Yomi borrows the aesthetic of Seven Samurai or Thirteen Assassins to give you that same swordplay drama you love so much. I sat down and played the first two levels of Trek to Yomi, an upcoming side-scrolling action game. While I expected to be thrilled with the looks, I was also pleasantly surprised to find that Trek to Yomi had interesting gameplay under the hood, with promising action combat with a variety of moves and confrontations. to explore.

Seamlessly shifting from free-roaming to side-scrolling in environments with a fixed camera, Trek to Yomi makes the most of its cinematic influences, taking the dramatic lighting and understated duels of Akira Kurosawa’s films and blending in with the more cinematic violence of directors like Kenji Misumi and Takashi Miike during action combat.

Trek to Yomi Pictures

Trek to Yomi sounds as good as it looks, the crackle and pop of fire overlaid by a dramatic soundtrack and the clash of backlit silhouettes’ swords. The use of sound is key to making the genre work, and it seems Trek to Yomi understands that. The voice actors also delivered pretty solid performances in what I played, with all dialogue in Japanese with English subtitles.

Many environments reminded me of the best scenes from the original Final Fantasy VII.

I can’t say enough how much I enjoyed the environments of only two levels. Although the title and story promise at least a connection to supernatural events, the environments I saw were very mundane rural and wooded locations. It didn’t matter: they were usually rich, well-composed scenes that took advantage of the fixed camera angle to give a truly cinematic experience. Effects like lighting were well placed, as were background motion. The thunderstorm and lightning that came during one section was used wonderfully. Many environments reminded me of the best scenes from the original Final Fantasy VII.

Of course, all of this wouldn’t matter much if the fights weren’t good. The dramatic, tortured protagonists of samurai movies are great, but the other half of why they’re great is swordsmanship. Protagonist Hiroki is a master of the blade, but only as far as you can take him. Your health is very limited and the stamina-based combat system encourages you to be more active than your opponents.

Protagonist Hiroki is a master of the blade, but only as far as you can take him.

A big part of the fight was timing your blocks as parries, picking the right set of attacks for the situation, and reacting quickly. For example, you might want to swing from below against enemies holding their swords high or stab enemies with a horizontal sword ready to block. Slow enemies call in heavy stun combos and then an execution. Spear wielders are easier if you stay inside their hilt.

If that sounds familiar, yes, it sounds a lot like other recent action games. You’re going to die, and die, and die, and die, and finally take down that guy you died to in a very satisfying way. Fortunately, the save points were well distributed and generous. There was also a cinematic difficulty to experience the story, as well as a hard mode… and a harder mode.

I can’t say the combat in my preview build was perfect. Animations sometimes did not line up properly, especially when parrying. It was not always clear why some entries were combined and others were not. But it was the kind of stuff I expected to see smoothed out before release. So far, at least, developer Leonard Menchiari, Flying Wild Hog, and Devolver Digital have the foundation for a pretty good action game.