I’m deeply in love with the Demon Slayer anime, so naturally, I had to check this one out when the opportunity sprung. Seeing it being published by Sega was a relief because I knew they would do the game justice as it’s popular for bringing other fighting games like the Mortal Kombat and Soulcaliber game series to its greatness. At first glance, it seems like a typical rendition fighting game based on the exact events of season one. However, it offers a little more than that.
The graphics in Demon Slayer The Hinokami Chronicles are almost as great as the show. It has its own unique style that stands out for gaming and consoles as the fighting pace can be a little faster than a 23-minute episode with storytelling at its forefront. The artistry is like taking the show’s more three-dimensional, darker look then reimagining it in a similar design used in American comics where the colours really pop. It’s quite impressive that they reanimated the best fight scenes and conversations from the show into the game. But it does still seem to regurgitate most of the extra dialogue from the anime.
The storytelling in Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Hinokami Chronicles, adds to the show’s story canon with moments of combat not seen in the show. It’s a great addition to the nuance of the arcs from season one. There’s evidence of this with the first chapter where Tanjiro leaves his teacher, Urokodaki, and his sister, Nezuko, to participate in the Demon Slayer Corps Final Selection. This is where the player gets to face multiple copies of the enemies, they briefly show Tanjiro defeat in the anime as it leads up to his first boss battle with the Hand Demon.
The exploration aspect of Demon Slayer The Hinokami Chronicles is still quite fixed as the player can explore different paths to grab collectibles, but there weren’t any points in the game where there was an alternative route to get to the main fight. Overall, the story progresses on a linear path and map for each chapter, offering fans of the show some practice with learning the characters they’re playing on minions as they progress to facing bosses in the game—referenced from the show.
I think it’s awesome that Demon Slayer The Hinokami Chronicles brings the standout scenes from the show and also the latest Mugen Train Arc. It serves as a great recap medium for those ready to see season two, dropping on Sunday, December 5, 2021. This isn’t saying too much for the Story Mode of the game as it seems like the game is half fighting game and half visual novel. It may capture all the emotional and hype moments really well, but the added in jokes and content works to its own downfalls.
A great example is all the antics and screentime Zenitsu receives. It’s great that they added more scenes of him, but when I was trying to get through the chapter in the exploration phase, it took annoyingly long because of his freak out moments. It’s okay to want to show the emotional panic of the character, but it forces me to stop moving when I want to get into the action a bit faster. This feat makes sense the most against the Drum Demon in the mansion because it does add to the suspense factor, but other scenes where the player controls Zenitsu to roam around just drag the exploration period on a little too long.
“Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Hinokami Chronicles is a fantastic game for it being the first for the anime series.”
Strange gameplay choices continue as the later chapters bring in mini games to give players the immersive experience to train with Tanjiro. The mini games work like a rhythm game where the player has to time button presses to the corresponding buttons on-screen in the right time. For a fighting game this seems a little weird, but other fighting games like the Mortal Kombat series have “Test Your Might”, so it’s not unheard of. I thought this was a creative choice to the training chapters of Tanjiro, but I felt like this portion of the story could’ve been cut out and the cut scenes or main dialogue scenes would’ve explained what happened.
The Online and Offline PVP gameplay of Demon Slayer The Hinokami Chronicles are pretty standard for this style of fighting game. There’s the typical lag with Online matches found in other anime fighting games like in the Dragon Ball or the Naruto: Shippuden video game series. There seems to be an established meta for some characters who are buffed more than others and offer more robust attack combos. For example, Urokodaki’s traps are a great lure to setup an easy flurry of hits. It’s cool to test out different characters with different clothing sets and various play styles, but there doesn’t seem to be anything that particularly shines from this game mode.
I think Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Hinokami Chronicles is a fantastic game for it being the first for the anime series. The artwork is stunning and captures the essence of the show. Unfortunately, it captures so much of the show that it feels more like an interactive recap that can feel sluggish and too long for certain scenes that passed by faster in the anime while giving the audiences the knowledge they need. If you’re a long-standing fan of the show, it’s a fun game to pickup and remember the great moments from the show, but otherwise, it’s nothing too special. As for this game’s future, I’m curious to see if there will be some DLC added to the game for new playable characters or skins, and I’m very interested how the next game will evolve from this.