ReviewsReview: Trek to Yomi

Review: Trek to Yomi

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The path to righteousness can be complex and full of heartache. You are often left with many difficult decisions, and those that you love may get left behind. However, the rewards usually outweigh the negatives even if your soul disagrees. This is the idea behind Trek to Yomi. It is a dark and sombre game that captures the brilliance of Japanese culture.

Developed by Flying Wild Hog and published by Devolver Digital, this is a fighting action-adventure title. It has a phenomenal cinematic that creates a moody and mystical atmosphere. Furthermore, it combines realistic elements of Asian life with bizarre and often unnerving surreal moments. On top of this, it has a fantastic story, interesting characters, many skills to unlock and collectables to find.

Trek to Yomi tells a classic story.

I have always admired Japanese culture and the “Way of the Samurai”. Therefore, whenever a game depicts this theme at its core, I jump right in. Luckily, Trek to Yomi blends realism and surrealism beautifully. Even when the game goes into a dreamlike state, it doesn’t leave its roots behind. Consequently, the story and the gameplay flow nicely, especially when you have no idea of what’s happening.

The plot revolves around a young Samurai called Hiroki. His master is dying, and he promises to protect the village and the people he loves. Sadly, this vow is tested when his once peaceful village is attacked. Caught off guard, and desperate for victory, Hiroki is led astray. This error costs him and the villagers dearly, and he must battle invading forces and brutal overlords if he is to right the wrongs.

Trek to Yomi looks amazing.
Slay your foe.

A short game.

Set over 6 chapters, Trek to Yomi can only be considered a short title. Now, you may want more bang for your buck, but worry not! Luckily, this is available as part of the Game Pass subscription. Consequently, you have nothing to lose by trying this visual masterpiece. Yes, I’m jumping in early on with my love of the graphics, but I can’t help it. Trek to Yomi is simply stunning to look at. With monochromatic visuals and authentic landscapes, it is easy to admire what unfolds. Yet, just because it is beautiful, doesn’t make it a phenomenal game. Sadly, there are many shortcomings that hold back its potential.

First, the rigid linear focus makes the world feel small and claustrophobic. This isn’t usually a bad thing, but the environment is so inviting (in a macabre way) that I was disappointed that I couldn’t explore it. Second, the combat is awfully lacklustre. There are an array of warriors to tackle and weaponry to use. What’s more, you unlock plenty of combo attacks, blocks, and equipment to balance the books. However, repetitive and dull encounters make this element a bit of a damp squib. Third, there are too many save points. Shrines heal you while saving your progress. This happens so regularly that there is next to no risk in any given situation. Consequently, death has no meaning and your loss is minimal, so you go balls to the wall every time.

This was particularly poor in a game set around discipline, skill, and combat. I wanted to slice off limbs, time my blows perfectly, and dodge my enemy’s advances. Instead, I hacked away like a maniac and rarely did this approach fail me. There is, of course, a stamina bar to consider as well as tougher opponents, but both rarely held you back. If the developers had tightened this up, the game would have been much better.

Trek to Yomi is sombre and full of death and destruction.
Avoid the arrows that rain down on you.

Trek to Yomi was interesting to explore.

Though much of the core gameplay disappointed me, the level design did not. I’ve already gushed about my love of the visuals, but each chapter’s sprawling landscapes were just as good. With limited exploration options, it could have been a mundane and lifeless experience. However, leaping across buildings while killing your foes with barrels or other objects was fascinating. Furthermore, searching for stamina and health boosts, new attacks, or collectables was excellent. Secrets were hidden in plain sight, and finding every one of them wasn’t easy.

Alongside the captivating environment was the amazing audio. The persistent sound of terror and loss was haunting as you explore your surroundings. A torturous and sombre atmosphere is created thanks to the harrowing noises and horrific images. Dilapidated villages are matched with the roar and crackle of the fire and the shrieks of mourning villagers. It is hard to say that I loved this brutal experience, but I can’t help but admire what I saw. Moreover, you are immersed in the action thanks to the use of subtitles and authentic Japanese dialogue. You may despise the use of subtitles, but it was the perfect accompaniment to add to the realism.

A sombre but beautiful world.
Such a beautiful world to look at.

The controls could have been better.

I’m not the biggest fan of multi-button combo attacks. I find them to be overly complex, usually poorly thought out and tough to execute. Unfortunately, most of this is true of Trek to Yomi as you try to remember a long list of unique commands. With finishing moves, heavy attacks, light attacks, blocks, and ranged weaponry, there was an awful lot to master. Annoyingly, no matter how many moves I was given, I stuck to what worked. Luckily, however, the fundamentals worked well and were responsive. This meant that you could pick it up and play without worrying about massive combos or complex moves.

With only 6 hours of gameplay, this is a short but stunning game. Sadly, if you are not a completionist, you won’t get the most out of it. However, if you love to search every nook and cranny, you’ll enjoy exploring each chapter fully. Subsequently, finding every collectable isn’t easy and many of the secrets can be overlooked. Therefore, if you are a completionist, you’ll have your work cut out for you.

Trek to Yomi could have been better. 

Many Game Pass subscribers will love the cinematic experience and story-rich gameplay. However, Trek to Yomi could have been much better. With overly complicated controls, poor combat, and strict linear progression, it is too restrictive and frustrating. I loved the immersive atmosphere and the deep lore, but there are better Samurai games on the market. All things considered, this is worth trying and can be purchased here! Will you keep your vow or will you let yourself and your people down?

SUMMARY

Trek to Yomi is a beautiful and sombre title that is full of death and destruction. Its story is amazing, as is the cinematic. However, the controls, combat, and repetition hold it back and are disappointing.


+ Beautiful and striking graphics.
+ Atmospheric audio.
+ A fantastic story.
+ It's free on Game Pass.

- The combat is lacklustre.
- The controls are unnecessarily cumbersome.
- The gameplay is too linear.

(Rating: PEGI 18 Violence Release date: 05/05/2022 Price Free on Game Pass or £16.74.)


(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on Xbox One, PC (Steam), PlayStation 4 and PlayStation.)


Daniel Waite
Daniel Waite
My gaming career started on an Amiga and spans many consoles! Currently, I game using an MSI laptop and Xbox Series X. A fan of every genre, I love to give anything a go. Former editor and reviewer for www.bonusstage.co.uk, I'm loving my new home here at Movies Games and Tech. I can be contacted for gaming reviews on the following email: Daniel@moviesgamesandtech.com

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Review: Trek to Yomi<p class="has-text-align-justify" style="font-size:14px"><em>Trek to Yomi</em> is a beautiful and sombre title that is full of death and destruction. Its story is amazing, as is the cinematic. However, the controls, combat, and repetition hold it back and are disappointing.</p><br/> + Beautiful and striking graphics.<br/> + Atmospheric audio.<br/> + A fantastic story.<br/> + It's free on Game Pass.<br/> <br/> - The combat is lacklustre.<br/> - The controls are unnecessarily cumbersome.<br/> - The gameplay is too linear.<br/> <br/> <p class="has-text-align-center" style="font-size:10px">(<b>Rating:</b> PEGI 18 Violence <b>Release date:</b> 05/05/2022 <b>Price</b> Free on Game Pass or £16.74.)</p><br/> <p class="has-text-align-center" style="font-size:10px">(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on Xbox One, PC (Steam), PlayStation 4 and PlayStation.)</p><br/>