‘Hi-Fi Rush’ Comes Out of Nowhere To Blow Us All Away


Hello-Fi Rush feels prefer it fell out of an alternate actuality the place the Sega Dreamcast was a wild success that blew away all of the competitors. The Evil Inside and Ghostwire: Tokyo developer Tango Gameworks’ latest arrived out of nowhere final week with none pre-release hype — our introduction got here with a trailer asserting that it was now out there on Xbox Sport Cross and PC.

That is the gaming equal of a shock drop album and, after a weekend of taking part in it, it’s blown me away. Hello-Fi Rush is a mix of rhythm motion and Bayonetta-style third-person fight, delivered below beautiful Sega-esque blue skies, cel-shaded visuals the equal of contemporary cartoons, and an impeccably curated soundtrack that retains your toes tapping all through.

You play as budding rock star Chai, who indicators up for a free robotic augmentation program with the hopes of propelling himself to musical stardom. The system has different concepts, deciding his restricted abilities are greatest deployed as a litter-picker. Fortuitously for him, a mishap sees his iPod implanted into his chest, giving him a everlasting inside soundtrack that lets him battle to the beat as he makes an attempt to topple an oppressive company hellbent on mind-controlling the world.

Screenshot by way of Bethesda

With hits from 9 Inch Nails, The Prodigy, and The Black Keys, together with loads of nice unique tunes, you should have interaction in battle with ever-spikier and meaner robotic adversaries. Success lies in combating to the beat and syncing your assaults to the music, with the whole lot else on the planet transferring to the identical tune. This manifests as one thing out of Steamboat Willie: hedges bounce alongside in rhythm with you, platforms transfer round to a hard and fast rhythm, and there are screens in all places exhibiting the metronomic beat you need to groove to. Stand nonetheless for a second and Chai faucets his converse and snaps his fingers — gotta go quick.

Regardless that early battles are comparatively easy, the fight shortly turns into extra intense, including in help characters, a bunch of upgrades and new strikes, and a ludicrously satisfying parry mechanic. All enemies assault on the beat, letting you anticipate their strikes and bat them away with ease. By the ultimate ranges, Chai has change into a whirling dervish of rhythm violence, dismantling enemies so stylishly it places Bayonetta to disgrace (sorry Bay, but it surely’s true). These much less rhythmically inclined might be assisted by an on-screen metronome, although for those who repeatedly assault off the beat, you’ll merely do much less injury and worsen rankings somewhat than fail outright (plus, you’ll look a lot much less cool).

Alongside the best way, there’s a dizzying quantity of references to video games that the trade has largely forgotten. Sega’s Jet Set Radio is clearly a major affect on the visuals, pop-punk story, chaotic city-scape, and gentle subversiveness (the particular version comes with an in-game high that reads “I purchased the deluxe version and all I obtained was this silly t-shirt”), however past that, there’s a dollop of Area Channel 5 within the ‘Simon Says’ strikes that allow you to counter bigger enemies, parts of Satan Might Cry in its aerial raves and grappling hook, a smidge of Metallic Gear Rising: Revengeance in its parries, and a nod to Gitaroo Man within the temporary moments it turns into an precise rhythm motion sport.

Hi-Fi Rush
Screenshot by way of Bethesda

If these video games don’t imply a lot to you, congratulations on being born this aspect of the yr 2000. Director John Johanas doesn’t appear shy about exhibiting his age, with many of the sport’s soundtrack lifted from the late ’90s and 2000s, together with a blizzard of cultural references aimed squarely at ’90s children. One minute the sport can be dropping a line from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night time, the subsequent it’ll be doing an prolonged riff on Twin Peaks, or pulling poses from 90s-era Jojo’s Weird Journey. There’s even time for a Seinfeld gag, with the evil company named ‘Vandelay Industries’.

All the above made my coronary heart sing, although it wasn’t till Hello-Fi Rush determined to barrel full bore right into a Xenogears tribute that I fell fully in love with the sport. For the uninitiated, Xenogears was an insanely formidable mid-90s Sq. JRPG on the unique PlayStation that ran out of funds and time mid-way by means of improvement. To get the sport out, the second disc was largely composed of the characters sitting on a chair towards a black background speaking you thru the thrilling developments you’d have seen if that they had the cash to point out them. Hello-Fi Rush pulls the very same trick, joking afterward “Whoo! What a wild battle! Hah, want you may have seen it!” It’s the yr of our lord 2023 and a Bethesda sport is out right here dropping obscure Xenogears references. What a time to be alive.

Past that, Hello-Fi Rush is a throwback to an age the place a sport was completely assured delivering a 10-12 hour expertise with out crowbarring in multiplayer, microtransactions, or a season move. As many avid gamers appear (sadly) reluctant to shell out for a single-player sport with a linear story, this makes it an ideal candidate for Xbox Sport Cross, so for those who’re subscribed then it is a must-play. Hello-Fi Rush additionally runs fantastically on Steam Deck on low settings, with Valve’s handheld working the sport at a locked 60fps with out breaking a sweat.

Hi-Fi Rush
Screenshot by way of Bethesda

Past its many charms, it’s additionally a lesson that pre-release hype is usually a double-edged sword. For comparability, look no additional than final week’s unjustly maligned Forspoken, whose advertising and marketing marketing campaign misrepresented the sport and united the web in mockery over perceived horrible dialogue (which is smart in context). It’s simple to think about Hello-Fi Rush assembly an analogous destiny, with jaded avid gamers inevitably making enjoyable of its goofy dialogue and earnest storytelling if we’d have had months of trailers establishing its world and characters.

Releasing it totally full out of nowhere (and bug-free besides!) sidesteps all that and lets us admire Hello-Fi Rush by itself great phrases. It’s an absolute banger of a sport and having seen the credit roll, our solely criticism is that we want there was extra of it. It’s obtained model, character, and ambition — all grounded in best-in-class third-person fight that’s the equal of something Platinum Video games have launched.

What are you ready for? Go play it already.

This assessment is predicated on the Steam model of the sport. A replica was supplied by Bethesda.

High Honors

One of the vital joyous and enjoyable gaming experiences we have had in a really very long time, ‘Hello-Fi Rush’ combines one of the best of classics like ‘Jet Set Radio’, ‘Area Channel 5’, and ‘Bayonetta’ into a tasty package deal that merely cannot be missed.