Sometimes our worst enemies are the same expectations we create for ourselves.
Blind Destiny: Edo No Yami
Platform: PC, PS4, PS5, SWITCH, XONE, XSX Genre: Action Release Date: September 15, 2022 Developer: Troglobytes Games Distributor: 101XP
Of course, even the deadly Yokai 2.0 we met in Blind Destiny: Edo no Yami – henceforth only Blind Fate for the sake of synthesis – the proverbial seven shirts made us sweat, but the real obstacle against which our race broke was precisely the discrepancy between the lethal and agile ninja we had envisioned in our mind and his real counterpart present in the side scrolling action game created by the Italian team Troglobytes Games, a killer that is anything but snappy.
At each katana meeting we therefore found ourselves faced with a reversal of perspective, betrayed according to our initial reasoning due to a much more reasoned and less frenetic gameplay than the ultra-futuristic presentation had let us guess.
But the question arises spontaneously: who is right? Probably both we who have ventured into that post-apocalyptic Japan trampled by infernal machines, and Blind Fate himself, who has every right to develop game mechanics much more focused on technique and patience, at the expense of frenzy and explosions. .
A very fascinating east
But let’s go in order and try to outline the coordinates of a title that makes his imagination a real strength.
Without too many preambles we find ourselves immersed in a Land of the Rising Sun torn apart and suspended in time, with a feudal past catapulted into the future of we do not know how many centuries. The brief introduction immediately suggests the context in which we will move our circuits, that is a completely devastated Japan from an unspecified war and where the Yokai played a decisive role.
These creatures of Japanese mythology, already exploited recently by other works such as Nioh (you can find it on Amazon), however, have a far from ghostly appearance and their ethereal bodies have given way to a much more concrete and sharp steel.
Present and future are perfectly blended
Blind Fate wisely plays on this dichotomy between tradition and the distant future and it goes far beyond the simple canons of cyberpunk, an era that is even outdated and left behind, which has given way to no one really knows what.
This strange intersection of eras is then rendered to perfection by the Artistic directionwhich naturally combines futuristic machinery and ancient buildings from the Edo period.
The player experiences the same sense of disorientation as Yami, the protagonist of this adventure and a figure forced to kill and obey an imperial power that lives in an area beyond gray.
Blindness is not only metaphorical and, also thanks to a memory played in the first person, it is discovered right from the start that, due to a lethal duel that ended badly, the samurai is completely devoid of his sight. To quench his thirst for revenge, Yami must therefore to rely on AI Tengu that, after a painstaking repair work and a dozen cybernetic implants, manages to transmit in the mind of the murderer the images of a nuanced world that often dates back to different eras.
To move within this desolate scenario it is therefore necessary to take advantage of the data recovered from enemies – which return a more truthful image of the present – and above all to rely on our increased senses, able to make us see sounds, heat sources and even smells. .
The Yokai are not nice sprites
The desire to know more, the references to the great classics of Japanese cinema and literature, the thirst for revenge and a decidedly fascinating world were the main elements that convinced us and also blindness has been exploited to add further depth to the exploration and sense of discovery.
Unfortunately, the importance of the other senses and the necessary and constant recourse to the systems dedicated to them become all too preponderant, almost cumbersome in the various duels that advance in fits and starts due to too many interruptions.
The noble art of the samurai
As mentioned at the beginning, at first glance Blind Fate could be mistaken for a hack’n ‘slash in which to torture your pad, the victim of button mashing without too many thoughts.
However, we soon realize that we are in the presence of a much more reasoned title, where it is not enough to repeat the usual blow to get the better of Yokai more and more lethal. First of all, the enemies are almost invisible and it is necessary to wander with caution between the various levels, because only with a first shot you can see the silhouettes of the demons, which also require several attacks before ending up on the ground.
A samurai can always rely on his blade
Of course, in addition to the shots of our katana we can rely on parries, dodges, jumps and later on other moves that are unlocked through a sufficiently extensive skill tree.
The dose of tactics is then increased by the inevitable stamina bar, which prevents you from throwing your head down in the midst of enemies, and also by the possibility of firing bullets from the mechanical arm supplied to Yami. The circle is finally closed by the classic medkits left by the corpses and the reloads for your rifle – all elements which, if well blended and combined with those previously listed, should guarantee a tested and fun combat system.
The conditional is unfortunately a must when there is in the presence of yet another quick time event or triggers the usual repeating finisher robot downed after robot downed.
In fact, the attacks inflicted with the sword do not serve so much to reduce the life points of the enemies, as to lower their defenses until they reveal their weak point, connected to one of the three increased senses of Yami. At this point it is necessary to open the radial menu, select the icon corresponding to smell, hearing or heat and complete a mini-game where you can perfectly fit a bar into a small space.
At first it is also fun to watch our samurai produce himself in this devastating attack, but the same process repeated to exhaustion slows down the progress in an excessive way. A similar reasoning can be made for the execution that is activated after the opponent’s stunning, linked to a quick time event with a decidedly retro flavor.
A road that is always uphill
The problem then increases when multiple Yokai meet at the same timemoment handled with greater effort by Blind Fate’s reasoned combat system.
The icon of weakness is perhaps hidden by some graphic effect, during the finisher an enemy attack is also overlapped and even the visual inputs that precede the blows brought by the demonic robots become less legible.
The icing on the cake, if it can be defined as such, is one difficulty calibrated upwards and which makes the work of Troglobytes Games an all too punishing game for the wrong reasons, such as the life bars of off-scale bosses – but often base enemies as well – and attack patterns that are often impossible to escape from.
Unfortunately, the duels quickly become repetitive
Yami’s path of blood and revenge is not just about duels, but there is also room for a platform-style exploratory phasefor some environmental puzzles placed there only to vary the theme and that in reality add very little and also for entire sections that are detached from the canons of the sliding action, even these quite disconnected from the context.
In conclusion, Blind Fate: Edo no Yami is an adventure with more lows than highs: it does not have real technical errors, the shots fit well and pad in hand the single duel can give some satisfaction, but a limp rhythm and an exasperated use of mechanisms that do not go well with a title with an action soul did not allow us to fully appreciate the work of Troglobytes Games.
Version reviewed: PC