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Never Miss A Beat In Hi-Fi Rush - Game Review

Hi-Fi Rush, a 2023 rhythm-based action game that was published by Bethesda Softworks and developed by Tango Gameworks, a studio known for games such as The Evil Within and Ghostwire: Tokyo. However, this time around, they decided to break away from their signature dark and eerie style. Instead, Hi-Fi Rush is filled with vibrant and joyful moments, which would make you question if it was actually done by the same studio. 



The game was first launched on January 25, 2023 as an Xbox exclusive game. But earlier this February, Microsoft announced that four exclusive Xbox games will be going to PS5, and one of those games was Hi-Fi Rush, and the game officially launched on the PlayStation 5 on March 19th of 2024.


Story


The game is set in a futuristic world where technology thrives, and you play as the protagonist known as Chai, a disabled young man with big dreams of becoming a rockstar. However, a mishap during his robotic right arm surgery results in his music player being fused into his body. This allowed him to have a stronger connection with the world around him, revolving around the thing he loves most, music. However, this also causes him to be chased by the robotics megacorp, Vandelay Industries, who now deems him as a “Defect”. 



Along his journey, Chai manages to form friendships with others, and together, they must thwart the corrupt ambitions of Vandelay Industries. While the game’s plot seems very akin to plenty of other action games. The game’s light-hearted and humorous banter between the characters is something especially noteworthy. Even during intense moments of trying to take down the villains of the organisation, the game doesn’t fail to provide commentary that will be sure to give you a good laugh. Chai’s journey in the game showcases the thrilling mix of adventure and music.



The concept of Hi-Fi Rush stemmed from the game director, John Jahanas’s, love for music. Due to his history of being a guitarist in his band back in high school, Jahanas wanted to emulate his love for music into a game, while also paving the way for newcomers to the concept of music games. As a result of this, the game we know today was formed, and I’m sure that it’s to everyone’s pleasure.


Through the game’s humour, interesting combat mechanics, high-quality animations and the witty yet pleasant characters in the game, Hi-Fi Rush was truly able to demonstrate its charm to the world.


Combat Style



The game’s primary gimmick is its rhythm-infused combat, requiring players to synchronise their attacks to the music in order to defeat their enemies. The concept might seem difficult, but it’s really not.



By managing to match the beat of the background music, the game rewards you by dealing extra damage to the enemies. Fortunately for players, you do not have to worry about trying to match the beat just by listening to the songs, instead, there is a Rhythm Assist function which shows you the beat of the music to help make synchronising the beat easier.



Though, saying this, there is no proper backlash for the players that fail to synchronise their attacks to the beat. If anything, trying to match the beat makes the game a lot more fun, not only can you deal a devastating blow to your enemies, but you would also be able to learn on improving your timing and coordination skills.



Furthermore, by unlocking the other characters in the game, it introduces additional combos that you would be able to execute and makes it more interesting. Especially when you manage to pull it off.



Gameplay


While the combat is the most highlighting aspect of the Hi-Fi Rush, the game offers more depth than just its action sequence. Progressing through the game, presents the player with obstacles meant to hinder your progress. Some of these obstacles include activating switches and other puzzles.



Yet, despite this, I believe that the puzzle-solving is a delightful addition to the game, and that it’s another feature that you can’t help yourself from enjoying. This is especially the case, when the puzzles evolve, becoming more complex than the last. If anything, these puzzles can be considered as a small break from all the action. 



Additionally, since the game’s release on the PlayStation 5, there has been a small amount of changes that were added. While the majority of the gameplay remains the same as the Xbox version, one of the key differences between the two would be the controller vibrations. The PS5 DualSense controller’s haptic feedback provides a more precise vibrations sensation when playing the game. This is especially the case for a rhythm game such as Hi-Fi Rush as you experience these vibrating sensations when trying to match the beat of the music, making it an enjoyable experience overall!



Another thing that can be considered fascinating about the game would be the fact that you are able to unlock alternate outfits for the main characters in the game. If you are unsatisfied with the character outfits in the game, you’re able to change them into different outfits that you are satisfied with.


Though this feature is only available after completing the main story. And with the game being as fun as the first time playing it, you’ll be able to watch Chai and the others in the various scenes in the outfit of your choice!



Characters


Despite the fact that Chai is the protagonist of the game, that doesn’t mean that the supporting characters that appear in the game are any less interesting than he. Each character in the game has their own unique design and their respective backstory as well, which gives us some depth to these characters.



Heck, I would say that the entire cast is filled with colourful personalities that makes them extremely likeable, and sometimes you just can’t get enough of them. One of the best things about the game, in my opinion, would have to be the character interaction. Watching Chai and the others interact with one another is definitely something that never fails to put a smile on my face.



In fact, the same could be said for the villains of the series as well. While they might not be purely evil, as one might compare to other villains in other games, each one of them clearly showcases that they aren’t willing to stand by and let Chai and his friends do whatever they want.


Visuals and Sounds


Regarding the graphics of this game, personally I believe that the game’s animations might be among some of the best in gaming thus far. The vibrant colours that are showcased perfectly complements the futuristic aesthetic, and the neon lights help to create an atmosphere which allows the player to be fully immersed in the game.



As for the music in the game, Hi-Fi Rush offers not only a couple of commercial songs, but there are several licensed tracks that are available to listen to in the game as well. In fact, the game doesn’t just let you repeatedly try to match the beat of one song. Rather, for each new stage, there are brand new songs for the player to try and synchronise the beats with, and this makes it all the more interesting and enjoyable for players.


Although I am not a fan of a couple of the songs, I cannot deny that there were a few songs where I felt myself bop along to the music. In fact, the diversity of the music tracks that are available in the game makes it so that the song choices would fit for a variety of different audiences, rather than just a single one. Most of the songs that featured in the game are a vibrant, joyful mix of alt-rock and electronic fuzz. 



If anything, playing Hi-Fi Rush with their original soundtracks, just adds more life and spark to the experience of the game.


Conclusion


When I first heard about the game, truthfully, I didn’t have much expectations for it. However, after getting a chance to play it, I just can’t seem to stop myself from playing it again and again. The graphics and rhythmic combat-style are just some of the examples which make the game so appealing. In fact, I believe that every aspect of the game seems to capture the vibrance and the vibe that the game wishes to deliver within the game. From the incredible gameplay, to the witty characters.



Hi-Fi Rush truly is highly addictive and you just get sucked into the story. Which is why, I would definitely recommend the game to those who have never played it before, or for those who want to play a game without spending too much time on it.





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