Demon Slayer: The Hinokami Chronicles review: A middling fighting game

Shueisha /

Title: Demon Slayer: The Hinokami Chronicles
Developer: CyberConnect2
Publishers: Sega
Platforms: PS5 (reviewed on), PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: October 13, 2021

As a huge fan of the anime Demon Slayer, I was beyond excited to play The Hinokami Chronicles. Upon playing it, however, I was left a little disappointed. The combat felt fun to play but also like a game that couldn’t decide what it wanted to be.

The combat can be simplified to Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm with fewer specials and a clunky parry mechanic. The parry doesn’t work as you would think it should; you can’t break a combo with that or even start blocking in the middle of that combo. Like Dragon Ball FighterZ, once that combo starts, you are hands-off until it’s done. Additionally, the block can be broken if you’re against an enemy that knows how to press triangle/Y at the right time to extend their combo to almost an infinite.

The boss fights in this game actually do a pretty good job of making you feel like you’re a member of the demon slayer corps, by making you feel weaker than the enemies while making it still feel very fun. Those gripes aside this is a fun although simple combat form that does the job it needs to. There aren’t a lot of characters and the ones there are either feel totally different from each other or like clones of Tanjiro, let alone the actual clones of characters in different skins.

Most of this game takes place in exploration segments or cutscenes. You start the new chapter walking around looking for secrets and talking to people to “locate” the demon. This feels pretty good almost like a hyper contained version of Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, minus the flying.

Few complaints aside these sections are the shining star of this game, with several collectibles and varied areas to explore. They feel like what they’re supposed to be, whether an abandoned mountain, major city, or a small Japanese village. The cutscenes do a great job of depicting and pushing forward the story of the demon slayer anime into a game, but I wish they weren’t such a huge portion of the story. I feel like as great as these portions were this should be an open-world RPG ala previously mentioned Kakarot.

Overall I’m going to say this is a good game, but I found it lacking and kind of rushed out with so much potential. The fact that you can’t play most of the boss characters because they’re balanced around mechanics that again would fit more in an Action RPG game than the arena fighter this is.

The arenas aren’t as interesting to fight in as the areas you explore even though the story is a flash in the pan and this game relies on playing against friends or players online. I’m hoping Cyber-Connect2 and Sega can collaborate again and make something even better when they have more time to put something together.

Demon Slayer: The Hinokami Chronicles (PS5) Score: 6.5

A middling exploration game with subpar fighting mechanics, it’ll be harder to enjoy Demon Slayer: The Hinokami Chronicles if you’re not already a fan.