Demon Slayer – Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Hinokami Chronicles is an arena fighter from the team at CyberConnect2 and published by SEGA. The Hinokami Chronicles releases on October 15th on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and Steam.
The Hinokami Chronicles follows Tanjiro Kamado on his journey to turn his sister Nezuko back into a human after he discovers the rest of his family has been killed, and Nezuko has been turned into a demon. The game features an interesting cast of characters that you meet throughout your journey, and each of them is voiced by the same voice actors from the Demon Slayer anime. There are plenty of emotional highs throughout, and the story is very clearly the highlight of the game. I felt very attached to Tanjiro and Nezuko throughout and was desperate to see Tanjiro’s mission succeed. The performances by the cast are also top-notch.
The core gameplay for The Hinokami Chronicles is relatively straightforward. Each chapter contains an area to walk around to collect items and fight demons on your way to the mission objective. The “open-world” sections were probably my least favorite parts of the game, but the combat sections more than made up for the mundane exploration. I put open world in quotations because it isn’t genuinely open; every location is contained within a relatively small map. That definitely helped keep the pacing from feeling too off, but it was still weird to go from fast-paced combat to slow exploration that didn’t really leave much room actually to explore. There are memory fragments to find in these areas, which help give even more context to the story as you progress.
Outside of the story, the combat in The Hinokami Chronicles is where the game really shines. Fighting feels incredibly fluid and is not too difficult to learn. The bosses definitely get harder the further you get into the game, which I really appreciated. The first few battles are incredibly easy, but you need to learn to adapt and use new techniques if you want to succeed later on. Each boss has slightly different mechanics and are all pretty interesting, although it would have been nice to see a bit more variety.
The story isn’t the only place to enjoy combat, though, as an excellent Versus Mode is unlocked after completing the prologue where players can fight head-to-head against each other. You can choose from any of the unlockable characters to play as. You also get to have a second character join you to help utilize the fascinating assist function that I really enjoyed. These characters, and even different costumes for those characters, are unlocked via the Story and Training modes. I definitely see myself spending plenty of time in Versus Mode, both online and offline, with friends once the game is released. I’m not the biggest fighting game fan, but the animation and feel of the combat in The Hinokami Chronicles are so good that I can easily see myself hooked on it for a long time going forward.
I mentioned the animation, and it’s a crucial thing to touch on because The Hinokami Chronicles is an incredibly beautiful-looking game. The 3D animation style works perfectly, and the occasional 2D scenes that appear also fit very well. I love how distinct each location looks and feels, and the character designs and fighting animations are just incredible. The style and look help make the combat and even the limited exploration feel even better.
SEGA has also confirmed the game will receive a 60FPS update for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X (not S), and Steam after the game launches. I didn’t have any issues playing at 30FPS, but I know it’s going to feel significantly smoother and more enjoyable once that update is live. There are also playable demon characters being added in the future, but no date has been given. However, I do think the game could use a slightly larger roster, so that will be nice to see.
Overall, The Hinokami Chronicles is an enjoyable arena fighter with a really intriguing story. There are moments where the game feels a bit too slow or uninteresting during the exploration moments, but the combat makes up for it. Fans of Demon Slayer will love playing through The Hinokami Chronicles, and even newcomers to the series will enjoy this well-done fighting game.
Demon Slayer - Kimetsu no Yaiba - The Hinokami Chronicles
- Rating - 8/108/10
Overall, The Hinokami Chronicles is an enjoyable arena fighter with a really intriguing story. There are moments where the game feels a bit too slow or uninteresting during the exploration moments, but the combat makes up for it. Fans of Demon Slayer will love plaything through The Hinokami Chronicles, and even newcomers to the series will enjoy this well-done fighting game.