Hi-Fi RUSH review | 2023 started with a surprise for Xbox, during the first Developer_Direct Microsoft announced and dropped the new game from Tango GameWorks. You might know them from The Evil Within and Ghostwire games. So by the looks of it, this Japanese developer is going to be Xbox’s Obsidian from 2022, as Hi-Fi RUSH and Ghostwire are last year’s Pentiment and Grounded. With the difference that Xbox now has a stacked exclusive games year. It came out of nowhere but this is an incredible high-quality game with memorable characters, unique rhythm gameplay, nice visuals, and a fantastic soundtrack. Xbox Series X has been out for a while now and I’m sure about one thing. Hi-Fi Rush is a game that will be remembered in the years to come, as a must-play game from the Series X and S console generation.
|Publisher||Xbox Game Studios|
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series X | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer. Got unanswered questions about this game? Get in touch on Twitter!
What we Liked!
- What a great-looking game! | What a stunning-looking cell-shaded game, gorgeous! It has a bit of a Sunset Overdrive feeling but it is best described as a playable anime. Colors pop out beautifully and the environments feel truly alive, because of the simple reason that everything seems to move with the beat of the music. Animation wise I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game do better than Hi-Fi RUSH. Everything is butter smooth with realistic movements of Chai. Especially the cute cat is a show stealer too. First time I saw such realistic-looking ball lick animations and in general cat animations. Much better than for example Stray. Anyway, the environments aren’t really large but the scope can be impressive. Levels regularly open up with large skylines of the world. Effects during combat are once again colorful but never seem out of place. One thing that Hi-Fi Rush does fantastically is the transitions from cutscenes to gameplay, unlike anything I have seen before.
- A soundtrack to kill for and everything is synced to the rhythm! | The game started with the Black Keys one of my favorite bands that I’m going to see at Rock Werchter later this year. From licensed to originally created music, everything sounds great and you’ll be moving your head up and down while Chai is exploring the levels or fighting against not-so-friendly robots. The thing that is massively impressive is how everything is synced with the music, how Chai walks, how support characters join your fight, blocking, small visual details in the environments, and Chai’s finger-snapping. You really have to see it, as reading about it somehow feels less impressive.
- Hi-Fi RUSH has more personality than most games combined | From the main character Chai, to support characters or enemies. Each and every person and robot has a lot of personality. Side characters that say the weirdest things in conversations with your sidekicks are hilarious to follow. Chai and cat 808 are videogame stars with awesome cutscenes with fantastic facial expressions. They often show some slow-motion cutscenes and the action scenes with the two of them are highly detailed. You just can’t help but fall in love, I’m sure Xbox has two new character mascots. Honestly, something that Xbox can really use!
- Addictive rhythm gameplay | What makes Hi-Fi RUSH really outstanding is the gameplay. Let me first talk about exploring the levels, throughout your adventure you will learn new ways of interacting with the environment, in the form of easy little puzzles. The entire game works with the beat of the music so you’ll be fighting enemies by keeping or trying to keep a rhythm. If you button-press on the beat you will deal extra damage, you’ll also know when you have to dodge as the enemies also attack the beat. Combinations of attacks are done by skipping a beat or pressing a light or heavy attack button. You also have companions that will help you overcome everything in your path. Combat really starts to shine during boss fights, they are a bit challenging but they found the perfect balance of keeping it fair but fun. One of the reasons why Hi-Fi Rush is so much fun is that you aren’t overly punished if you suck at rhythm games. For example, No Straight Roads is a bit similar but is much more punishing if you don’t match the music. Players will still be able to combat enemies if you regularly miss the beat.
- Side characters | Your support characters have a big influence on how you battle enemies and with exploring the levels. Peppermint can do ranged attacks, great for keeping the momentum and for shooting switches in the platforming sections. Macaron can perform strong attacks that damages shields, only he can destroy them so you’ll have to be clever using him in battles. He has a much longer recharge compared to Pepper.
- Replay value | Most players will be done with the story after they pass the ten-hour mark. Replayability is high as each level has a Devil May Cry kinda scoring ranking. Finish levels fast, keep the rhythm, and keep a decent variation in combat combinations and you’ll reach those S-ratings! Hi-Fi Rush has a surprising amount of collectibles too. The game is linear but the gravity locations and sub-quests are pretty challenging to find and execute. As a result, you can easily play Hi-Fi Rush for a very long time.
What we Disliked
- Combat can be confusing | When multiple enemies attack you the camera has some issues with keeping up. Sometimes I completely lost track of what I was doing because the screen was full of loud effects and the camera was shifting from left to right. The action is pure mayhem sometimes but it can become a bit much. You have to keep attention to the music beat too, which is fun but brings some extra challenge.
How long to beat the story | 10 hours
How long to achieve 1000G | 50 hours
You’ll love this game if you like these | No Straight Roads
Hi-Fi Rush is a sort of dream game for me. I adore rhythm games and Tango GameWorks created something incredible. It looks great visually and plays so smoothly on the beat of the music.
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