Grab your samurai sword and star in your own Kurosawa adventure. Just don’t expect it to last too long! PETER HOSKIN reviews Trek To Yomi
Trek To Yomi (PlayStation, Xbox, PC, £16.99 or free with Xbox Game Pass)
Verdict: Kurosawa lite
Watching the samurai movies of Akira Kurosawa when growing up, I rather imagined myself as a wandering ronin — carrying my blade and my wits across rural Japan so as to mete out my own brand of justice. Still do, really.
So here, at last, comes my chance. Sort of. Trek To Yomi is certainly inspired by those old Kurosawa flicks.
You can see that in everything from its high-contrast, black-and-white cinematography to its rain-sodden fight sequences. It looks stunning.
But then two things intrude on the atmosphere: the story and the gameplay.
The former, which concerns a young samurai, Hiroki, seeking revenge after the destruction of his village, is just… OK.
Even though it travels to places where Kurosawa never took his cameras — which is to say, the Shinto underworld — it is really too standard issue to leave an impression.
While the gameplay is also just… OK. It starts off great, as you learn button combinations to weave and dodge and slash at your enemies.
But then, as more and more combos are opened up to you and Hiroki, you realise that (on the ‘normal’ difficulty setting, at least) you only need a couple to get through most encounters. It all reduces to press, press, repeat.
Were Trek To Yomi shorter than its four to five hours, it would feel very slight. Were it longer, it would feel like too much of nothing much.
As it is, this game is a gorgeous diversion — though I shall have to look elsewhere if I’m to become a proper ronin.