One of my favorite types of food on this planet is soups. Why? It’s because it takes simple foods and combines them to make something that’s better than the sum of its parts. The game, High Fi Rush is a lot like that.
It takes the grading system of Devil May Cry, the musical timing of Guitar Hero, some of the combat elements from Devil May Cry and Kingdom Hearts, and combines this with this into the Spiderverse cartoon-like art style. Thankfully the mixture absolutely works. So who is the game for and should you play Hi Fi Rush?
Let’s dive into it.
In this game, you play as Chai, a goofy and charismatic guy, who becomes a victim of a robotic surgery gone wrong. Due to an accident, Chai gets his music player infused into his chest. Imagine Ironman, but instead of keeping shrapnel away from his heart, Chai is granted the ability to turn the world around him to move to the rhythm of the songs playing in his chest.
You meet a dope crew of characters along your journey to expose and takedown an evil corruption known as Vandelay Technologies. The side characters are an absolute gem as each one is filled with personality and flavor. It’s a common occurrence that you see characters just with stereotypical sidekick tropes and this game feels different in that regard.
One aspect of the game that most will enjoy is the game’s pacing. This is a briskly paced game that tells a concise story. It gets in, does what it needs to do while providing some good laughs along the way and gets outs. It’s a smaller more contained story that feels like it respects gamer’s time.
Another aspect of Hi-Fi Rush that really stands out is the game play and combat. This game has the similar hack and slashes combat to games like Kingdom Hearts and Devil May Cry, but with the added element of doing the combos to the beat. If you played games like Guitar Hero then you understand the mechanic of pressing the needed button at the exact right time to stay on beat. In Hi-Fi Rush, if you do combos to the beat then you are awarded by doing extra damage to your foes.
A great element of the game is that if your rhythm challenged then you can still play this game just as a hack in slash. By going this route you won’t do as much damage and you’ll get a worst combat score (Which is similar to the Devil May Cry combat grading system), but you can still complete this game and have tons of fun in the process.
The combos themselves are nice and varied. You have combos that you do on the ground, in the air, by parrying and by grabbing. Another component that adds some spice to the combat is the character assist game mechanic. The crew that you meet along the way can come in and for a very limited time attack the enemies around you. It adds another layer of combos that you can you to quickly dispatch your foes for a better combat grade.
Graphics and Presentation:
An aspect that stands out with Hi-Fi Rush is its art style. The art style has a similar vibe and aesthetic to games like Sunset Overdrive and Jet Set Radio. Everything in this game is full of style and flair. The animation in the gameplay and the cutscenes look like something you’d see on a high budget animated show.
The colors really pop and highlight the environment and the different moves that you need to do to beat certain enemies. One of the biggest compliments about this game is how unique the game looks visually. It isn’t often that you play a game that is this stylized with this type of artstyle.
With this game’s genre and theme being music-centric it was vital to nail the soundtrack. Thankfully for the most part the team at Tango Gameworks succeeded. This soundtrack has a nice selection of tracks, featuring music from bands, such as, Nine Inch Nails, The Black Keys and Wolfgang Gartner. Most of these songs work well accenting the beat that the world is vibing to.
I do wish that there were more of a variety of music or at least more songs from other notable bands. There are tons of other alternate bands that could have provided dopes songs to battle the bosses to.
The Characters of this games are completely loveable in the most Avatar the Last Airbender sort of way. In fact, this feels like a game that could have been made by that cartoon studio. Every character in this game has a charm and a humorous element to them including the villains. You know that a IP is special when the side characters of the game are just as memorable as the game’s protagonist. Speaking of the game’s protagonist, Chai feels like he could be a poster boy for Xbox going forward. He’s loveable, marketable, and a fun character to play as. I would be shocked if we don’t see more from this character from Xbox in this decade.
In Hi-Fi Rush you can spend your hard-earned skill points on multiple skill trees. You can unlock additional combos, powerups, or teammate combo moves. All of the combos that you can buy feel like they add a nice layer of gameplay.
The game also has tons of collectables that you can find in the world. Each of these collectables feels like they are worth chasing. You could find items that adds permanent additional health, cool décor to decorate your home base or even dialogue logs that helps flesh out the world and lore.
One of the minor grips with the game is that one can say that it suffers from a bit of lull in the middle of its narrative. The game mostly has a breakneck pace in the beginning, a slight lull in the middle, and resumes its swift pace in the final third of the narrative.
Another flaw that this game has is that this game isn’t going to be for everyone. If your rhythmically challenged then you might not like the musical quick time event that you have to complete frequently in the game.
Overall/Should you Play Hi-Fi Rush:
The answer is yes. While the game does have its flaws like it’s pacing and its mandatory musical quick timed events, it shines in all the other aspects. The combat is fun and addicting, the characters are enjoyable and memorable, and the narrative is entertaining.
Like I said earlier, Hi-Fi Rush is like your favorite soup. It takes a lot of ingredients (in this case gameplay elements) and combines then to make something that is greater than the sum of its parts. The hack and slash combat of Devil May Cry, the style of Jet Set Radio and Sunset Overdrive, and some of the aspects of Guitar Hero. Thankfully it mixes all these aspects really went and is easy to recommend.
There has been a narrative for a long time about the lack of Xbox first party games. Over and over people kept asking “is this the year Xbox finally gets its groove?” If Xbox can continue to release games like Hi-Fi rush then thankfully that narrative is on borrowed time.
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