Thursday, June 13, 2024

“Hi-Fi Rush”: A great game you’ve never heard of 

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Featured Graphic by Stephanie Hall

Story by Nicholas Massey

There is this unique and rarely done idea in video games called a stealth release, which is where the game itself is not hyped up, not advertised, not really talked about, but then just kind of gets released to the public.

This rarity makes the game itself commonly hit or miss. If it is a great game, perfect, the word of mouth sells the game. But, if it is a normal or otherwise unimpressive game, usually the game is dead on arrival.

This concept was used with a game called “Hi-Fi Rush.” No PR campaign, no major advertisements, just an announcement one week before the game is to be live that it exists at all, and before you knew it, the game was out in the wilds ready to be taken in.

According to Steam, “Hi-Fi Rush” is a single-player action rhythm hack-and-slash, and in my humble opinion, it is a great and feel-good title that deserves all the attention it can get.

It was developed by Tango Gameworks, and published by Bethesda Softworks, with its current review status from others deservedly being overwhelmingly positive.  

Once you start the game, you are met with one of the most important aspects of any game that claims to be part rhythm game: the music. “Hi-Fi Rush” has an amazing soundtrack, which is good considering the premise of the game is all around this music.

Game Summary

You play as a character called Chai, a self-proclaimed future rockstar, who goes to a place called Vandelay Technologies in hopes of getting some robotic upgrades for his body. This dork of a character works his way up to the front of the lines for this program and gets dressed in a medical gown, then gets pushed into the mechanical table that will attack his new robotic arm.

While all this is happening, we see Vandelay himself complaining about the “quality” of people that were brought in for this project. After an exchange with some characters we will see later, Vandelay picks up Chai’s media player from his holding basket and claims that he got losers for the project. He then proceeds to toss the media player over the side of the catwalk he was standing on and after a somewhat comically long tumbling sequence, it finds its way back with its owner Chai, specifically on his chest. This timing was right before the fitting machine closed and attached Chai’s new arm.  

Chai gets thrown out of the machine, with his new arm attached, but all sorts of alarms are going off claiming there is a defect. Chai thinks nothing of this and proceeds to go collect his things and head outside, only to be stopped by some Vandelay bots that note that he is the one with a defect.

A fight inevitably breaks out and you, as the player, get your tutorial here. After the tutorial sequence where the basics are brought to you, Chai looks under his shirt where the media player was, only to find it too has been fused with him and provided him with rhythm fighting powers.

These rhythm fighting powers are broken down into three basic rules: Firstly, you will always attack with the beat, second, you can combo your moves, and third, attacking with the rhythm allows you to get bonus damage. 

Overall Opinions

 So, the first mechanic they highlight is probably one of the most important to understand: you always attack with the beat. This means if you start button mashing the attack button, you will notice the attack itself comes out in this rhythmic delayed pattern and thus might think the game is having synchronization problems when that is all by design.

This pairs well with the third mechanic of attacking with the beat for bonus damage. You see, since all attacks come out with the beat, you can sort of “cheat” the system and get the big bonus damage easily by just hitting an attack button once, waiting for that attack to come out, then pressing the button you want to combo with it immediately. This makes it easy to have almost every attack be on beat.

The second mechanic, which in all honesty is common to a lot of action hack-and-slash titles, is the ability to combo moves together. This basically just means you can press one button repeatedly and your character will “combine” the moves they are doing into one continuous action. All three of these mechanics are your staples for the entirety of the game, so if you do not feel you can truly grasp them, this game might not be for you.

Now there are loads of mechanics in total beyond just the core three, but let us be honest with ourselves, someone doesn’t play a game strictly based on the mechanics alone, they come for the story too. 

We touched a bit on the story earlier on, but the main story premise of the game is surprisingly simple. You came into Vandelay Technologies hoping to get an upgrade to your body, you successfully get that upgrade, but also have a “defect” that the company tries to eliminate you for, and thus you must fight to survive.

This feels like the basic premise of the game, up until you meet your first ally, 808, a cat (intuitively named after the original hip-hop beat machine) in the service of another ally, Peppermint.

Peppermint implores you to help her in uncovering a secret with Vandelay Technologies about an A.I. they are working on. Later on, we learn more about this A.I. and its overarching implications, and the threat it poses.

The game then has a fairly consistent story and game loop; Chai needs to get something for Peppermint, Chai goes out and does the level related to that something, Chai fights a boss at the end of that level, Chai acquires an item that advances the story and we return to base with this new information.

Sprinkled in between every other level or so are new allies which usually grant some kind of new abilities. Each of them is both story unique and kind of special, so to not spoil them individually we shall leave it at that.  

Rankings

Overall, Hi-Fi Rush is in my opinion, one of the greatest games you have probably never heard of. Though this is by design, it deserves all the love it can get.

Game rating: 10/10 Feels great, sounds great, plays great! 

Nicholas Massey is a Gaming Reporter for MTSU Sidelines.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Destiny Mizell, email lifestyles@mtsusidelines.com.For more news, visit www.mtsusidelines.com, or follow us on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines or on Twitter at @Sidelines_News.

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