Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Hinokami Chronicles Review
COGconnected reviewed Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Hinokami Chronicles when it was first released in late 2021 for every non-Nintendo console. It finally came out for the Nintendo Switch on June 10 2022, and the game is unchanged. There is no extra content (boo), or visual quality reduction (yay). This is going to be an expansion of the original review, which will focus on aspects not covered. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Hinokami Chronicles is essentially a Demon Slayer skin on Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm, and this review will come from the point of view of someone familiar with both.
Trigger Warning: I didn’t enjoy the Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba anime very much. It had high budget animation and a gorgeous art design, but that’s about all I really enjoyed about it. The series concept was fine, but quickly devolved into generic Shonen tropes of a young guy training hard, powering up, and gradually working up the chain of opponents towards his destined fight against the big bad. I was actually kind of surprised how generic it was, with how massive its popularity had been. Towards the end of the first season, I also realized that the story was far from over, and that I didn’t really care to put the time in to get there. The narrative felt like it was going through the motions.
Demon Slayer? More like Demon Metallica
For those of you familiar with battle Shonen stories, they’re mostly derivative (for better or worse) of the storytelling from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and Dragon Ball. My favorite (by far) is Hunter x Hunter, followed by My Hero Academia, Naruto and Dragon Ball. The epic world-building, massive casts of characters, and long-winded pacing of these Shonen narratives can make for some excellent fighting game premises.
CyberConnect2’s Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm series is an excellent one. It told the epic Naruto narrative across 4 games, with a quality cinematic presentation. Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 had over 100 fighters to choose from, because of the source material’s massive cast of characters. Then there were more DLC fighters added when a Naruto sequel film was released. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba’s total content far less than even the first Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm game.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Hinokami Chronicles’ Adventure Mode covers the story of the first season, and the Mugen Train film. That’s not a lot of story for a game to cover, and not a lot of characters. The game has 18 playable characters, but 7 of them are variant versions of the other 11. There are no playable villains for Versus Mode. Only 3 out of 9 Demon Corps Pillars are playable.
SNES-Caliber Roster Depth
There’s so little content in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Hinokami Chronicles, that it’s hard to feel like it isn’t a cash grab. It makes sense for a Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba video game to come out, considering the massive popularity of the series, but the CyberConnect2 3D fighter formula doesn’t fit the sparse source material. The game looks and plays great, but there’s not a lot of game, and I doubt even the most devoted Demon Slayer fans will spend much time with it.
The Nintendo Switch version of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Hinokami Chronicles looks and plays great. Because of the game’s anime visuals, the Switch’s limited hardware capacity suits them well. The game looks and plays great in handheld mode, although fighting games aren’t the best genre for portable play.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Hinokami Chronicles is as good as it ever was. The Switch version doesn’t add anything for people who have the game on other systems. Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm fans, who might be excited for another similar game, should dial their content expectations way back. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba fans don’t need their teeny narrative summarized, the way Naruto fans might’ve wanted theirs. Merging these two franchises wasn’t the right decision. It would’ve been the definition of “a renter” in the 90s.
***Switch code provided by the publisher***
- Polished 3D fighter gameplay
- Looks great on Switch
- Cinematic sections are well-directed
- Small Roster
- Short narrative
- No new content