stronger than Sekiro and Ghost of Tsushima?

More Kurosawa than Kurosawa

From the title screen and the look of the menu, there is no doubt: Head to Yomi resembling a vivid tribute to the golden age of samurai cinema† With all black and white and a slightly grainy filter, as if we’d be enjoying a VHS that’s been watched too many times, Devolver Digital’s samurai game imprints itself like a time machine, with an expected landing in the 50’s and 60’s alongside maestro Akira. Kurosawa, Kenji Misumi and Hideo Gosha.

The journey is not just visual. The first lines of dialogue immediately stand out for their sincerity and the quality of the dubbing. Devolver has pulled out all the stops on this point: very big names in seiyû (anime dubbers) have signed up to provide top services: Masayuki Katou (Danzo from Naruto Shippuden) plays Hiroki, the main character, Sarah Emi Bridcutt (Myne of The Rise of the Shield Hero) is Aiko, Hiroki’s charismatic wife, Hiroshi Shirokuma (Rice of beastars) gives voice to Sanjuro, the hero’s mentor…

Trek to Yomi: Photostoshiro Mifune as Hiroki and that was the ultimate fantasy

What to discuss? Head to Yomi a unique atmosphere, out of time, both poetic and melancholic† The software fascinates the retina, both in these strange grainy filters, which can be deactivated at any time, and in the finesse and splendor of the decorations. These are obviously true and overflowing with life. Whether traversing a village engulfed in flames, confronting bandits on a collapsing bridge, or traversing a cursed temple, each setting is enchanting and has benefited from an impressive degree of brilliance.

This concern is also reflected in the choice of placement of the cameras. Every camera angle has been expertly chosen: between a wide angle that gives you a view of the immensity of the area, a perfectly fixed frame for good legibility of the action and rare but beautiful tracking shots. With an extraordinary artistic direction, the title directed by Leonard Menchiari (already author of the experimental The Eternal Castleand anti-fascist nonsense revolt) watch crazy graphic and artistic packaging

Trek to Yomi: Photosdthose samurai on a burning roof

Chanbara porn

But as a spectator Head to Yomi is a visual orgasm, joystick in hand, the soup is no longer the same. Beyond the wonder of the first moments, impossible not to be disillusioned by discovering that the playful qualities of the title lie beneath its visual qualities. The title is intended to be an authentic video game chanbara and as such was supposed to put saber combat at the center of the gameplay.

Based on a confrontation system halfway through a .’s katana battles sekiro and the Free Flow system of the saga Batman: Arkham, TTY is somewhere at the intersection of beat’em up and versus fighting. Progress is made with many duels on a 2D plan that looks like rhythm games, the gameplay is enriched with new combos in the course of the adventure. The enemies succeed each other very wisely and the resolutions are made according to the same pattern: parry at the right time during the attack on the opponent, counter-attack and the case is closed.

Trek to Yomi: PhotosKurosawa Overdose

We will certainly praise the “realism” of the clashes, as the opponents fall after a quick pass over the sword of the hero, as required by the codes of chanbara. We even compare this to the feeling of the legendary Bushido Blade† Only the bosses offer any resistance to the player’s attacks. The addition of shuriken, a large bow and an ozutsu (Japanese musket from the 19th century) could have provided some variety, but their use remains too anecdotal to be convincing.

Where the title really disappoints is in the clumsy aspect of its hero, and in the sheer technique of softness. The animations clearly lack care, the characters suffer from an almost permanent stiffness. A fact that is all the more disturbing given the attention paid to the decorations, design and modeling of the characters. A fact that can be attributed to a lack of development time, or to: a team too small given the ambition of the title† However, despite this pitfall, mayonnaise, or rather wasabi, is on the rise.

Trek to Yomi: PhotosAdd music to the shamisen

Tribute to damage insurance

If the graphic decoration of Head to Yomi is his backbone, his beating heart is his screenplay, simple in appearance but devilishly effective. Young Hiroki sees his master, Sanjuro, killed in a brawl led by warlord Kagerou in his village. Once an adult, Hiroki sees the opportunity to carry out his revenge being offered to him. An opportunity he seizes without hesitation, but which leads him on the path of rage, to the gates of Yomi, the hells of the Shinto tradition.

A variation on a very traditional revenge story, Devolver’s title manages to grab and captivate players throughout its intense five to six hours of play. Rather than being content with a story of vendetta, the journey turns into a dreamy story steeped in Shinto folklorewhere supernatural beings are all metaphors for the dangerous path of hatred the hero takes.

Trek to Yomi: PhotosEanother person who doesn’t take care of their hair

Thanks to this swing in the fantastic, the software then finds a second wind and creates an atmosphere close to the saga onimusha. opposite of a Ghost of Tsushima who wanted to be close to reality, where folklore was only incidental, Head to Yomi will walk on the land of a sekiro or a Ninja Gaidenstarting from a fabulous tradition, which will be built upon a fascinating scene† For example, duels against ronins almost naturally give way to fights against samurai with flaming bodies, onis appear and Hiroki fights demons.

The quest for revenge turns into an exploration of hellish territories, where reason has disappeared. It is in this context that Head to Yomi expresses himself best, away from his desire for realism. Paradoxically, it takes Devolver’s title to move away from his initial desire to be the ultimate homage to Kurosawa’s cinema, to make his flaws forgotten. It then becomes a magnificent fable, a timeless experience to which we forgive a perfectable technique.

Trek to Yomi will be available on PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox One and Series, and PC from May 5, 2022. The title will be available on Game Pass from Day One. This test was conducted with an Xbox Series version from the publisher.

Trek to Yomi: Photos

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