Xbox’s Hi-Fi Rush has that Dreamcast era vibe, and it could be one of the best games of the year

Time is ever-flowing, however it’s additionally undoubtedly a flat circle. Developments come and go, and loop again round, and right here we’re – it’s the 12 months of our lord 2023, and a time portal has simply opened above our heads and dropped a Dreamcast traditional into our laps. Or a GameCube traditional, to be truthful – it feels prefer it’d be most at residence on both of these. The purpose is, the most recent first-party addition to Xbox Recreation Move feels prefer it’s time traveled from circa 1998-2003. And I imply that in the absolute best approach.

Now that is the way you do a trailer.

A brand new off-beat motion sport from Tango Gameworks, the Bethesda studio that up till this level has been all about survival horror. The studio was based by Shinji Mikami, the person most frequently credited as probably the most influential particular person within the creation of the Resident Evil sequence – and to date, the studio’s works have matched as much as that. However this sport, on which Mikami is the producer behind director John Johanas of The Evil Inside 2 fame, demonstrates that he – and Tango – can accomplish that rather more.

Colourful, slick, and with a stunning aesthetic and bright-eyed perspective, Hello-Fi Rush recollects lots of my favourite video games of that period, the place the spirit of approachable and accessible arcade video games merged with the primary console {hardware} that was really on par or extra highly effective than what was out there in arcades. Once I discuss this period, I’m speaking about stuff like Loopy Taxi, and Jet Set Radio, and Viewtiful Joe – the latter of which was truly produced by Mikami. That’s the vitality on show right here.

Take a look at these colors pop.

In actual phrases, Hello-Fi Rush is an attention-grabbing type of combine between a personality motion sport like a Satan Might Cry (one other Mikami-produced joint) and a rhythm sport. All the world pulsates with the BPM of no matter music is at present taking part in, and though you’ll be able to simply button mash your approach by means of issues, the way in which to deal extra injury and deal with enemies effectively is to take action with timing, permitting your hits and combos to immediately line as much as the pulsing music.

It’s simply good-ass online game motion. You’re slapping individuals about with a guitar that’s manufactured from scrap steel. You have got a robotic arm. And since every thing is tied to the music, there’s a toe-tapping poison that slowly seeps into your very pores.

By the point you attain the sport’s first correct boss encounter, which takes place to a licensed 9 Inch Nails monitor, you’ll really feel your self slowly slipping right into a goblin mode stance most acquainted to drummers and DJs – I can converse from expertise on the previous – right into a slight slouch, Gollum hunched, however shoulders rocking and popping because the rhythm takes you. The world round you seeps away.

The sport oozes type.

The very best character motion video games and intense arcadey video video games at all times have this type of high quality, to be truthful. I can slip into the same trance taking part in Loopy Taxi, or Ikaruga. You don’t want the music to line up on this approach – however god, it helps. I feel Hello-Fi Rush is nice sufficient to get there by itself – however the music lets it take your soul in file time. It’s a genius little bit of design that elevates what’s principally a enjoyable and fairly accessible motion brawler into one thing else solely.

What additionally elevates the expertise is the way it seems to be. Stunning animation, popping colours, and cutscenes that actually gave me a short pause for considered ‘is that this real-time, or pre-recorded’? There’s type right here. This can be a new-generation solely sport, out there on Xbox Collection X/S and PC, however it justifies that not with lashings of superfluous element however simply with a way of uncooked, crisp type – and in working silky clean.

If you happen to’re not too comfy with rhythm video games, there’s loads of serving to arms, from completely pulsating UI and in-universe parts that will help you hold to the beat to extra elective interface items that make every thing much more specific. If you happen to actually battle, nevertheless, the sport is playable sufficient hammering by means of it – however it feels at its greatest once you embrace and match the music.

I simply love what that is. This can be a online game with a fucking capital V. It has zero pretentions, and no actual aspirations to be thought of excessive artwork. It’s only a wholesome-ass online game that sucks you in and makes time soften away. Nostalgia is a hell of a drug, however this isn’t nearly being old-school and tickling this thirty-something’s recollections. What makes this work is that it’s new, recent, and thrilling, too, whereas undoubtedly referential and reverential to some traditional video games from the period I’ve evoked all through this text.

As soon as it will get its hooks in you, it will not let go.

It’s the type of sport that usually may battle to seek out an viewers – not a sensible visible showcase, not critical sufficient, not sufficient unhappy dads frowning and sighing, not sufficient multiplayer hooks to maintain you trapped without end. Launched on Xbox One, I might see the place this might’ve gone: a cult hit, favored, however a gross sales bomb. There was the same type of vitality to Insomniac’s Sundown Overdrive, in truth. Although that wasn’t almost nearly as good a sport as this, it deserved an even bigger viewers, however by no means discovered it.

However hopefully, on Xbox Recreation Move, this is usually a large hit – as I actually suppose if you happen to play the primary stage of this and don’t need to proceed, it’s important to be an absolute flawed’un. And simply suppose; we didn’t even (formally) know this existed yesterday. That is the magic of digital distribution and subscription providers, much more so than taking part in Starfield ‘free of charge’ on day one.

I’ve not completed Hello-Fi Rush but. The truth is, I think about I’ve obtained a methods to go. However already, early on, I do know that it is likely one of the greatest video games of 2023. I really feel massively refreshed and invigorated by it – which is precisely the type of escapism video games ought to try to be.


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