In this review, we’ll be looking at Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Hinokami Chronicles, the franchise’s first console game!
The game is developed by CyberConnect2, the studio known for the Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm series. Like the Ultimate Ninja Storm titles, this game is also a fighting game, so you can expect a lot of similarities between them.
The game is available on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X | S, Xbox One and PC via Steam. For this review, I played Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Hinokami Chronicles on PS5.
The game’s story is divided into 8 chapters and follows the events of the anime. Chapters 1 – 7 retell the events of season 1, while chapter 8 is centred around the Mugen Train movie.
For those who watched the anime, you’ll be pleased to know that the game does a great job of capturing the story beats from the show. Just note that the game starts during Tanjiro’s training for the Final Selection. As such, those who aren’t familiar with the beginning of Demon Slayer might not empathise with Tanjiro’s struggle as much.
Overall, as someone who loved the Demon Slayer anime, I found the game’s story to be a solid retelling of the events. It obviously doesn’t cover 100% of everything, but CyberConnect2 did great in keeping me hooked even though I already know what happens next.
Those who played the more recent Ultimate Ninja Storm games will be very familiar with this. Besides watching cutscenes and fighting major battles, players get to explore and run around familiar locations from the anime.
Many of the gripes that I had with Ultimate Ninja Storm‘s exploration is also present in Hinokami Chronicles. In the game, even basic actions like jumping are limited. As a result, exploration feels pretty boring due to how restrictive it is.
Running around collecting Memory Fragments (to unlock events) and Kimetsu Points (to purchase stuff) gets repetitive pretty fast, especially if you compare it with something like Genshin Impact. Understandably, Hinokami Chronicles is not an open world game like Genshin Impact, but you’d still expect more freedom, especially since it’s called “Exploration”.
You can technically just rush towards the next cutscene or fight, but missing out on the collectables is quite a big turn off. At least the exploration in chapter 7 is fun thanks to mini-games like Tea Splasher and Gourd Breaker. Be sure to check those out at least.
At the end of the day, Hinokami Chronicles is a fighting game. It is NOT the next Street Fighter or Tekken, as you might expect. Don’t expect learning how to pull off advanced quarter circles and stuff like that. This is a fighting game where a single button press = a skill. Combos involve pressing the same button continuously, together with the up or down buttons for variations.
Despite how simple the combat is (there’s dodging and parrying, but that’s also straightforward), I could understand why CyberConnect2 more or less took the Ultimate Ninja Storm formula and applied it here. Hinokami Chronicles will undoubtedly be many Demon Slayer fans’ first fighting game, and keeping it easy and accessible will make it more enjoyable to the masses. Is the fighting fun? Yes, but I wished that there would be more to set it apart from Ultimate Ninja Storm.
My biggest issue with Hinokami Chronicles for this review is the small roster of Demon Slayer characters. When you first start the game, VS mode only has 7 characters at the start (not even Nezuko!). The rest of the fighters are unlocked through the story.
Still, even though the game has 18 different fighters, the roster feels a lot smaller than it should be because 7 of them are just alternate versions of the same characters. Sure, Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 had like 5 or 6 different versions of Naruto, but that game had 106 characters as opposed to Hinokami Chronicles‘ 18 characters, 3 of which are Tanjiro.
Graphics and Performance
Part of the reason why the Demon Slayer anime is such a phenomenon is thanks to ufotable’s stellar animation. CyberConnect2 did a phenomenal job in capturing that.
This is hands down one of the best-looking anime games to date. The animation is fluid, vibrant and alive. The cutscenes are spot-on, and the music is superb. I still get goosebumps from scenes like Zenitsu showing his true power and Tanjiro using Hinokami Kagura.
What makes some of the in-game events even more memorable is CyberConnect2’s quick time events (QTEs). The QTEs are extremely well implemented and elevates the hype and the immersion even further. Sure, it’s nothing new in the world of gaming, but being able to directly affect key moments from the anime via QTE is just icing on the cake for anime fans.
As my review for Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Hinokami Chronicles is based on my experience playing it on PS5, I benefitted a lot from the 4K resolution and stable 60 FPS frame rate. Note that there is no support for adaptive triggers and haptic feedback, though.
If you were worried that Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Hinokami Chronicles is just a cash grab that rides on the popularity of Demon Slayer, then I can assure you that it’s not. It may not be the best fighting game or offer anything revolutionary by any means, but it’s still a fun experience overall.
As a medium of entertainment, Hinokami Chronicles does justice for the Demon Slayer franchise. The only major thing holding it back is the small roster of fighters. If you can live with that, then you are good to go.
Check out the game on Steam.
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Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Hinokami Chronicles
A fine addition to the Demon Slayer franchise
- Astounding visuals and animation
- Quick time events are the definition of hype
- Fun mini-games
- Roster of characters is too small
- Exploration can get repetitive
- Gameplay-wise, it fails to stand out from Ultimate Ninja Storm
It's fun, but don't hold your breath
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