Dada the popularity of the ‘anime’ of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, known as Guardians of the night in Spain, it was inevitable that Koyoharu Gotōge’s popular work would receive a video game. However, no one suspected that CyberConnect2 – responsible for the successful saga Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm, among many other games – would be the studio in charge of development. It should be noted that this works simultaneously as a compliment and a complaint. Let us explain.
If something had to be pointed out Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm and other CyberConnect2 games shine, that would undoubtedly be their graphical presentation. A good example of this is .hack // GU. Despite being 15 years old, this trilogy still looks pretty good. This is even more evident by the minimal tweaks it had .hack//G.U. Last Recode, remastering released in 2017. The same applies to his later projects and The Hinokami Chronicles it is not the exception to the rule.
Nevertheless, Kimetsu no Yaiba: The Hinokami Chronicles suffers from the same problem as Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm: It is an extremely basic ‘arena fighter’. Behind all the visual and sound spectacle, Demon Slayer: The Hinokami Chronicles It is a fighting game that at its most “competitive” level does not require great skill and can even become repetitive. It also doesn’t help that there is a clear imbalance between the few selectable characters, one of its many flaws.
Even so, The Hinokami Chronicles it has several virtues. Of course, these will be mostly appreciated by those who are already fans of Koyoharu Gotōge’s work. Throughout this review, we will list all the positives and negatives.
When starting for the first time Demon Slayer: The Hinokami Chronicles, players are immediately immersed in the campaign. This is exactly the same as was done in Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 And it’s a good decision considering the reputation of CyberConnect2. After all, the studio has become recognized for its impressive cinematic sections and the implementation of Real Time Events (QTE) in them. For many players of Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm, that was an important buying point.
Despite the fact that it looks the same and even more impressive than the latest games based on the work of Masashi Kishimoto, Kimetsu no Yaiba: The Hinokami Chronicles it can be a bit disappointing when it comes to filmmaking.
Let’s start by talking about the positive. Several iconic moments from the first season of the ‘anime’ and the film Mugen Ressha-hen they are traced to perfection in most of the definitive techniques and moments of the campaign mode. This contributes to Demon Slayer: The Hinokami Chronicles have the original soundtrack composed by Yuki Kajiura and Go Shiina for the series. This fidelity is a clear differentiator with respect to the saga Ultimate Ninja Storm and it will be perceived by many as a fortress. Still, some might see it as a weakness.
All those who have seen the ‘anime’ of Naruto will recognize that the campaigns of the saga Ultimate Ninja Storm they take various creative liberties when it comes to depicting the battles in Masashi Kishimoto’s work. This was not only done in order to make them more visually spectacular, but to extend them and thereby introduce longer QTE sequences. Such is not the case in Demon Slayer (Kimetsu no Yaiba): The Hinokami Chronicles. Being traced to the ‘anime’, these sections are extremely short and only allow sequences with more or less a couple of QTEs.
To the above it is added that Kimetsu no Yaiba: The Hinokami Chronicles imitate the way that Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 tell the story. Instead of creating an open world, the story is told through a timeline. The problem with this structuring is that the boss battles – which are not only conspicuous for their presentation, but for their dynamics – are separated from each other by boring exploratory sections that could very well have been video scenes.
Let’s talk about the combat system. While calling it a copy of the saga Ultimate Ninja Storm it would be quite reductionist, it would not be inaccurate to say that the bases are the same. Despite the added and subtracted mechanics, the objective in battles is the same: Make the most of the energy bar to cancel combos, extend them and deal the most damage in the shortest time possible. However, this is simultaneously more difficult and simple than in Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm.
As in the saga Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm, there is a basic combo whose conclusion can be modified depending on the direction in which the left analog is held. To vary the combos, all the characters have a grip and a trio of special techniques. Executing the latter costs energy from the skill bar, just like canceling attacks and pursuing haste. As if that wasn’t enough, all players can use an assist to attack or escape an enemy combo. Of course, they can also take cover from enemy attacks.
So far the similarities in terms of mechanics end.
Although fast pacing is a mechanic that remained from the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm, the mobility of the characters in Demon Slayer (Kimetsu no Yaiba): The Hinokami Chronicles it is more limited. Fortunately, this subtraction of evasive mechanics is “made up” by the addition of new defensive options. These consist of the perfect guard and the ability to push enemy attacks to generate distance. While these mechanics are somewhat forgiving when it comes to execution, they demonstrate an interest on the part of CyberConnect2 to make a more complex fighting game. This is not limited to defensive mechanics.
In regards to offense, all characters in Demon Slayer (Kimetsu no Yaiba): The Hinokami Chronicles they have two meters: the skill —Which was discussed in previous paragraphs— and the special one. It is from the latter that the definitive techniques are carried out. However, these are not the only use for this meter. Since up to 3 bars of the special meter can be accumulated, characters can use Enhancer when you are at level 2. If you are at your maximum level, you can unleash Spread. However, there is also the option of performing a definitive enhanced technique. Since the special bar charges when attacking and being wounded, these mechanics are primarily designed to change the course of the game.
Nor should it be forgotten that all the characters now have a strong attack. While he has armor, he leaves them at the complete mercy of the opponent in case he fails.
A few paragraphs ago, we mentioned that performing harmful combos is simultaneously more difficult and simpler than in Ultimate Ninja Storm. While the special meter is the facilitator, doing “infinite” combos is impossible. This is because characters have limited time to perform a combo once it has started. This is another of the changes that contributes to The Hinokami Chronicles is comparatively deeper than CyberConnect2’s previous ‘fighter arena’.
Let’s conclude this review with a mixed aspect: the game modes. On the one hand, the stability of the ‘netcode’ of online multiplayer is to be applauded. On the other hand, the training mode is superfluous. This consists of a series of tests taught by different characters. What is the problem? They are all the same and laughably simple. This is not only a testament to the game’s shallow mechanical depth, but it only serves to earn Kimetsu points. These are used to unlock cosmetic items for the demon slayer profile and outfits.
Can’t forget that The Hinokami Chronicles currently has 18 characters. Although the template will be updated in the coming months, it does not change the fact that 6 of these characters are copies of those already present. Even worse, most of the cast don’t have distinctive mechanics. More than half the characters are “interchangeable.”
Those looking for a ‘fighter arena’ in the style of the Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm and / or are fans of Kimetsu no Yaiba you will find a suitable package in The Hinokami Chronicles. Although nothing deep and somewhat repetitive, the combat system is frenetic and fun. These can be both local and online. The story mode also has high points, even if it can be boring in general. However, we recommend getting the version for Xbox or Steam consoles. On PlayStation platforms, the price is steep for how little it offers compared to previous CyberConnect2 games.
Review made with a digital copy of Demon Slayer (Kimetsu no Yaiba): The Hinokami Chronicles for PS5 provided by Sega.