A real surprise from the inaugural Developer_Direct, Hi-Fi RUSH is incredible in more ways than one. Already, it is the first game from Tango Gameworks not to be horrific. Then, he came out immediately after his announcement, allowing himself a diva move worthy of Beyoncé. That’s good, the game signed Bethesda has rhythm to spare.
Tango changes record
But what exotic fly could have bitten Tango Gameworks? Accustomed to horrific creations ranging from The Evil Within to Ghostwire Tokyo, the Japanese studio led by Shinji Mikami (the father of Resident Evil) turns its back on fear to turn to thrills… of joy. Hi-Fi Rush features Chai, a somewhat clueless young man who wants to be a rockstar even though he can’t do anything with his ten fingers., five of which are metallic since the boy has a prosthesis with astonishing properties. Following an operation that does not go as planned, her heart fuses with an iPod. From now on, everything in his life revolves around music, or rather the rhythm of the latter: each element of the environment, each platform on which to climb, each dangerous trap comes to life/activates according to the tempo of the soundtrack. When Chai hits the tempo, notes are played and the audience cheers him on. The aim of the game ? Beat the baddies in time and advance through levels filled with traps.
Vibrations even in the OST
Resolutely rock despite some more techno pieces towards the end of the game, the soundtrack of Hi-Fi RUSH recalls in many respects that of Sonic Adventure. In addition to compositions from Bethesda artists, we find music from Nine Inch Nails, The Black Keys, Prodigy, The Joy Formidable, Number Girl, Wolfgang Gartner and Zwan.
The opposing attacks also lock on the beats. In this tangy cocktail where action, platform, rhythm and beat’em all collide, Chai makes enemies from a megacorporation suspected of wanting to control the thoughts of the people. Thanks to well-placed blows and acerbic valves, the hero aims to waltz the leaders of this infernal group with the help of companions encountered during the journey, all under a frenzied soundtrack. Although fighting holds a prominent place in Microsoft’s game, the platformer aspect is not left out. Nevertheless, it shines dull, the fault of finally few movements during the exploration phases. With only a double jump, a dash and a grappling hook, we quickly go around the proposed situations, even if they are skilfully disguised to give us the impression of being ingenious.
Good vibes from yesteryear
We could continue this article by writing that the new Xbox/PC exclusive out of nowhere is unlike any other. With its chiadés graphics cel-shades Splendid, its remarkable style and its simple but extremely effective concept, Hi-Fi RUSH actually recalls the great era of 128 bits when games that were both crazy and original were linked together like bangers on a Daft Punk vinyl. If the software is reminiscent of punchy titles from the sixth generation of consoles such as Jet Set Radio, Viewtiful Joe or even Devil May Cry, it is because, beyond its singular artistic direction, it manages to make the simplicity of its mechanics an irresistible force. Strictly everything in Bethesda’s software is made to serve the rhythmic gameplay crafted by Masaaki Yamada (a veteran of Capcom and PlatinumGames). From the mini game worthy of Elite Beat Agents requiring you to press a series of complex keys to passages where the floors are electrified on bars, Hi-Fi RUSH will not give any chance to those who do not have the rhythm in the skin.
A realization that tears the retina
Impossible to evoke Hi-Fi RUSH without speaking about its sensational realization. It may have been since Jet Set Radio that we’ve seen such flawless and inventive Cel Shading. Also, the animations are gorgeous and reminiscent of a certain Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The filters applied to the shadows and the special effects give a more realistic cartoon look. All in 4K/60fps.
In addition to its mechanics that are simple to understand but not always easy to master, Bethesda’s latest production smells like the SEGA game of the 2000s thanks to its madness. It’s hard to know if working without being exposed to consumer feedback has helped Tango Gameworks focus better. What is certain is that the studio connects ideas like Jimi Hendrix collects legendary solos. Better, it allows itself a welcome relaxation bringing a pleasant breath of fresh air to the video game sphere. Without vulgarity or schoolboy joke below the belt, Hi-Fi RUSH hits hard with light moments as well thought out as superbly executed. And what about the friendly robot that draws facial expressions with a black marker, or the excellent reference to Twin Peaks in the middle of the adventure? Inspired, 100% single player and without microtransactions, the Microsoft production reminds us why it was so fun to indulge in simple pleasures, deprived of “developments“came from the explosion of the Internet.
