Suppose there is one thing we can say about CyberConnect2 anime-based games. In that case, it is that most of them have clear ideas and an unmistakable stamp: cel-shading graphics of exquisite quality, video sequences that leave us with the jaw completely dislodged, a mime sick towards the original material and too simple gameplay that is usually relegated to a secondary plane.
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot and the Naruto Shippuden series: Ultimate Ninja Storm are good examples of this, and this is just what we have found in Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Hinokami Chronicles, the first video game adaptation that It has become this successful and exciting series that has already conquered millions of readers and viewers around the world while continuing to break all kinds of records. A title that has offered us one of the most faithful and spectacular recreations that we have ever seen in the history of any manga, but that also comes with serious shortcomings that prevent it from achieving the excellence that the license deserves.
Thus, we are faced with a new 3D fighting game in which we can move freely through the scenarios while we face our rivals and put into practice a series of simple combos and powerful techniques. As you can imagine, the controls are straightforward. At the mechanical level, it is a minimal title. We will only have three basic combinations of blows that we can lengthen and chain by introducing unique movements in between and invoking our partner to make attack assistance.
Of course, this leads to fights in which we repeat the same combos repeatedly, so what is important here is knowing how to move with heads on the battlefield while managing and using our resources appropriately to get caught. Unprepared the enemy and open your defence.
There is a simple stopping system with counterattack, dodge and blocking that brings some interest to the confrontations by allowing us to punish those players who dedicate themselves to punching buttons and attacking like crazy, as well as the fact that the decisive blow of all characters gives us super maturity, but don’t expect anything too deep.
The duels can be two against 2, although there will only be one active character from each team, calling the one in reserve to carry out an attack or putting us to safety when receiving a combo. In addition, we can exchange control with him if we want, although the life bar is shared between both, so you will not recover health when doing so.
The spectacular and devastating definitive attacks that activate their cinematic sequence when hitting are not missing, which can be enhanced if we use them with several charges of our special meter. This indicator can also be used to temporarily strengthen our fighter, adding an extra hit to his combos and increased movement speed, energy regeneration, and damage.
If we are honest, fighting is an entertaining and gratifying experience visually. However, its gameplay is so essential that the fuse runs out too quickly, a problem that other similar games solve with well-nourished character templates. Still, here it is aggravated by a very scarce and bleak selection of fighters.
For practical purposes, we have 18 characters, of which 3 of them are different versions of Tanjiro, and another five are the high school versions of various fighters, which have been raised as independent warriors instead of simple skins in a desperate attempt to add contents. In addition, there are also several of them that have barely had a presence in the series or that we have not even seen a fight.
We can understand that being a game that only covers what has been adapted to the anime, that is, the first season and the movie Infinity Train (about eight volumes of the manga), it has many limitations when it comes to introducing characters, but serious here is that all the villains of these first arcs have been left out. Yes, the developer will introduce them later through free downloadable content. Still, we find it inexcusable that something as important as this is not available from its launch day, especially when considering how tremendously similar all the fighters are at the level of controls.
It may have left us a bit cold as a fighting game, but we would be lying if we told you that we had not enjoyed our time enough with this CyberConnect2 work. The reason? It’s brilliant Story Mode. As we have said before, this ranges from Tanjiro’s training to become a demon slayer to the end of the Infinity Train arc, which is equivalent to about 7 or 8 hours in length.
The best thing is that the studio has raised it as if it were a kind of interactive anime that narrates with extreme fidelity and meticulousness the history of the series, to the point of leaving almost no dialogue in the pipeline, all accompanied by a Superb staging that has made our hair stand on end on more than one occasion reliving the great moments of anime.
It is simply amazing how even the banalest dialogues look. They have spared no resources for capturing all the faces, gestures, and expressions that we saw in the series, which has surprised us by the cast of characters like Zenitsu. We could talk at length about how specific sequences have been reproduced frame by frame and with a technical quality practically indistinguishable from the animated series. Still, it is worth discovering for yourself since we can’t do justice with words alone to what the developer has achieved this time, reaching levels much higher than that seen in any of its previous titles.
