Hi-Fi Rush’s Beat Visualizer Would Be Useful In Other Action Games, Too
Parrying is hard. Though I don't think I'll ever be a FromSoft master, if I could just get the timing right on my blocks, it would make navigating the Lands Between significantly less deadly.
Hi-Fi Rush goes a long way toward making parrying feel possible for a scrub like me. In Tango Gameworks' stellar mash-up of Bayonetta and Band Hero, your parry always needs to land on the beat. So does everything else you do in the game, and the soundtrack and environment all move to that rhythm to drive home the point. If you still have a hard time feeling the beat intuitively — and as someone who usually watches people around me to make sure I'm clapping at the right time, I understand — you can press a button at any time to bring up a beat visualizer.
The visualizer helps you find the beat by turning rhythm into a moving indicator — a common mechanic in most rhythm games. Positioned at the bottom of the screen, the graphic shows each beat as it moves in from both the left and right sides to hit an outline of feline sidekick 808's head in the center. If you can't feel the beat at first, you can look at this and practice dashing and slashing in time with it.
This is helpful in Hi-Fi Rush, but it would be helpful in other action games, too. I would love to have a feature like this in Devil May Cry, Bayonetta, or Dark Souls. The beat visualizer makes it easier to think about the fact that your opponent's moves have timing. This is something that you, again, intuitively feel in a game. You know that when a boss lifts their sword in Elden Ring, you have a few seconds to dive out of the way. But, seeing that action represented by the actual beats it's corresponding to makes it easier to think about how you're playing and how your actions fit into the game's rhythm.
The other games I mentioned don't score their action to a soundtrack, and you would probably die quickly if you tried to time your Bloodborne combat to the game's operatic music. But it would be cool to see an accessibility option in action that lets you apply an attack timer to your enemies. I'm picturing a meter displayed above their head like a health bar that moves as they go through the phases of their attack. If their attacks progress through three motions, the bar could have three points on it with the meter filling up as they move. They lift their sword; one bar. They wind up; the second bar. They swing; the third bar fills and the meter flashes.
This wouldn't be the right solution for every game. Obviously FromSoftware, for example, isn't interested in adding an easy mode, let alone further options to let players customize the difficulty to suit their playstyle. But for a series like DmC, which offers multiple difficulty levels, it would be cool to see something like this implemented. For players who need the extra help, it would provide an option. And, for everyone else, it would be a chance to understand the game on a deeper level, to get a peek at the math and music underneath the surface.
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