Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Hinokami Chronicles (PlayStation 5) Review

By Drew Hurley 28.05.2023

Review for Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Hinokami Chronicles on PlayStation 5

When Naruto reached its conclusion in 2014, a gap was left in what had become the mainstay of Shonen Manga. The big three suddenly no more, and when Bleach followed shortly after in 2016, there were plenty of contenders for Shonen's next big thing. While there have been many big things since then, in the space of traditional Shonen, only a few have broken through into the same stratosphere. One of those being, Kimetsu no Yaiba. A series that at one point managed the unbelievable. Dethroning the legendary king of Manga, One Piece, in sales!

Launching before Bleach reached its conclusion back in 2016, this new Shonen series launched with a lot of promise. Kimetsu no Yaiba tells the tale of a young boy named Tanjiro who has a simple but peaceful life. His family is poor but happy, living atop a mountain, with his six siblings and his mother. That is, until the day a demon pays a visit to that mountain. Tanjiro happens to be off at the foot of the mountain selling charcoal in the local village at the time. While he's away, his family is slaughtered. All but his Sister Nezuko, who has a fate worse than death, Nezuko is infected. Turned into a Demon - but Tanjiro refuses to let her go, and in his fight to save her manages to resurrect a piece of humanity within Nezuko. Tanjiro embarks on a quest to join the Demon Slayer Corps. His dream, to somehow save his sister, to retain her humanity, and to go back to the simple life he lost.

This adaptation comes from CyberConnect2, a developer with a proven track record of bringing anime to life in gaming form. From its early beginnings with .hack, to the revolutionary Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm series, and even more recently with Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, the studio knows its anime, and is able to produce exciting adaptations that take full advantage of moving from manga or anime to gaming.

Screenshot for Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Hinokami Chronicles on PlayStation 5

The Hinokami Chronicles takes the first season of the anime, including the follow-up movie Kimetsu no Yaiba: Mugen Train. Giving some consistency for fans of anime-only, taking the story up to the same part viewers have seen, in anticipation of the second season landing in December. The story starts not with those first moments of Nezuko's infection. Instead, the prologue and tutorial of the game begin at the point that Tanjiro is learning to break a bolder. Training with a pair of masked children to learn the basics of fighting Demons. Breathing. It's a pretty standard introduction to the combat and a pretty standard combat system. A quick attack, a heavy attack, a dash, a block, some special moves. The combat in Hinokami Chronicles feels very familiar to the Ultimate Ninja Storm titles, but very much the very first or early titles in that series. It feels like the developer has forgotten much of what it learned along the way.

The underlying problem is with the stuttered and slow combat experience, this basically comes down to the limited amount of combos, and string-able attacks. Meaning, often it's performing the same chain, then dodging back, waiting for another opportunity, spamming the same chain again and repeating. There's some wiggle room for stringing combos into special attacks, but far too many moments of dead space waiting for the enemy to recover or dodging through sequences of the enemy special attacks. It's just lacking in any sort of dynamism or energy.

Screenshot for Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Hinokami Chronicles on PlayStation 5

While the combat may not shine in its execution, it certainly does in its presentation, this is an utterly faithful adaptation, with every little feature and element of each of the cast on show, and with the voice casts in attendance, the presentation really cannot be faulted. It's one area where it's clear CyberConnect has not forgotten what it has previously learned. Delivering a gorgeous experience.

After fighting through the tutorial, the main menu and other modes are unlocked. This is the first of many, many unlocks, and it takes a lot more playing to unlock it all. Like many such games, those wanting to just enjoy some battles against friends in VS mode with the cast of favourite characters will need to not only complete the main story to unlock them all but will need to aim for the coveted S ranks on each stage too.

Following the tutorial, the story mode returns to the beginning of this tale. From here the story is separated into eight separate chapters. Each chapter covers a key part of the arcs of the story, and is made up of different elements. There are 'Memory Fragments' which serve to retell the key events of the story. These use still images from the anime with full voiceover. There are also some of these Memory Fragments that are done like the comedy skits from the end of episodes. Characters act out little conversations before again delivering exposition and snippets from the anime.

Screenshot for Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Hinokami Chronicles on PlayStation 5

Then there are the story elements that contain the actual gameplay. Usually, this is made up of navigating around a small and basic linear area, collecting Memory Fragments to experience later, completing side objectives, like speaking to a set amount of people and finally picking up glowing energy known as Kimetsu points that can be used to purchase rewards. Down to the actual important thing though, then there are the actual fights. Each story chapter throws in some of the iconic showdowns of the story along with a handful of random trash mobs.

Sadly, these battles come far too irregularly. Meaning the majority of the story mode is taken up by slowly wandering around rather bland environments before taking on a battle… with the flawed combat system. Like the Ultimate Ninja Storm games, the highpoint comes in the big boss battles within the story mode. Unfortunately, again, these are like the early entries from the Ultimate Ninja Storm games as opposed to the grand cinematic experience they became in later instalments. Meaning at the conclusion to a boss fight a cinematic Quick Time Event sequence plays out to deliver the final blow.

The story mode itself clocks in at about six hours altogether, but along with replaying to try and achieve the S rank on each story battle, there are also additional secret stages with more challenging enemies to face off against within each chapter. Not to mention, extra objectives on certain stages to unlock all the different characters, and bonus materials like art, quotes, music, and of course, characters. Easily doubling the playtime for those who want to play the completionist. Not to mention the Vs. mode, training mode, and the like.

Screenshot for Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Hinokami Chronicles on PlayStation 5

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 5 out of 10


Series fans will find something to enjoy, yet those simply looking a fighting experience with friends will find this to be frustrating. Considering the studio's history, and the nature of the source material, this could be a natural win, but this is something that is fundamentally flawed. The Story Mode balancing results in far too little actual gameplay, and too much time on slow plodding wanderings through uninspired areas. When it comes to the actual playing, the combat is just as flawed as the rest of it all. Slow, easy to abuse, and repetitive. The only saving graces are the retelling of the source material itself along with the combination of the signature CyberConnect cinematic battles. It's such a shame, but it seems CyberConnect has gone backwards with this adaptation, losing every step of progress they moved on with each subsequent iteration of the Ninja Storm series. Thankfully, the huge popularity of the series almost guarantees there'll be more to come with this series, and CyberConnect may have the chance to revisit the world of Demon Slayer.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

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