It is perfectly possible that someone who has never seen the anime or read the manga plays this game and can fully enjoy its story without missing anything along the way, getting excited even at its critical points as they would in any other format. I said an authentic past to which we could only attribute very slight censorship in a couple of specific scenes. Of course, we have to warn you that what you are going to play is a tiny percentage of the total hours you will dedicate until you reach the end since it is a modality in which videos and dialogues are the main protagonists.
In general, its playable sections are divided into two distinct types: exploration and combat. The first ones have seemed expendable to us since they will only allow us to move through tiny and linear maps while we inspect the points that mark us and little else. We honestly do not believe that they contribute anything beyond serving as procedures to give us control from time to time between so many cinematographic sequences.
The good news is that we liked the combats much more since they are not planned as simple Versus Mode confrontations against the AI but as bosses and enemies more typical of an ARPG. In this way, all of them tend to have their unique mechanics and patterns, with lots of telegraphed attacks that we must learn to dodge, moments in which they are empowered and unleashed all their power and even attacks that we cannot stop with simple blows.
Thanks to this, an interesting “dance” is created with our rivals in which we must learn to predict their attacks and find the exact moment in which we can take advantage of to punish them with a good combo. It is not that they are incredibly complex confrontations, but they have been very entertaining to us. They have made us enjoy reliving the best battles of the anime, where you can see the care that CC2 has put when it comes to capturing the abilities of each demon so that the fights are very varied and faithful to what is seen on television. And yes, some bosses have spectacular QTE sequences that will leave you with your mouth wide open.
In addition to all this, we will be able to unlock special combats and additional sequences in which they tell us some details that are left out of the development of the main story. It has been given a replay point with the challenge of achieving the S rank in all the fighting, something that we are already warning you that is not easy at all in certain bosses (getting this in the Infinity Train series has made us sweat).
Speaking of unlocking things, progressing in Story Mode is essential to gain access to much of the game’s content, as each chapter contains a good handful of additional challenges that will help us to achieve all kinds of things in its corresponding rewards panel, which includes settings and characters for Versus Mode.
Unfortunately, beyond the story, there is not much to scratch at the content level. There is a Training Mode in which we can fight in challenges of increasing difficulty against each character while trying to meet requirements such as performing a 15-hit combo or using a superior technique. Still, since there are ten fights against each fighter, it is a modality that has finished us getting bored relatively early by the sense of repetition it transmits. For its part, the Versus Mode allows us to fight against the CPU or another player both locally and online, with the latter option having scored and casual games depending on how competitive we are.
Where we can not put a single fault is in its overwhelming and sensational graphics, offering us one of the best uses we’ve ever seen of cel-shading in a video game. The animations, the designs, the modelling, the staging, the facial expressions, the gestures, the effects … Everything reaches very high levels with moments that are virtually indistinguishable from anime. Perhaps it is on the stages where it is most noticeable that we are facing a game, but we can assure you that the show that it puts on-screen at all times is an absolute outrage. And we say this about its version of PS4 because it is the only one we have had access to, so you can rest assured if you have not yet leaped the new generation.
To top it off, we are forced to applaud the inclusion of the series’ magnificent soundtrack and how tremendously well used it is to sound the same songs in the same scenes, which helps to elevate the soundtrack to unsuspected heights. Epic and fidelity to the original material that we have spoken of so many times throughout this analysis. And yes, this includes the movie themes for the Infinity Train arc and even “that song” from the famous episode 19. Of course, there are also new compositions that have been created specifically for the game, and the effects are of the highest quality. . Finally, the dubbing comes to us in both English and Japanese with all its usual actors from the TV series.
Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Chronicles of Hinokami has left us somewhat divided. On the one hand, we have a too-limited and straightforward fighting game with a devastating character template, while on the other, it offers us one of the best recreations that we have ever seen in the history of manga. If we are honest, we have enjoyed so much reliving the first steps of Tanjiro’s journey with this adventure that we believe that just for the audiovisual show it offers and the possibility of experiencing its best battles and its multiple moments in our flesh, it is already worth it your purchase. On the other hand, if you are looking for a fighting title with a minimum of depth and good content to dedicate hours to, it may be better to look elsewhere.
We prepared this review with a digital review code for the PS5 version provided by Bandai Namco.