Demon Slayer is published by SEGA, developed by CyberConnect2, and will be available on Playstation 4|5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC. This review was done on the PS5, and the timing for release is perfect, as season 2 of Demon Slayer has just started. So grab your Nichirin blade and get ready to slay some demons, but don’t worry, no major spoilers will be covered in the story section.
The story of Demon Slayer follows season one of the anime, which also includes the Mugen Train movie. Follow the story of Tanjiro Kamado as he sets off to become a demon slayer after an attack on his family. Suffering the loss of his mother and siblings, and finding that his sister, Nezuko, has been turned into a demon, his new goal is to find a cure and get revenge for his family. As Tanjiro and Nezuko venture onward, they meet new demon slayer recruit allies, Zenitsu and Inosuke, as they form a unique team featuring skill, brute strength, and… cowardly thoughts, but they still happen to always come out on top.
Fans of the anime will get to play out key moments from the Demon Slayer trials to the Mugen Train fight, each zone will have a small free roam section before it triggers the boss fight. You can find items stashed away to interact with, and doing so will unlock extra cutscenes, profile titles, and quotes, so when you are playing online with others, you can display your favourite character and quotes from the show. The campaign is quite short but still offers a great fanfare to be able to play out the big fights that we have seen.
So how’s the combat? It is like the majority of anime fighting games we have seen in the past, with open areas where fast dashes will close in the gaps, and quick slash combos finished off with a skill attack will be the main form of combat. The skill attacks will reflect on the characters’ form of training they’ve learned, and as an example, Tanjiro will perform his water breathing techniques. Pressing the skill attack with no other input will do a basic attack, forward and skill will do a chasing attack, while grab and skill will do an uppercut skill move. When the player’s focus bar on the bottom of the screen is filled, you can unleash the ultimate attack by pressing the corresponding trigger button.
This launches a massive blow on your enemy, but be aware of how much space you need to land the hit because if you miss it, the bar will be depleted and will start filling again while you fight on. During major boss encounters from the series, right before the fight ends, you’ll play a quick time event to finish off the fight, which will then blend into the scene from the anime. The transition is quite fluid at times and I didn’t notice what was still game or anime during these fights. The combat overall felt easy, even when I was doing missions in the hard setting, but it did feel a bit repetitive as I kept going with the combos that I found always worked best.
Demon Slayer has great voiceovers from the anime that carry over as you are taking part in fights. Tanjiro will self narrate just like he does in the show, so there is always a presence of audio in and out of combat. If you are a fan of Demon Slayer, you’ll also recognise the music from the show, and this will be a great hit of fanfare to play. The graphics are done really well during the in-game cutscenes and through to the transitions of parts from the show.
It was difficult to tell which was which, as they are both done really well. I only noticed realized I was in-game after a snippet of anime when I had control over the conversation box to progress what was being said. The characters are modeled perfectly from the show, but the levels needed extra work done to them, particularly in the free-roam portion before finishing off the boss in the area. In some areas, this felt like a good addition, whereas one level really stuck out as being bland to explore, as it was just the same room reused, but that was due to the area the story took place in, which is the Demon Mansion, or as I call it, the Bongo Slapping House. This level actually held one of my favourite boss fights to play.
There is local and online versus where you will pick two characters. When you are using one character, the other can be called in by tapping the support button. They will appear on the field and do a skill attack, or if you hold down the support button, they will tag in and become the active character. The health and focus bars are shared, so swapping out characters if you are taking a beating will still have you on the low side of the health bar.
In conclusion Demon Slayer: The Hinokami Chronicles is a great game for fans of the anime. It is easy to pick up and play, but sadly, just as easy to put down and move on. With season 2 now started, I wonder if there will be future DLC adding on to the story, or even giving us new characters to play, as I did enjoy my time playing this game. Unfortunately, it just was too short and felt a little rushed, and with Tanjiro being the main lead for the show and game, it really did get the Goku treatment in terms of playable characters, as there are 3 variants of the same character for versus instead of an option to pick which point of story arc when picking Tanjiro.
- Didn’t change anything from the show
- Great transitions from game to anime sections
- Easy to pick up and play
- Being able to do the epic fights from the show
- Great for fans of the show
- The overall game was short
- Tanjiro taking up 3 slots of playable characters
- Combat can get repetitive
- Easy to put down and forget about