Hi-Fi Rush, a game based on the idea of unadulterated excitement, made headlines last week for two reasons. First of all, it’s fantastic! Two, it was a successful surprise release, a rarity in the video game industry.
I mean complete and utter shock. It seemed to appear out of nowhere, and now it can be played on Xbox One and PC. How frequently does it happen to anything in the year 2023, The Year of Our Lord? Anywhere? Almost never is a good estimate.
Because of this, the game doesn’t feel like a breath of fresh air so much as a gust of wind that knocks us off our feet, and while I don’t want to minimize the quality of the game when discussing its success, let’s be honest: this game feels so new not just because it’s an amazing game, but because it wasn’t wrung dry for 12 months by a drawn-out marketing campaign.
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Hi-fi Rush a Heartfelt Tribute to a Surprising Success
What I’m about to say isn’t meant as an insult to anyone specifically working in video game marketing; you all have jobs to perform, and in the vast majority of cases, you all do very good work selling video games.
It’s a tough job, whether it’s creating blockbuster trailers or just chatting with (potential) fans on social media, and it’s one that, in most cases, I completely understand and empathize with, especially given the system within which they’re operating: selling games on storefronts obsessed with preorders and wishlists.
— Bethesda (@bethesda) January 27, 2023
However, I have not created even one advertisement. I, too, am bombarded by hundreds at a time, and thousands in every direction we turn. Video game fans are constantly bombarded online, from the moment we log in to the moment we go, by everything from trailers on major sites to YouTube to Twitter to Discord. Here’s a product: pre-order it, read about it, and then pre-order it.
Predictability in video game marketing is a topic I’ve addressed before in my Deathblood saga writings. Not in the details of their marketing (a major studio release will have a much bigger budget than a small independent one), but in the sense that we can almost always count on feeling completely drained by the end of it.
Hi-Fi Rush is really challenging the button mashing muscle memory I've built up since Street Fighter II lol.
— Jez (@JezCorden) January 27, 2023
It is not enough to simply introduce us to the setting, genre, and premise of a game. The histories of all the important players need to be explained to us. A global lore explanation was presented. We are informed of the total number of lines of dialogue, the estimated number of hours required to complete the project, and the identities of all voice actors.
By the time of release, we’re conditioned and, in many cases, expected to be fans of a game we haven’t yet played. Which is exactly the point.
Take for example the case where Hi-Fi Rush had been exposed to a standard Bethesda advertising effort instead of just arriving out of nowhere. Envision its unveiling at The Game Awards in December 2021, its spotlight muted by the heavier, more expensive titles that were also announced at the same time.
Imagine if Chai’s worst phrases were included in the character reveal trailer on YouTube, and you watched it just before starting the game, instead of learning to love him gradually as you might Fry from The Simpsons or Leela from The Incredible Hulk.
Imagine if we’d seen a Meet Project Armstrong documentary beforehand, ruining the game’s ability to surprise us with the introduction of its characters and setting on its own terms.
That would have been the pits! The game itself would have been OK without cheats, but the sense of discovery and excitement that has surrounded its release like a buzz in a contemporary schoolyard would have been diminished.
As I’ve already stated, I don’t intend to embarrass any individual, company, or organization that is responsible for selling any other video game. The trees themselves are not the issue. We’re in the middle of a wooded area.
What sets apart Hi-Fi Rush from other games is this. Indeed, it’s one of the few games where such a move would be acceptable. Please take note that I have not proclaimed the end of video game advertising or advocated that additional games adopt this strategy; doing so would be futile (this is a huge forest, after all) and heedless, respectively.
Hi-Fi Rush may play like a restored GameCube game, yet it was made by a renowned AAA studio, published by Bethesda, and made available to try for “free” on Xbox Game Pass. It had the good fortune to be the rarest possible combination of class, breadth, and lineage to afford to do anything like this and have any prospect of getting away with it.
In Hi-Fi Rush, I find the "Streamer Mode" sound-track beat to be much easier to follow than the licensed music. It feels more bespoke to the game.
If you're struggling with timing, try the Streamer Mode function in options. It might help. #Xbox
— Jez (@JezCorden) January 27, 2023
Therefore, I would rather not use Hi-Fi Rush as an illustration. In closing, I’d like to stress the importance of appreciating this game for what it is and how it got to us since both are as ideal as we could have wished for and may never occur again. Few things are as pleasant as an unexpected discovery in a video game.
Hi-Fi Rush reviews:
PrimaGames – 10/10
Forbes – 9.5/10
XboxEra – 9.5/10
WayTooManyGames – 9.5/10
Hobby Consolas – 90/100
Fun Factor – 9/10
Polygon – Recommended
VGC – 4/5
Available with Xbox Game Pass.
— Klobrille (@klobrille) January 28, 2023
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Is Hi Fi Rush any good?
To far, 688 people have given Hi-Fi Rush a rating of 9.2 out of 10 on Metacritic, making it the highest rated game in the genre. Here are the lists for games that have had higher scores but considerably less reviews: Dynasty Warriors 9: Empires on Xbox One, Series X: 9.5.
Is Hi Fi Rush coming to ps5?
It's not, alas. Xbox is the only platform on which to play Hi-Fi RUSH. And since ZeniMax, of which Tango Gameworks is a part, was acquired by Microsoft and is now a part of the Xbox Game Studios family, the chances of it coming to PlayStation consoles are, to put it mildly, slim to none. And the Nintendo Switch is no exception.
Is Hifi Rush on Playstation?
There are currently no plans to distribute Hi-Fi Rush on PlayStation consoles, but it is only available on Xbox and PC.