Given the immense popularity of Demon Hunter, especially in Japan, it was only a matter of time before it got a video game adaptation. And who better to lead the project than CyberConnect2, the talented Japanese studio that developed the largely fantastic Naruto Ninja Storm series? The studio’s flair for adapting anime is clearly evident in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Hinokami Chronicles, but the game as a whole lacks both depth and content.
The Hinokami Chronicles covers the first season of the Demon Hunter Anime ending with the Mugen train Movie. To sum it up again, it tells the story of a young man named Tanjiro, who trains himself to be the eponymous demon slayer after one of the monsters murdered his family. The first season is pretty straightforward as Tanjiro grapples with his new job. He sequentially takes on a number of different demon-killing missions – encountering strange and wonderful characters – who form the backbone of the game’s story mode.
This story mode takes about five or six hours, which certainly doesn’t sound impressive, but it hits all the main points of the plot. The mode consists of a few different elements, highlights are beautifully animated cutscenes and dramatic boss fights. Outside of those headlines, you spend most of your time listening to dialogue and traversing linear environments.
There are definitely times when the story mode slacks – usually when fights are rare and you only go from one cutscene to the next. But for what it’s worth, The Hinokami Chronicles does a great job of capturing the appearance of Demon Hunter – as expected from CyberConnect2 – even in its slower moments.
But what if you are not familiar with Demon Hunter? Well, as with almost any anime-based title, you’ll get more out of The Hinokami Chronicles if you’re at least somewhat up to date with the original work. That said, we actually think this is a decent gateway into the world of Demon Hunter. The story itself is well presented and fairly easy to follow, while still images from the anime are used to fill in the gaps between the main narrative strikes.
Now for the game. At its core, this is a fighting game that is very similar to the Naruto Storm franchise mentioned above. However, this series was given the opportunity to develop and expand in the course of numerous parts. Demon Slayer, on the other hand, absolutely feels like a first try. The combo structure is incredibly simple, the defensive options are limited, and there just isn’t a lot going back and forth in every battle.
It gets a little more interesting when you play against a human opponent – as always – but even then you mostly just wait for them to make a move before you block and unleash the same old combo. A closely-timed parry mechanic does Add a touch of spice to the process – it is always fun to trick your enemy into attacking – but at the end of the day the fight is pretty monotonous. Not necessarily boring – at least it looks great – but definitely the same.
Fortunately, the story mode does its best to keep the action exciting. Instead of facing opponents who are similar to normal characters, enemies have set attack patterns and unique mechanics throughout the story. Demon Slayer becomes less of a fighting game than a simple action title that masks some of its less developed gameplay systems.
Here, too, boss fights are the most entertaining and varied encounters. You’ll need to dodge incoming attacks, schedule your own attacks so that you won’t be left open, and nail cinematic keystrokes to take down the biggest bad guys. These fights are not particularly difficult, but they are always spectacle. And if you’re in the mood for a bigger challenge, you can always try the “tough” versions of each fight.
As you work your way through the story mode, all sorts of things are unlocked, such as: B. Additional playable characters in Versus Mode, along with costumes, artwork and other in-game rewards that can be displayed in a sort of gallery. If you want to get it all (and get the Platinum Trophy on the side) then Demon Slayer could run for about 15 hours. Online battles against other players are always an option as well, but like most other anime-based fighters, the lack of depth and character balance means that online battles never mean more than casual fun between fans.
Demon Slayer: The Hinokami Chronicles is carried by its fantastic presentation, which skilfully captures the appearance of the anime. Bombastic boss fights and some jaw-dropping cutscenes are enough to sell the otherwise short-lived story mode, but other than that, this is a rather naked package. Battles can be flashy and fun, but the combat system doesn’t have the depth to captivate anyone who isn’t Demon Hunter Super Fan. If this is just the first step in a new series from CyberConnect2, it’s a solid debut that will undoubtedly form the basis for a much grittier sequel.