Hi-Fi Rush, the new Xbox title that has frequently been compared to PS2 games, is bizarrely unavailable on last-gen consoles. Technically, it is. You can play Hi-Fi Rush on Xbox One (or your iPhone, for that matter) via cloud streaming. But for a game where exact timing and rhythmic button presses are required, playing a version where latency will likely be an issue isn't optimal.
I know because I've tried to play it that way. I have a gaming laptop that can run the game natively, but I generally prefer to play most stuff on my TV if at all possible. So I tried Hi-Fi Rush out on my Xbox One S via streaming and it seemed to work fine at first. I played about 45 minutes that way without any issue.
Then, a few days later, I picked the game back up and instantly ran into gameplay issues that were making it impossible to progress. In two separate places where I needed to do a simple combo, I couldn't. It was difficult to tell if the problems stemmed from me forgetting something the game had taught me or from some technical issue, so I started over from the beginning to see if that would clear it up.
When I got back to an earlier tutorial section that required Chai to combo, I couldn't complete it no matter how many times I tried. This was a portion of the game that I had breezed through during my first play session, but now it was impossible. Sure enough, I looked the problem up and saw that this was a common issue when playing through the cloud. I tried switching the game the Low Latency Input setting off, but that seemed to completely change the timing of Chai's attacks. Trying to get Hi-Fi Rush working was my most frustrating time with a game in a long while.
All of this highlights that, for a game like Hi-Fi Rush which demands precision timing at certain points, cloud gaming just isn't going to work for many people. My internet is good enough. I can stream TV and play multiplayer games without issue. But if anyone else in the house is connected to wi-fi, it's going to have a noticeable impact on my ability to play games via streaming.
Hi-Fi Rush isn't an especially graphically intensive game, so it's bizarre that Microsoft opted not to put out a downloadable version of last-gen consoles. I don't want to say that Hi-Fi Rush isn't demanding just because it doesn't have a realistic art style. The game looks fantastic, plus background objects are constantly moving to the beat which is likely resource intensive in a different way.
But the Xbox One S can natively run demanding games. Gears 5 is on Xbox One. Forza Horizon 5 is on Xbox One. The load times may be long, but the game is still available for download. This may just be part of a broader shift, as Microsoft pushes players toward newer hardware, but it's a bummer to see Hi-Fi Rush arbitrarily locked to newer consoles. It's not that big of a deal for me because I have a PS5 and PC that can play current gen games without issue. But, the Venn diagram of players who can't afford to upgrade to an Xbox Series X|S and those who can't afford great internet has significant overlap. It sucks to see both groups left behind when they don't need to be.
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