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Hi-Fi Rush PS5 port review: DualSense duet

Hi-Fi Rush seems like the kind of game that would be perfect for the PS5’s controller
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As I booted up Hi-Fi Rush on my PS5 for the first time, I expected a logo for Xbox Game Pass to pop up. Instead, I was treated to the standard Bethesda logo and then found myself on the main menu. Wait, what? Surely Microsoft is porting its first-party games to competing platforms to drive up interest in its subscription service. What better way to do that than pop a logo of it momentarily, seeding the idea of it in a non-Xbox owner’s mind? But no, nothing of that sort here. The game just started up, and there is no indication that it was once an Xbox exclusive, perhaps it’s best in recent years.

Hi-Fi Rush seems like the kind of game that would be perfect for the PS5’s controller. An action-rhythm game played with top-of-the-line haptics — what better match could you ask for? Unfortunately, my excitement was quelled when I found out that it underutilizes the DualSense controller. After playing through the opening hour of the game, I started the game up on my PC with an Xbox controller for a quick comparison. The PC/Xbox version’s integration of controller vibrations is, perhaps slightly, better, especially during cutscenes.

Hi-Fi Rush gameplay screenshot on PS5

Hi-Fi Rush's action-rhythm gameplay feels like the perfect fit for PS5's DualSense.

But let’s get back to the beginning. Hi-Fi Rush was one of Xbox’s best exclusives from last year, introducing a new, colorful cast of characters in a vibrant world that moved with the beat. Chai, its protagonist, finds himself pursued by evil robots after an experiment goes wrong. The catch? His music player is embedded in his chest, which allows him to perceive rhythm in the world around him. Everything from security drones to platforming arenas, to his attacks through a makeshift guitar, moves to the music beat. This concept holds for all aspects of the game - combat, platforming, cut-scenes, you name it. It’s a novel idea that leans towards style more than substance, but sometimes that’s all you need.

I expected way more from the DualSense in a setting like this, but there could be good reasons to underutilize it. The DualSense is well known for its terrible battery life, and the more you push its discrete functions, the faster it gets drained.

Hi-Fi Rush gameplay screenshot on PS5

Hi-Fi Rush can get pretty funny at times.

Another bummer is the lack of HDR or even cross-save support. Sure, it’s not a live-service multiplayer game, but it would have been a welcome addition. You can link the game to your Bethesda account, but I have no idea if it does anything.

Hi-Fi Rush on PlayStation represents more than just a simple port. It represents the beginning of the end of console-exclusive games. It shows that Xbox is willing to let its mascots roam beyond its walled garden of Game Pass, but looking closely, does it really? We know that Tango Gameworks was not developing it as an Xbox exclusive. More importantly, the image of Chai and his ragtag gang is almost antithetical to the Xbox mascot, which has often been portrayed by gruff, larger-than-life dudes who love kicking butt and taking names. It’s certainly not a robotic cat. So does it really matter that PlayStation players will be able to enjoy this adventure? I don’t think so.

Hi-Fi Rush Equip menu on PS5 showing the PlayStation-exclusive outfit.

The PS5 port includes an exclusive outfit for Chai.

I don’t own an Xbox because I’ve never felt the need to buy one, what with the lack of compelling exclusives and the company’s push towards a multi-platform future. I do have a PC though, but Hi-Fi Rush, like many games, is not something I want to play sitting close to my monitor. I want to enjoy this from the comfort of my couch, and the PS5 version does exactly that. So thank you Microsoft, Bethesda, or whichever executive’s genius idea it was to bring it to more players.

Score: 8/10

Version tested: PlayStation 5

Hi-Fi Rush PS5 technical breakdown

Hi-Fi Rush runs incredibly well on PS5, with a rock-solid 60fps output, fast loading times, and a resolution target that looks close to native 4K. It looks excellent on a 4K display. The 3D audio integration is also noteworthy, although the DualSense integration leaves a little to be desired. The same is true for no cross-save support.