We rock out to the surprise musical gem Hi-Fi Rush, find out if GeForce Now is the future of gaming and more!
Sometimes the best things in life are completely unexpected, so it only makes sense then that Hi-Fi Rush, a game launched completely out of the blue with zero fanfare, is a frantic, smile-inducing pop of colour that the video game world didn’t realise it needed until now.
You’ll fill the shoes of Chai, a wannabe rockstar who mistakenly has his music player fused to his heart by a pretty shady megacorporation. It sounds incredibly cartoonish, but that only helps serve Hi-Fi Rush’s suitably Saturday-morning artstyle that looks as though it could have been ripped right out of your childhood. It also opens up the game’s central hook, as Chai starts to feel the musical beat of the world around him.
This turns the entirety of Hi-Fi Rush into a wonderfully rhythmic experience. Platforming, dodges and attacks are all synced to the beat of each environment’s track, and while that does take a bit of getting used to for the musically challenged, it’s an utter delight once the game starts ramping things up to 11.
Whether it’s smashing foes with your metallic guitar or besting a boss to the likes of Nine Inch Nails, Hi-Fi Rush knows how to show you a good time. It’s also to the game’s credit that it never makes you feel like you’re being punished for playing off beat, and even gives you the opportunity to display a visual metronome at all times if you’re really struggling.
What’s most surprising about Hi-Fi Rush however, is the team behind it. Tango Gameworks is best known for their survival horror title The Evil Within, so this complete pivot is a welcome surprise and hopefully encourages more developers to experiment outside of their comfort zone.
Hi-Fi Rush is out now for Xbox Series X/S and PC.
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Also out now…
Fire Emblem Engage (Switch)
While Fire Emblem has been a mainstay Nintendo franchise for decades, 2019’s Fire Emblem Three Houses won over a Legion of new fans thanks to its focus on story and social elements.
Expect the same from Fire Emblem Engage and you’ll be sorely disappointed. But while these newfound elements appear to have taken a backseat this time around, there’s still plenty of strong strategic gameplay that is a hoot to be a part of.
Thanks to Fire Emblem’s classic rock-paper-scissors formula, battles can be incredibly tense affairs as you try to outsmart out opponent by thinking multiple moves ahead. So too Engage’s own hook, allowing you to call on the souls of classic characters from the series’ past, adds even more nuance to consider, even if many of the faces aren’t all that familiar to you.
The story might not reach the heights of its predecessor, but it’s hard to complain when the moment-to-moment action is as enjoyable as it is. Rest assured that Fire Emblem Engage is real feast for serious strategists.
Hogwarts Legacy (PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PC)
There’s no denying that it’s not a great time to be a Harry Potter fan right now, with J.K Rowling proving herself to have some pretty rubbish and damaging opinions regarding transgender rights – tarnishing the IP in the process.
In the midst of it all though, we now have Hogwarts Legacy, and for those who continue to see the Wizarding World as a much-needed escape the developers behind the game (who themselves have claimed Rowling has had no input into the final product) have delivered a game that is truly magical.
Simply put, Hogwarts Legacy is the game Harry Potter fans dreamed about for decades. Hogwarts itself feels gargantuan and properly realised, brimming with nefarious ghosts causing chaos to magical orchestras playing in the halls. Whether you’re brewing concoctions in potions class or exploring the streets of Hogsmeade you can tell that a tremendous amount of love and care has been put into this adventure.
Not everything is a slam dunk, the story is a bit hit and miss, the presentation of conversations feels like they’ve been pulled from 2010 and you’ll likely encounter the odd graphical hiccup here and there, but once you’re under the game’s spell we doubt you’ll be too bothered.
Whether or not you choose not to play Hogwarts Legacy is your choice, but should you wish to support the trans community, you can do so here.
Forespoken (PS5, PC)
Forespoken is a classic game of two halves. On the one side you’ve got a competent third person action title that packs in a rapid, pretty enjoyable combat system with a wide range of fantastical magic abilities. On the other you’re stuck with a weak narrative, some mindless quests and rather grating in-game chatter (although you can tone that down in the settings should you wish).
If you’ve been on the hunt for a more traditional fish-out-of-water adventure, as young New Yorker Frey is transported to the mystical world of Athia, then Forespoken still has plenty to offer. There’s quite a sizeable open world to explore, it’s just a little rough around the edges.
At the end of the day then Forespoken is a perfectly enjoyable jaunt through a magical land, it’s just not the cinematic, highly polished PS5-must-buy many were hoping for.
Hands-on with GeForce Now
Forget avocados, if you’re a gamer, you’ll know that the serious hit to your wallet is PC gaming. Ignoring all the additional extras like keyboards, mice and monitors, building a modern rig can be a stupidly pricey endeavour. A top-of-the-line GeForce RTX 4080 graphics card, for example will set you back a whopping $2000+ and that’s simply one component out of many.
Enter GeForce NOW – a new game streaming service that aims to do much of the heavy lifting for you. Even better – it actually bloody works.
If you’re confused, GeForce NOW’s elevator pitch is a relaticely simple one: simply boot up almost any laptop, tablet or mobile device and you can use it to log into a remote rig and play a wide catalogue of PC games – all over the world wide web. It’s wizardy all thanks to Pentanet, already one of the largest ISPs in WA, who are also providing the local servers around the country.
In practice it’s actually as simple as it sounds, so it’s to Pentanet’s credit that during our time testing out the platform we were able to get up and running with almost no issue. On the highest membership tier, we were connected to a rig within seconds and playing our game moments later. We were flabbergasted.
So far so good, but it’s here we should point out a number of necessary caveats. The first is that in order to utilie GeForce NOW, you not only have to already own the game, but it also has to fall within the company’s own software catalogue. That means you won’t be able to boot up sessions with most of the industry’s latest releases.
The other is that no matter how strong your NBN connection may be, you’ll only be able to stream at a max 1080p resolution at 60 fps (this will obviously also depend on the game you’re playing). As a result, GeForce NOW might not be the best option to throw up on a 65-inch display, but does look mighty respectable on smaller devices.
Our sessions with Death Stranding on a Google Pixel phone for example, looked pretty darn respectable, and only presented a minor amount of input lag. Simiarly slower paced games like LEGO Builder’s Journey worked a treat and could make the use of the platform’s RTX capabilities. Sure it won’t match the fidelity of a hard-wired gaming console or PC, but if you’re tight on space or cash, it’s an appealing option.
Membership plans for GeForce NOW range from $3.49 a month to $19.99 a month, each offering various perks, graphical perks and session times. This certainly isn’t a service for everybody, especially if you have a poor internet connection or small games library. But if you’re keen to suss out the eventual future of video games, it’s well worth giving a shot, especially with a pretty nifty free trial.
For more info visit the GeForce NOW website.
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