Review: Demon Slayer – The Hinokami Chronicles (Switch)

We have sometimes found SEGA publishing games based on manga or anime licenses. This was particularly the case with Bleach on Nintendo consoles, or Hokuto no Ken on Atomiswave at the time, and more recently in a version of the Ryu Ga Gotoku license. In 2021, it’s the turn of Demon Slayer – The Hinokami Chroniclesalso known as Kimetsu no yaiba, to pass into the hands of our favorite publisher. This shōnen is definitely on the rise and is a huge success in Japan. And it is obviously specialists in this type of adaptation that we find at the controls, in the presence of CyberConnect2.

The Switch version

It took eight more months for demon slayer is coming to Switch. In the game of the seven differences, this Switch version is very strong, which is rather a good point. In terms of content, the title is identical to what is offered on Xbox and Playstation. Several additions were made via updates following the initial release. This Switch version inherits these content additions, and in particular the six demons to unlock with points in the dedicated menu, which were really lacking in the original game. The story mode, really not very exciting, is always a compulsory passage point to unlock the content.

Another update offered 60fps on home consoles. The Switch obviously does not benefit from this addition, and the game obviously runs at 30fps. The overall rendering is decent, and the image is still slightly blurry (at least on Switch Lite). Despite this limited framerate, I didn’t feel any particular drop. After that it’s not a feat either, the visuals being all in all rather basic (in particular the sets) and more worthy of the PS360 era than the generation that followed. In summary, demon slayer on Switch is a perfectly suitable port for the medium, and since the latter is not watered in fighting games as much as the home machines, it is an interesting choice for those looking for an accessible title.

All demons are evil and must die, except my sister!

demon slayer unfolds the usual recipe for successful shōnen, namely placing a key character with a strong objective, creating a close-knit group of friends, a ton of enemies and ever more intense fights where the characters constantly exceed their own limits. The visual style is very similar to naruto, with rather childish designs, in total opposition to the incredible violence of the confrontations, often very gory. The enemies are all demons, and also very reminiscent of those of naruto in terms of design.

The story puts us in the shoes of Tanjirō Kamado, a young boy whose family is savagely killed by a demon, his sister Nezuko being the only survivor. Only the latter was injured and finds herself transformed into a demon. She is not aggressive, however, which is unprecedented, and Tanjirō swears to himself that he will save her one way or another. He begins his journey with intense training, then joins the ranks of the Demon Slayers, his goal being to find the original demon, who can supposedly heal Nezuko.

The hit manga has had an anime adaptation by the studio ufotableone of the best in Japan, to whom we owe many adaptations of works by TYPE-MOONmy favorite being Kara no Kyoukai and FateZeroa prequel to the series Fate. We find their characteristic style on demon slayerwith a huge production and jaw-dropping animations.

Excusez moi !

CyberConnect2 unfold here the usual formula of their anime adaptations in video games, without surprise. demon slayer takes the form of an arena combat game with a view placed at an angle, behind the character. You can move freely in all directions, and a range of classic actions is available: jump, attack, parry, special attack or even rush into the opponent. Added to this is the ability to call an ally as reinforcements or change places with him, an ultimate attack and a two-level awakening mode, which allows you to move faster and take advantage of unlimited special attacks.

The title offers quite a few game modes. There is first of all a story mode divided into chapters. You can have scenes for narration, explore small areas or even review memories, built from still images taken from the anime. If the whole makes it possible to understand the story without problem, I found the quality of the realization, and mainly of the animations, frankly weak in this part. The characters walk like robots, and all have the same animation. It feels like going back twenty years. Scenes, on the other hand, are extremely static. The worst part is that the fights are super neat, as usual from CyberConnect2which ends up accentuating the contrast.

The exploration phases turned out to be boring and repetitive. It is nice to discover known places, as simple as it is, but the actions to be carried out are really basic. It will be a question of going through a few corridors and going to the end of the branches to pick up stuff, with from time to time an enemy that we will always defeat in the same way: by turning around to wait for him to finish. attack, in order to stick him some combos. It’s not exciting! On top of that, the main character spends his time talking to himself and repeating the same phrases. The developers must have realized that the AI ​​was not up to the job, because for the last fights, the latter finds itself decked out with totally abused advantages, such as the fact that it is hardly interrupted by our attacks… In the end, if the story part is not exciting, the fights are very successful, dynamic and pretty, with a lot of care given to special moves and ultimate attacks.

This passage through the story mode is mandatory since it allows you to unlock the content, and in particular, the characters. It would have been fashionable for it to be more fun insofar as it is imposed. In addition to this, the game offers online or offline versus, training, tutorials and a menu where to unlock rewards. It should also be noted that the game offers twelve basic characters, and that six others are additional content which can be accessed according to the pack that has been purchased. These are staggered versions of the existing characters, and considering the roster is a little weak, it seems to me a shame not to offer the set to all buyers.

I can smell blood!

For those looking for deep and technical fights, you will have to look elsewhere. The desire is clearly to offer a game for fans with simple systems to leave no one on the sidelines. Which does not prevent having fun, we agree. Only I felt like I was playing the exact same game as Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 12 years ago. It hasn’t changed much, everything is the same. The combo system with up/down variations, race to opponent etc. Even the QTEs in the story mode are implemented the same way.

In terms of production, I found the interfaces very successful as well as the entire combat system, which has been refined over the past twelve years. It is unquestionably very beautiful to look at. The soundtrack was also very immersive. The story phases, on the other hand, were not up to par, with an asthmatic framerate at the slightest rotation of the camera. Other bad news, the characters that were blocked in DLC on Playstation and Xbox are still blocked on Switch.

In conclusion, I would recommend demon slayer exclusively for fans, who will find something to have fun with the title. People who are not fans of the series and are looking for a more technical experience can take a look at the game kill la kill on PS4 (also an arena fighting game), and to stay on Xbox but in a different style, the very recent and excellent Melty Blood Type Luminaalso from a Japanese license.

With Demon Slayer – The Hinokami Chronicles, CyberConnect2 unroll their usual recipe. Everything is immediately recognizable, whether it’s the simple and accessible gameplay, or the fluid visual rendering (but in 30fps) and pleasant to watch. The Story mode is generally disappointing, in addition to being a compulsory passage to access the content. The roster is also limited and no demons are playable at launch… On top of that, some additional characters are locked behind the “deluxe” version of the game, which costs more. In short, on launch day, it’s minimum service for Demon Slayer, which is an agreed-upon, playable adaptation. That’s also the problem with releasing games that aren’t finished…