Hi-Fi Rush Review – Dance Dance DMC

This game was shadow dropped last year by Tango Gameworks of all people. To put into perspective, those are the same people that brought you Ghostwire: Tokyo. When I saw that they were releasing Hi-Fi Rush, I was very scared that I would have to buy an Xbox for it, or maybe upgrade my PC and purchase the game on Steam.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to do either, with the game finally hitting the PS5 systems. And yeah, it’s also just as sick as I thought it’d be. Actually, it’s probably better than I thought.

On This Page

Stunning city, gorgeous animation

The Story So Far

In Hi-Fi Rush, you play as Chai. In signing up to effectively become a corporate guinea-pig, Chai gets a metal arm. He also accidentally has his legally distinct iPod-esque MP3 player embedded into his chest. This forces his body to be able to move to the beat.

Thankfully, Chai is too stupid to see this as a curse and just relishes in his the new powers he is granted by his new metallic arm, and even though the company technically brands him as a failure, he successfully escapes the area, much to the enemy’s dismay.

Throughout the game you meet the typical motley crew of companions as you all fight through level after level in search of revenge against the world-dominating corporation.

My main concern in playing this game was that the characters were going to get annoying. Initially, they all annoyed me somewhat, but after I got off of my inexplicably high-horse, I found every character to be charming. Even Chai is lovingly charming in that incessant idiot sort of way.

While not all of the games jokes hit, they come and go so quickly, and are often propped up by the gorgeous animation, that I’m struggling to think of any which outright missed. The game also loves its references. There was one particularly stupid Twin Peaks reference which I loved.

It’s references like these which make me love games like these. It has no purpose, no relevance to anything, and it was clearly just something someone though would be cool. Well so do I mystery dev, so do I.

The taunt of the B rank

Beats Per Million

Everything in Hi-Fi Rush is to the music. All environmental effects, all platform sections, all enemy attacks, and all character movements fall into place under the constant beat.

Outside of the generic beat, the game also features some licensed tracks from the Black Keys and Nine Inch Nails, among others. I’m not a huge music guy, but just like DMC, this game has a magical way of getting me to jam to songs I’d otherwise never listen to.

Throughout the tutorial level I was getting sort of worried. I’m very familiar with similar character action games and the presence of a beat almost seemed to dictate the pace of the first few encounters. This led me to believe that the game was a sort of baby’s first hack n’ slash.

Thankfully, this suspicion quickly dissipated once the game introduced the typical pause combos, super attacks, and character assists. While the beat does dictate the effectiveness of your attacks (as being on beat with each input makes your attacks hit harder), as well as your encounter and level ranking, they don’t pigeonhole you as much as I feared.

The game has 4 difficulties. Amazingly, all of these are available from the start. This is one thing which other character action games tend to miss out on. If you’re experienced enough you can often trivialize the game on normal and then run into every subsequent difficulty with a maxed out character. However, here you can go in at what you think is the optimal difficulty for you and you can get your ass kicked all the way through. Just like I did. You can change the difficulty at any time by the way, I’m just stubborn.

At least they muted Zanzo…

The First Playthrough

This is a game built on replayability. Yes there is a story, and yes it’s pretty good, but people like me are here for the 10th playthrough content.

The game has 12 levels, 7 of which have bosses. Each level is typically a platforming section that leads you into a square room in which you fight robots. This is not so much a criticism as it is an observation.

The criticism I have is that many of these platforming sections become quite tedious on subsequent playthroughs. The first run through is great because you’re often distracted by the collectibles and side areas, but the game loses some of its luster when you’re just trying to b-line the platforming sections to get to the next encounter.

However, almost in anticipation for this criticism, the game offers something on NG+. Spectra doors. These are doors which you can often find on your first playthrough but can’t access. In NG+, these act as DMC blue orb challenge rooms, all of which you have to complete in order to unlock the games secret ending.

Damn, there goes my one big criticism.

These forced platforming sections also concerned me for another reason. In old DMC games (the pre-DMC 5 days) you would have to navigate all of these boring sections as quickly as possible because the games ranking system was very focused on time. Hi-Fi Rush doesn’t take anything outside of combat arenas into account when calculating your rank.

Hallelujah! There’s another potential criticism gone. If you do well in the combat, you’ll get a high rank, pitfalls and stage damage be damned!

The concomitant lava-stage.

NG+ And Beyond

After you beat the game you can obviously go back and clean up any missing S ranks, as well as scoop up anything you haven’t bought yet at the shop.

The game has an item shop in which you can spend the gears you’ve collected so far. Gears are earned through exploration as well as beating enemies with as stylishly as possible. In the shop you can purchase a steady stream of new moves, new supers, new moves for your character assists (which I was surprised by), and new chips, which act as flat-stat upgrades/ improvements.

Assuming you’ve already bought everything though, you can also do a Bloody Palace type tower mode in which you work through 60 floors of combat which becomes steadily harder at set intervals. As a fun twist on this well worn formula, all of Chai’s stats get bumped back to 0, and you can upgrade them at the beginning of each floor. You can also forgo an upgrade if instead you want to boost your score temporarily or heal yourself.

As well as all of that, you can also play the game on a new mode: BPM mode. In this mode, the more enemies you beat, the higher the bpm goes. This is another fun twist on the typical turbo mode that character action games tend to have. I imagine that after a few playthroughs of this, the whole game will feel as though it’s in slow motion. That’s how turbo mode almost ruined DMC 4 for me.

AS WELL as all of that, the game also has a litany of postgame cosmetics. You can change Chai’s shirt, jacket, guitar, or entire outfit. You can also change the outfit of each of your support characters.

And the game is only $30. That is insane.


  • Stunning visuals
  • Wonderful soundtrack
  • Smooth as butter gameplay
  • Seemingly endless postgame content


  • None…that I can think of?

Hi-Fi Rush


I was skeptical. I was basically demanding that the game wow me, and it did. The amount of quality content you get for this low a price is ASTOUNDING.

PS5 version purchased for review purposes.