Alright, so anime games like this are always hit or miss. For every FighterZ and Attack on Titan 2 we get garbage like the Fairy Tail RPG and Re:ZERO: Prophecy of the Throne. Now – as a Demon Slayer fan – I went into this one hoping it would fall into the former category.
So, let’s start with the actual core to the game: the fighting. The Hinokami Chronicles comes from the same developers behind the popular Naruto: Ultimate Ninja series – so yes, the gameplay is pretty much the same. It’s an arena-based anime fighter with all the flashy moves, references to the source material, and mechanics that you would expect from one of these games.
The devs are obviously experienced with this type of game and it shows here. The moves all look great in motion, the combat flows well, and it’s incredibly accessible for newcomers. Stringing together 30-40 hit combos is something you will be doing with only a little bit of experience – it is by no means a difficult game. The assist feature is nice to have too, allowing you to string together even longer combos or straight-up switch out mid-fight (both characters share the same health bar though).
So yes, the game has the basics down – but that is unfortunately where my praise for it ends. I hate to say it, but literally everything else about the Hinokami Chronicles is just a massive disappointment. The combat, for all it does well, gets very repetitive very quickly. The movesets are too limited, a lot of the characters feel and play the same, and I was not the biggest fan of the hard limit placed on how long your combos can be. Granted, the devs probably had to do that to avoid infinite juggling – which you can easily pull off on certain characters.
Regardless, the overall feel is just bland. It’s the type of fighting game where I was drawn in by the Demon Slayer name only to be bored after not even an hour. The story mode, for example, is one of the most tacked-on and poorly designed campaigns I have ever seen in a game like this. The marketing made it out to be this bigger thing, but most of the time you’re simply walking your character to the next fight.
That or you’re pressing a single button to inspect objects or talk with people – but even that is limited to just a few lines of dialogue each time and serves no bigger purpose outside of giving the story mode this false sense of substance. There is some platforming, but it is completely on-rails and all you need to do is hold in the direction of where to jump – so honestly, no different from the walking.
When you’re not doing the whole walking thing or in a fight, you are playing through the story of Demon Slayer – which this game adapts up to the Mugen Train arc. If you are not already familiar with the series, the story might honestly be a bit confusing here. It is very condensed and plays out quickly, leaving little time to really care for these characters or the events going on.
And outside of that, yes there is some side content, but it is almost entirely just extra fights or bonus story scenes – nothing of actual substance. I mean, I did like being able to unlock new characters, stages, and costumes by playing through the story mode, but that’s pretty much it.
Difficulty-wise, this game is insanely easy. The story mode did not appear to have a difficulty selection, so I blasted through that without dying at all, but even when I hopped into versus mode and set the CPU to “very hard” I still had not trouble slapping them around. In all of my hours of playing (the story mode itself takes about seven to clear), I never died or even lost a single round. In fact, a lot of the time you can simply win by grab spamming.
As stated before, it is not difficult by any means, perhaps to the extreme. I couldn’t escape this overall feeling that the game was designed for a different audience in mind. Not just Demon Slayer fans in general, but the much younger Demon Slayer fans. I mean yeah, Demon Slayer is a shounen series so it’s not too far off, but the story mode literally gives you tutorial popups for the simplest of tasks. Combined with the incredibly easy difficulty even when maxed and yeah, maybe I’m just not the type of Demon Slayer fan the game is looking for.
I will give the game some credit though – it at least looks great and has some good music. I played on PS5 and didn’t have any technical issues outside of being locked to 30 fps. I was told there would be a day 1 patch adding online multiplayer and other fixes and was also told that the PS5, Xbox Series X, and Steam versions will be getting a 60 fps patch as well – although not clear if that is part of the day 1 patch.
Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Hinokami Chronicles is a bit of a mess. Tacked-on and boring story mode, bland combat, repetitive game design – it’s simply not worth the time even for hardcore Demon Slayer fans. It at least has some nice graphics and music – and I won’t deny I had fun for maybe the first hour or so – but beyond that I cannot in good faith recommend it.
Quote: The Hinokami Chronicles is a bit of a mess. Tacked-on and boring story mode, bland combat, repetitive game design – it’s simply not worth the time even for hardcore Demon Slayer fans.
Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Hinokami Chronicles retails for $60 USD on Steam, but you can get an official Steam key for 10% off using my Gamesplanet partner link. It is also available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.
I was provided a review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.