The Hinokami Chronicles
I don’t understand how CyberConnect2 does it. They pump out mostly-decent-at-worst brawler variations for nearly each anime possible, they usually do it continually. I imply certain I’d wish to get one other Asura’s Wrath sprinkled in there. However an honest Demon Slayer sport is okay with me.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Hinokami Chronicles (PC, PS4, PS5 [reviewed], Xbox One, Xbox Collection X|S)
Launched: October 15, 2021
In case you haven’t learn or watched any Demon Slayer media earlier than, the setup is much more palatable than you would possibly count on. The narrative follows Tanjiro Kamado, an unlikely hero who begins a profession in literal demon slaying to save lots of his sister-turned-demon, Nezuko. The twist is that Nezuko is definitely a “good demon!” and gives a whole lot of the comedian aid of the present, which doesn’t take itself too significantly (till it does, and devastates you). The collection has developed a whole lot of traction all through the previous few years, culminating in a large movie that blew the doorways off the Japanese field workplace and even did nicely internationally.
This specific sport covers the start of Tanjiro’s journey, into the occasions of the movie: so you’ll be able to see why the brand new “it” anime can be getting an adaptation. And like many CyberConnect2 initiatives earlier than it, it’s a brawler with a truncated story mode and a restricted versus mode. It is aware of what it’s. What’s instantly obvious about The Hinokami Chronicles is how implausible it seems to be, however that’s CyberConnect2 for you. Some scenes are ripped out of the anime instantly, notably the finisher animations, they usually look unimaginable once they’re enjoying out on a PS5.
Fight could be very primary (as brawlers are inclined to go), however straightforward to study. There’s gentle assaults (which serves as the primary dial-a-combo), dashing, a ability button (that’s mainly a particular assault from Smash that’s altered with directional inputs), grabs, guards (with a pushback parry command), boosts (powering up meters like DBZ), a devoted button to pop ultimates, and a assist ability button (usually tag-team assists or swaps).
Guarding/parrying and dashing round are key parts of the system, and stop it from being a button-mash-heavy affair. Whereas the roster is extraordinarily restricted (extra on that in a second), the characters which are current are distinctive sufficient to justify their existence and add extra variety to the forged. Coupled with the colourful visible fashion, it’s straightforward to really feel dazzled by the entire animations and wish to attempt new characters to see what they will convey to the desk. Serviceable fight, on this case, is okay.
Story mode, which might be thought of the majority of The Hinokami Chronicles (particularly in the event you’re going at it solo), is similar to different CyberConnect2 video games to a fault. The acquainted framework nonetheless holds, in that you just’ll typically see an intro cutscene, get dropped right into a collection of very linear paths plagued by small-time trash mobs, struggle a boss, then watch an outro scene. It’s by no means excruciatingly unfun, as the sport seems to be and sounds implausible all of the whereas, however I actually want they both opened up the hubs a bit or simply went from struggle to struggle with none of the fanfare.
Demon Slayer’s occasions are sometimes hurried, to the purpose the place you miss some essential bits of character growth or some meaty narrative parts. The banter, the flashy motion, and the comedy are all nonetheless current, and shine by way of even in these spliced moments. Cleverly, and it’s like CyberConnect2 knew they couldn’t match the whole lot in, a whole lot of the story is instructed by way of flashbacks. We profit essentially the most from this after we’re thrust into the story mode after Tanjiro has already educated a bit, relatively than get the rote origin story therapy that’s already been instructed.
Bosses are the intense spots, and provide the identical dramatic anime motion twists the collection is understood for — however you get to play them out this time. Bosses usually sport a number of phases/types, coupled with voice appearing that augments the battles in an enormous approach and makes them come extra alive. There are a whole lot of huge character moments too, even with the bosses; a stark distinction to the very static and repetitive versus mode.
The place it begins to crumble a bit is content material. So the versus mode (which includes a 2v2 setup), even at the most effective of instances with some unlocks, could be very lean. Numerous the characters are literally simply alternate costume variations, and in traditional anime brawler/fighter trend, there are clones of the hero. In the mean time, there are not any demons to play, however they are going to be added “post-launch.” It’s a disgrace they weren’t in now, as a result of it might have made versus immensely extra attention-grabbing.
A part of the difficulty is that versus is so intrinsically linked to story mode and the Kimetsu Factors unlock system. Introduced like a quasi-Fortnite-season move, you’ll unlock factors (all in-game) and purchase rewards. Characters and the like are the large cash-ins (and are appropriately costly), whereas little issues like banners and icons are low-cost. The system isn’t thrilling sufficient to actually dig by way of, and I discovered myself simply wanting the character unlocks as quickly as attainable.
Each time I’d take a break from the marketing campaign to check out versus mode I’d get slightly bored, then head again in. The 2v2 idea is enjoyable although, and when you have a sparring associate, you’re going to get much more mileage out of The Hinokami Chronicles. However 2v2 additionally betrays the present lack of roster selections, as there are solely so many combos to check earlier than you fall into familiarity.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Hinokami Chronicles is one other respectable brawler adaptation that asks you to have already got a little bit of background on the supply materials to really take pleasure in it. In that sense, it joins a really crowded area of many different anime video games earlier than it, and lots of of you on the market know the place you stand on these.
[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]