Drawing hilarious parallels with the video game industry, notably through the management (who spend more on marketing than on R&D) and the incredible tirades of SEB-AAA, (improbable cameo of Sebastian from The Evil Within turned inspector of HR), the title has things to say behind its lack of seriousness proudly exhibited.
In terms of its structure, Hi-Fi RUSH is regulated like music paper. The player has a base giving him access to various upgrades but also and above all to adventure levels. When he launches a chapter, he finds himself in a 3D universe to explore. Though command and linear, these levels house various collectible secrets that reward exploration. The worlds are divided into platform phases and arena combat sequences that occur regularly during the advance. These marked encounters, rated according to the player’s efficiency, count as “verses” and “refrains” in the great song that forms the level. Like other BTAs, more powerful opponents intervene to cool the ardor of the hero, when they are not downright gigantic bosses who come to make trouble during brilliant brawls. With rare exceptions, such as this level in the lava that is a bit too long or this tower to climb far too tall, Tango Gameworks has won hands down its bet to deliver an epic without downtime. The studio even allows itself some absolutely epic chapter endings.
Secrets, collectibles and real end-game content…
Searching every corner of the levels allows you to find the various collectibles to improve your squad. Other secrets will be able to reward keen observers, such as discussions without beetles between SEB-AAA and JSF-001, or even the little snail from Tango Gameworks in fun situations. Once the game is over after a good ten hours, new challenges are unlocked, and it is possible to access previously inaccessible places in the levels of the game. It also becomes authorized to change the costumes of its small team.
The allies, three in number, can be summoned temporarily just to take advantage of their own skills in combat but also in free walks. Peppermint’s guns are as useful for smashing enemy defensive shields as protective glass, while Macaron’s big muscles knock bad robots off their feet and smash through walls. Like No Straight Roads, understanding the musical rhythm is essential to progress with opponents who attack on certain beats. Hi-Fi RUSH goes further than Metronomik’s software with phases of exploration featuring a decor dancing to the rhythm of percussion. The multiple platform phases in 3D and sometimes in 2.5D are indeed based on timings to be scrupulously respected (spurting lava, opening trapdoor, activating laser, etc.), while landing hits on beats – during a clash – increases their damage. Moments where the player slides along suspended rails with obstacles to avoid are also there, eyeing the side of Sonic, Crash Bandicoot or Ratchet & Clank.
As in music theory, there is a whole grammar to memorize with visual aids facilitating the identification of good timings. Parrying an opponent requires a lot of skill and requires a lot of concentration, but once the player has done his scales, all that remains is fun. It is important to note that the simple rules of Hi-Fi RUSH become more complex during the adventure. Resolutely arcade in its early hours, Bethesda’s software gains in depth with new moves to buy, additional special attacks to unlock, sagacious creatures to eliminate, allies to manage skillfully and chips to equip in order to make the small team more efficient. It’s not about “RPGization” moved: everything is very understandable and just offers the user an overlay of options allowing him to perfect his style of play. Enough to reach the end credits without having the impression of having done the same action over and over.
- Easy-to-understand, complex-to-master gameplay
- A fast pace and epic sequences
- The splendid artistic direction served by a solid technique (4K/60fps)
- Real end-game content to extend the experience, and lots of secrets to unearth
- The humor rings true
- Good soundtrack
- Super VF (voice + texts)
- The platformer aspect that we quickly go around
- Level design that would have deserved more depth
- A lack of variety in the environments visited
What a slap! With this luminous shadow drop sold at a low price and integrated into the Game Pass, Bethesda sends the conventions of the video game industry waltzing out of hand. From the waltz to Tango Gameworks, there is only one step that we invite you to take without delay. After fear, the studio brilliantly relies on ardour. Hi-Fi RUSH plays a score of all the devils where rhythm, platform and fight form an euphoric melody and without major false note. By playing on the measures but having fun in excess, this rush is our crush from the beginning of the year.
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