Hogwarts Legacy is finally on the market and enchants the gaming world with its really chic magic world. But in the Gallic village called Carlo-Hausen, the excitement about the open-world game has evaporated even before the release. When I wrote a column on the subject a few weeks ago, my opinion was received – let’s say “controversially”. Many could not understand my position, but that is perfectly fine. The opinions are just different. In addition to Hogwarts Legacy, I’ve been searching through another game over the past few weeks that I don’t want to withhold from you: Hi-Fi Rush (buy now ), the new work of Tango Gameworks. So while playing these two hard-to-compare games, I noticed one thing that makes Hi-Fi Rush better than Hogwarts Legacy.
By that I mean the courage to say “Less is more”! I’m not talking about less content, but about a clear line and focus on a few, but well-developed ideas. I think games have a lot more potential to become great if you work towards a clear vision instead of throwing in 1000 different ideas and mechanics, half of which don’t really work.
To better understand what I mean, let’s take a look at Hi-Fi Rush. In case you haven’t noticed: A few weeks ago Tango Gameworks – the studio behind Evil Within and Ghostwire Tokyo – released a new game. Spontaneously and without much notice. Such a guerrilla action is also called a shadow drop and I think it’s a cool and charming way of presenting your game. But for that to work, the game has to be able to do something. Only then does word of mouth work.
And Holy Moly, Hi-Fi Rush can do something! I think that’s because it masterfully pursues the clean line philosophy. The developers had three ideas as a basis for development.
- It’s a rhythm game
- It has a colorful but detailed comic look
- There’s a great deal of humor in it
The whole game is knitted around these three principles. The foundation is principle number 1: All elements of the game are completely subordinate to the music. It starts with the combat system. All attacks are performed in time with the melodies – even if you don’t press the buttons in time. It’s still advisable to get into the rhythm, because pressing the attack buttons in time will reward you with stronger and more effective attacks. Depending on which attack buttons you use, you trigger cool animated combos. This gives the combat system a surprising depth.
The opponents are also subordinate to the music and strike in time. This makes the attacks extremely readable and you can react to them as a player without it becoming too easy. This timing system automatically makes fights play out amazingly
choreographed and feel really good, even though it’s all happening dynamically in the moment. If one of the licensed songs then turns up, there’s no holding back. Working your way through the villains’ HQ towards the final battle on The Prodigy’s “Invaders must die” is a blast.
The boss fights are in a class of their own, surprise with cool ideas and are also brilliantly choreographed. Sometimes you encounter a towering robot, sometimes it is necessary to masterly block attacks in a surprisingly intensive duel. Thanks to the clock system, you can always react well to all meanness. At least if you have some musical flair. To help the player find the rhythm, the whole world listens to the music. It doesn’t matter whether it’s robots, machines, your own character or even the trees standing around: everything sways to the beat and thus provides visual impulses.