The first video game adaptation of the phenomenon was released last month. Demon Slayer. With success ?
Combat + exploration
At the controls, we find CyberConnect 2, mainly known for the adaptations of Naruto, some of the games of which are among the best adaptations in manga video games. In the game, we quickly find ourselves in familiar territory, with a fairly simple 3D combat system on the one hand and exploration phases on the other. Let’s see this in detail.
The combat system is very classic. There is only one basic attack touch, plus a few techniques (breaths or bloodthirsty powers) and a grip. So do not expect to make particularly worked combos: the principle of the game is based more on the evasion and the parry of the enemy attacks, the time that the bar of technique goes up and that one can again abuse it. In addition, it is possible to fight with an ally, allowing to exchange places with him (but the points of life are common) or to ask him an offensive or defensive intervention.
The whole has the advantage of being easy to learn, if not very rich. The combat system of Demon Slayer will certainly not become a reference and it still seems less successful than that of Dragon Ball, Naruto or Jump Force, but it allows you to easily immerse yourself in the story without having too much difficulty in understanding how it works.
In addition, there are two types of clashes present in the story mode. The majority are straightforward fights, occurring without warning and ending within minutes. However, there are also a few boss fights (one or two per chapter), which are phased and end with QTEs. Nothing too penalizing and this helps to boost the gameplay, although QTEs are clearly not my favorite part of a video game.
The exploration phases are also quite disappointing. The first contact is however very positive: it is pleasant that the game is not limited to a succession of fights. It is indeed possible to move and collect various rewards in the process, which is appreciable. However, in some chapters this exploration feels like a must-do that the developers have taken for themselves, even if it doesn’t make much sense. Indeed, it often happens that the open world boils down to a long corridor in which the rewards are simply found on the periphery. The pleasure of actually exploring, of finding many different paths, is all too rarely present.
Bla bla bla
Demon Slayer, however, has one important difference with other manga adaptations: he is particularly talkative. Concretely, if we consider that the chapters of the story mode are about an hour, the cutscenes and the dialogues occupy about two thirds of this duration.
It is a double-edged choice. On the one hand, we understand that this is aimed at fans of manga or anime and the result is up to their expectations: the animation, the dubbing and the music are of quality. Also, as a fan of narrative games, I can’t decently criticize a game for being too talkative.
Finally Yes ; I have all the rights after all. Indeed, there is a major difference between an original narrative game and an adaptation: in one case, the story is known. I must admit that as much as I love discovering new stories, rediscovering a story that I already know well motivates me little.
However, this narration is really at the heart of the experience offered by the game. Indeed, as I said, it is possible to obtain objects during the exploration phases, but they are always “fragments of” memories “, unlocking … new cutscenes, further enriching the narrative.
It’s hard to blame Demon Slayer for being what it promises: a very faithful adaptation, easy to handle and which draws its strength from its fan-service. Maybe I’m not a fan of the manga enough, maybe I’m just too old, but I must admit that a simple adaptation is no longer enough for me: I would have liked a richer gameplay, especially during the phases exploration, and a more innovative, perhaps even original, story. Yes, it is nice to play the characters that we discovered in the manga or in the anime (even if Zenitsu is particularly unpleasant), but I would have preferred to discover new ones, at another time. Basically, Demon Slayer – The Hinokami Chronicles so probably just wasn’t for me. Pity. However, the story being for the moment incomplete (it stops at the arc of Train of Infinity), it’s likely that there will be other attempts, which makes sense for such a popular series. So let’s hope that the next ones will be better.
Test performed by Alandring on PlayStation 5 from a version provided by the publisher.