Our Score – 8.5/10
If you’re into games based on anime, you must be familiar with Cyberconnect2. They are the devs who brought us gems like Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot and Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 4. And now they’re bringing Demon Slayer, the popular anime into another adventure-fighting game.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Hinokami Chronicles is a direct adaptation of the series. The story revolves around Tanjiro Kamado, who lost his family to a demon attack. Only his younger sister Nezuko survived but was turned into a demon by the perpetrator. In search of a healer, Tanjiro signs up to be trained as a demon slayer, so he can avenge the culprit while protecting Nezuko. The Hinokami Chronicles summarizes the first eight manga, out of a total of 23.
The Hinokami Chronicles gameplay is a 3D beat ’em Up that introduces us to many of the characters Tanjiro has encountered up to this point in the story. There are 18 fighters in total to play with. For example, CyberConnect2 has implemented some of the “Kimetsu Academy” mini-sketches (where the cast enjoys everyday life as school students). This feature is available after the game ends, but apart from the finisher animation and new skins, they’re basically the same character. In the next few weeks and months, there will be six new characters that will join, namely the demons that we have met throughout the game.
If you see Demon Slayer: The Hinokami Chronicles only as a fighting game, it might feel a bit shallow. When fighting we should avoid a row of enemy attacks because it will be difficult to stop them once they are hit. Parrying is important because dodging requires timing and positioning, which is harder to do than a simple counterattack due to the changing camera angle. In addition, some characters feel too strong, so we will be playing with enemy forces more often than setting our own gameplay. Overall, this game feels more aimed at new players who seem to be enjoying the game.
What stands out the most about The Hinokami Chronicles is its strong presentation, much of it very close to the templates of the anime style. CyberConnect2 captures the mystical breathing techniques of Demon Slayer in a very graphic way, providing a stunning portrait. The compact appearance of the original is well captured from various scenes, such as the stunning quick-time scene ending the boss fights. Narrative recap and storytelling are taken from or accompanied by images from the original anime. Due to licensing reasons, there are lots of snippets appearing for players – so it’s a good idea to turn off notifications while playing.
In addition to passive combat and story scenarios, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Hinokami Chronicles also allows us to move in a narrow 3D area modeled after the scenes that Tanjiro and his friends have explored on their journey. From a fan’s point of view, it’s certainly interesting to explore a villa full of demons or Mount Natagumo at your own pace, but too dense to make it entertaining. This area is not a visual highlight and apart from collecting objects all we do is meet small enemies that does add a little action to the exploration.