Demon Slayer is a phenomenon, so it getting its first console game isn’t shocking. Odds are, it will be the first of many. Similarly, it is coming from CyberConnect2! It’s a company well known for anime game adaptations like multiple .hack// installments, the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja series, and recently Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot. Which means it shouldn’t be surprising that in its early hours, Demon Slayer: The Hinokami Chronicles feels like other fighters the company’s made. Though there are similarities with its “siblings,” there’s also a sense of growth.
In particular, as I started to play Demon Slayer: The Hinokami Chronicles, it made me feel a bit like Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 did. Each one begins with a tutorial fight involving a pivotal moment in the original series. The UI layout is similar. So is the general perspective. After all, this is a 3D anime fighter with character models and designs pulling from the original series. Enemies telegraph attack areas, so you can see the red outlines that let you know if you are in range. There are also quick-time events as you fight for certain special moves. It’s as though Tanjiro is really preparing to use certain sorts of attacks. And like the Naruto game, this Demon Slayer title features Story Mode Storyboards. Nodes show the segments you’ll play through and memories you’ll unlock.
A sense of accessibility also present in Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is in this Demon Slayer game. Like that action game with battles structured like ones from a fighter, Hinokami Chronicles lists your basic moves on the left side of the screen. It’s a constant reminder of how to use abilities like a Chase Dash, Light Attack, Quick Step, or Skill. There is ample space to move about an area, be it in a fight or when visiting a Story Mode area. And when you pull up a map in an area? It shows points of interest! Like blue exclamation points for Reward Mission places to visit and yellow sparkles for Kimetsu Points to collect. Helpful information is presented in a concise fashion.
Once someone gets into the Demon Slayer: The Hinokami Chronicles Story Mode, even more progress is apparent. Tanjiro explores areas pertinent to his journey. This means checking in with people both just to chat or because they are relevant to a Reward Mission, finding Kimetsu Points and Memory Fragments, and encountering fights. There’s no dedicated jump button. Still, designated areas let Tanjiro leap or slide to reach different spots. If you stand still, reminders pop up to let you know what you still need to accomplish. And if I had trouble finding something related to an objective? All I needed to do was make Tanjiro follow his nose. Things are also relatively well explained. That should make it easy for people not as familiar with the series to jump into it.
None of these points ever feel like bad things in Demon Slayer: The Hinokami Chronicles. In my first few hours, it instead felt like a natural evolution for CyberConnect2. The developer pulled from things it knew how to do and do well, and used that experience for this Demon Slayer game. In so doing, it created a title that seems like it is paying tribute and offering what players would expect from the team based on its history.
Demon Slayer: The Hinokami Chronicles will appear on the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Windows PC. It releases on October 14, 2021 in Japan and on October 15, 2021 worldwide.