The anime series “Demon Slayer” (or “The Blade Cleaving Demons” in an unofficial but more familiar translation) turned out to be incredibly popular among fans of Japanese animation, and the full-length film “Demon Slayer: The Infinite Train”, which was released after that, completely beat several records not only in Japan, but also in the Russian box office. Given this, it would be strange not to release a game adaptation. Moreover, the plot of the anime begs for this directly. And so it happened: on October 15, 2021, a fighting game was released under the long title Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Hinokami Chronicles, and in this review we will tell you about what the game is.
The plot of the game does not start from the very beginning. The first mission focuses on part of Tanjiro Kamodo’s training, which in the anime took place only in the third episode. The decision to choose this point as a starting point turned out to be the right one. First, we have the opportunity to immediately familiarize ourselves with the combat system without watching the half-hour cutscenes. Secondly, it is very symbolic – when the main character learns, we also study the basic techniques available in the game.
Telling a coherent and detailed story in fighting games is never easy. Most often, we have to watch videos, between which random battles take place, and in the Guilty Gear series, plot videos are taken out in a separate section. In The Hinokami Chronicles, the developers in most cases managed to find an excellent balance between cutscenes, exploring the world and, in fact, the battles themselves.
Each chapter offers a specific location from the anime, through which we can navigate, finding additional bonuses and fighting enemies. Similar to jRPG, the enemy can suddenly pounce on you, after which the scene moves to a separate battlefield. However, this is not at all annoying, since this usually happens 2-3 times during the entire mission. Locations may have some unique mechanics taken from the anime, such as teleportation to random rooms from the drum arc.
Not without bosses, each of which has its own characteristics. The developers managed to adapt the abilities of the demons in the game quite well, adding a variety of mechanics to each battle. In addition, some skirmishes that ended in seconds in the anime turned into full-fledged battles here.
So that the whole game does not consist of continuous videos, the developers decided to include only the most important moments in the main plot, without spoiling the logic of the narrative. The rest was not removed, but taken out in separate videos with static images from the anime. You can view them using special fragments of memory, some of which are scattered across locations, and the other part is given to everyone after the completion of each chapter. Something similar happened in the Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm series, but here they are directly related to the current plot and you do not have to spend a lot of time on them. By the way, some fragments are made in the form of humorous inserts, which were shown at the end of the anime series.
The storytelling in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Hinokami Chronicles is not perfect, although it is much better than in other similar games, so players who are not familiar with anime series or manga may have problems understanding the plot. In addition, the game does not allow you to get the same emotions as when watching the original work, so if the story is important to you, then be sure to watch the anime before starting the walkthrough.
However, even for a fan of “Blade” there is something new. First of all, these are Tanjiro’s comments that accompany individual missions or the same aforementioned fragments. You can find out what he thought about a particular situation and, perhaps, look at the event from a different angle. Moreover, in some moments we can even hear the thoughts of the constantly silent Nezuko. This, of course, does not reveal anything new, but the bonus is still nice. It is also possible to simply chat with different characters during missions.
Fortunately, the plot of the game was not diluted with completely unnecessary and illogical battles in the spirit of “Oh, hello, let’s fight for warm-up”, as the creators of fighting games like to do. All battles are taken from the main story of the anime, with the exception of the aforementioned random encounters. In the sixth and seventh chapters, you don’t have to fight anyone at all – just watch the cutscenes, play mini-games and move around the map, collecting bonuses and talking with NPCs. However, each chapter includes one optional mission, where you just fight with a certain demon.
The combat system in The Hinokami Chronicles has been made very casual, and it’s understandable why. Still, the game is designed primarily for an anime fan, and it will not be so easy for an inexperienced gamer to memorize complex combinations. Therefore, if you want at least a small challenge, then try to pass all battles with an S grade. To do this, you must use the entire arsenal of available techniques and try not to receive damage. Fortunately, the game has a very convenient function – the ability to replay absolutely any battle, even with an ordinary “mob”, without completely replaying the mission. This will be useful for trophy hunters as well.
In battle, in fact, only two buttons are used: a normal attack and a skill (enhanced attack). They can be combined to create a powerful chain of strikes. In order to avoid damage, it is necessary to use dodge or block. Parrying allows you to stun an attacking enemy, but it is quite difficult to accomplish it – especially in online PvP, where there is a delay. Perhaps this is the only hardcore mechanic that requires a good reaction from the player.
Using the skill spends a special energy scale that fills up over time (the process accelerates when stationary). There is also a separate scale, which, when filled, can be spent on two actions: a super move or a boost that enhances attacks. You can take a chance and wait until the meter fills up twice or even three times so that the super attack deals more damage. All actions are performed by the same buttons for all characters, so you don’t have to spend a lot of time studying each one.
In Versus mode, where it is possible to fight against a real person or a bot, players choose two fighters at once, between which they can switch. However, unlike many other fighting games, they share one common health bar. An additional character is mainly needed for two purposes: interrupting a combo and dealing damage. Both actions are performed with one button, depending on the current situation. If you are under a flurry of blows, the ally will save you, and in other cases he will help you strike. Of course, this also requires a special resource.
There are currently 18 characters in the game and 6 more will be added in free updates. This is not to say that this is very small – in principle, the standard size of the starting roster. But it’s sad that 6 of them are literally skins. For example, how do you like the opportunity to play as schoolboy Tanjiro or teacher Giyu from those humorous inserts at the end of anime episodes? In this game, they are considered separate characters, but at the same time you cannot in one team, for example, the usual Tanjiro and his alternative version. As a result, it turns out that in fact there are only 12 original characters in The Hinokami Chronicles, and this is not so many.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Hinokami Chronicles suffers from the same sores as other anime games. However, despite this, the game is really able to give positive emotions to the fan of the “Demon Slayer” universe. Fighting pleases with cute graphics and spectacular battle scenes, and also allows you to survive the very events and play as familiar characters.