A first look at the new Demon Slayer Hinokami Chronicles game

This smell… It’s Demon Slayer Hinokami Chronicles; ladies and gentlemen, the game is almost upon us! I was lucky enough to have the honours of previewing the game and talking about it on our lovely website here. I have written about Demon Slayer numerous times over the past year or so, and my love of the anime feels rewarded in this game. 

Demon Slayer Hinokami Chronicles is a 3D arena fighting game — a genre that developer CyberConnect2 has really mastered over the years. Demon Slayer will be released on October 14th on Playstation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, and PC. 

Demon Slayer

Gameplay

I’m a big fan of CyberConnect 2’s Naruto Storm games, and if you have ever played any of the games in that series, then Demon Slayer Hinokami Chronicles will feel very familiar. At its core, the game is a 3D arena fighter where you have the player face off against an opponent in a circular arena. However, Demon Slayer does throw in the mix of having to fight multiple enemies at once — some demons, such as the Swamp Demons, don’t fight fair and take you on at the same time. 

You aren’t left completely alone though; you have access to assist characters that have a couple of different uses. They can be used in the traditional way by calling them in to perform an attack that helps increase your combo count; you can also press the assist button as you get hit to call in your assist character to come and save you; and finally you can hold the assist button to switch places and take full control of the assist character. The new additions to the assist mechanics over CyberConnect 2’s previous games add a nice layer to the gameplay, and they play a big part in making the game feel so fluid; you’ll want to take the time to master and make the most of these features.

Demon Slayer

Another resource you have to play with is the one relating to your Demon Slaying Breathing Techniques — Mizu no Koyku – Ichi no Kata — you know the stuff. These are your special moves and combo-enders, essentially. However, they can be used in combination with assists to extend your combos. For example, calling in Nezuko’s assist attacks as Tanjiro uses his Water Wheel combo-ender allows time for Tanjiro to perform another combo again for even higher damage. 

Lastly, you have the boost meter. Boost is built up throughout the fight from both dealing and taking damage, and results in some powerful rewards. The Surge state powers your character up through total concentration breathing, resulting in higher damage and increased speed. And after 3 bars of this resource are gained, you will have access to your ultimate attack — these are a visual spectacle!

Outside of combat, you can roam about the areas of Demon Slayer as you track down your next assignment’s target. All in all the combat is a ton of fun that’s easy to pick up, but it has a nice sense of depth that really encourages observing the enemy to best make use of parrying and combos. 

Demon Slayer

Visuals

If there is a particular aspect of Demon Slayer Hinokami Chronicles that not even a single person could take negatively about, no matter how big of a hater they may be, it is the way that this game perfectly emulates the visual style of the anime. 

I have played my fair share of anime-style games, games based directly on anime, and everything in between, and never have I seen a visual style so perfectly mirror its anime counterpart. I’ve lost count of how many times the game has tricked me into thinking the cutscenes were straight from Ufotable themselves. CyberConnect 2 has gone above and beyond with making everything feel so authentic and Demon Slayer-like and I cannot sing their praises enough in this regard.

The game’s incredible visuals don’t stop at the graphics; oh no, the animations are fantastic as well! Whether it’s moving throughout the world, performing a basic combo, or using your ultimate technique — it still gives me that feeling I had back in 2019 of thinking “this is art in motion”! It’s not just the Demon Slayers either; characters like the Swamp Demon are loaded with expressions similar to what you would expect, it really helps in bringing the characters to life.

There are two things I have come to expect from CyberConnect2 when it comes to their anime games — fun combat, and hype quick-time events. I don’t know about you, but I think there is definitely a place for quick-time events, especially when it comes to showing off some of the incredible animations that the game has to offer. I have always viewed the way CyberConnect2 uses these events as an interactive and cinematic experience that can produce some of the most amazing fight scenes. And this game is no exception.

Demon Slayer

Side content

Lastly, I want to talk about some of the side content, as well as the additional content that the game has to offer for the players who love to explore every inch of the levels or acquire every S rank in the fights. There are tons of rewards up for grabs in the game, and you can view both the rewards and how to unlock them on the “Rewards” menu.

These rewards include stuff like battle quotes, profile pictures that you can use online, battle attire for characters such as Tanjiro’s Final Selection outfit, music, and stages. All of these rewards can then be used in both offline and online versus mode so that you can fully customise your experience, whatever you’re doing in the game. 

Demon Slayer

Speaking of rewards, let’s talk about Kimetsu points. Kimetsu points are collectible items that are found all over the levels throughout Demon Slayer, and these can be used to purchase rewards as an alternative to fulfilling the unlock requirement. You may also find that some rewards have a hidden unlock requirement, so Kimetsu points come in really handy when you’re trying to unlock everything from a specific chapter.

Lastly, special missions. As you complete a chapter, you will be presented with a special mission request to defeat a new demon that is causing chaos. These special missions come with more rewards, as you might expect, but also offer a bit of challenge for players craving more of that demon scent. Each special mission has a normal and hard mode difficulty, and the hard mode boasts new additional attacks that the demons can use to make the fight that much more of a challenge.

It definitely seems that there’s plenty to do in Demon Slayer Hinokami Chronicles, and if you’re a fan of Demon Slayer, then you’re in for a real treat with a game that beautifully emulates what so many around the world love about it. And for those new to the series, this might just make for a good means to start exploring it!

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Conor Evans
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