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Hi-Fi Rush on PS5 and the Xbox multi-platform story so far

Hi-Fi Rush recently arrived on PlayStation 5 and as contentious as the idea of Xbox going ‘multi-plat’ in any way may be, the strategy so far is sound. Lower profile titles that aren’t exactly triple-A juggernauts gain a new lease of life on competing console hardware. Giving titles like Hi-Fi Rush more of a chance to find a bigger audience can only be a good thing for the games themselves, and equally, could even help evangelise the Xbox platform and what it offers to a wider audience. However, Microsoft needs to tread carefully for obvious reasons – and a combination of bugs, tech polish issues and minor gaffes are concerning. In some cases, the PS5 versions receive features ahead of Xbox Series X and in the case of Hi-Fi Rush, there’s a minor graphical upgrade of sorts on the Sony machine.

By moving Xbox-exclusive games onto PlayStation 5, the opportunities are big but I’d argue that Microsoft is treading a fine line here – and it’s crucial that it gets it right. What we’ve noticed are a series of issues with these games, at least initially, where the PS5 versions offer advantages over their Xbox counterparts. The extent of these advantages varies from game to game, from the irrelevant to the curious to something more concerning – but I think the point we want to make is that when the idea of Xbox going multi-platform is so contentious, arguably they should be doing a better job.


Microsoft markets the Xbox Series X as the most powerful games console on the market, so the idea of its PS5 titles being in any way better or even slightly improved over the Series X versions isn’t the preferred state of affairs. Surely first-party exclusives should offer complete parity – or even an improved experience – on what Microsoft has marketed as the most powerful console on the market?

Hi-Fi Rush PS5 Review + Xbox Multi-Platform Releases – The Story So Far

Hi-Fi rush migrates to PS5 – and it’s as superb as it’s ever been.

Focusing on Hi-Fi Rush today, something unusual caught our eye. For the most part, PS5 gets a carbon copy of the existing Series X game, as it should be. They sport matching textures, anisotropic filtering, and world detail. However, the shadow quality on PS5 is improved compared to the original Xbox Series X version. It’s not a one-off case; it applies across all of the game’s dynamic shadows encompassing environments and characters.

The higher resolution of shadows on PS5 allows for a more precise shadow definition on fine details with none of the aliasing and pixellation seen on Series X, which in itself is at least a boost over the Series S shadow setting. To be clear, this is the only tangible difference between the Series X and its Sony counterpart. Otherwise, they both run Hi-Fi Rush at 60 frames per second, with occasional one frame dips on each that don’t impact play. Performance-wise PS5 is absolutely not being penalised for the higher shadow settings either; it’s the same 60fps readout as Series X always has been.

The fact that there is this or any kind of advantage on the PS5 version is, in principle, very odd and most likely an oversight. PC at maxed settings looks the same as Series X, whether you’re looking at the Game Pass or Steam version. Using Unreal Engine Unlocker, we find that the shadow setting is already maxed on PC – but it’s still the case that this element on PlayStation 5 delivers higher quality. We daresay that this can be fixed up easily enough and on the face of it, it’s small beer perhaps, but this isn’t an isolated case where a first-party Microsoft title isn’t quite up to par with the PlayStation 5 version.

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It began with Ghostwire: Tokyo, emerging on Xbox a year after its prior timed exclusivity with PlayStation 5. By this point, Tango Gameworks was an Xbox first-party studio and yet despite the extra year to work on the Series X release (arriving in April 2023) the game was tangibly worse than the existing PlayStation 5 version. Even to this day, running brand new tests on the performance modes on each using their high frame rate 120Hz outputs, PS5 still has a visible frame-rate lead and the difference is by as much as 10 frames per second. It was the case then, and is the case now.

Equally, the quality mode’s ray-traced reflections still run at a higher quality level on PS5 across the rainy streets. Plus, the issues with misaligned shadows on Series X highlighted in the original DF tech review still aren’t addressed. Again, this is the case despite the extra year of development for Xbox and a further year on since the port arrived. It doesn’t send out the right message to the Xbox audience. On paper, the Series X is the more powerful machine, Microsoft has marketed it as such, so it’s important that its Xbox ports follow through.

Other, more easily avoided issues have also emerged such as Pentiment launching on PlayStation 5 with a 120Hz mode that wasn’t on Xbox Series X. Let’s be clear: 120fps is not exactly an essential feature given the type of game Pentiment is. 60fps is absolutely fine. But still, it is functionality on PS5 that simply was not there for the Xbox Series X for the entire year prior. Xbox systems all ran at 60fps at best and its no-show on Microsoft hardware was described as a bug. Fortunately, since the game’s PS5 launch, the 120Hz mode has been patched into Series X as well, giving it the same 120Hz support. It runs just as you’d expect too: matching the PS5 with the same small unnoticeable blips under. Curiously, the title screen sequence which is taxing and drops performance well below 120fps on PS5, shows a Series X advantage.

Ghostwire: Tokyo – Xbox Tech Review – No Improvement on PS5, Worse on Xbox Series X/S

Ghostwire: Tokyo launched on Xbox after Microsoft acquired Bethesda, so it was surprising to see despite the year’s wait, the game wasn’t as good on Series X as it was on PS5… and nothing has changed since our review last year.

The drops are a surprise given that it’s a Unity based, dialogue driven adventure side-scroller in a 2D style. But the upshot is, Xbox does make the most of its newly-added 120Hz mode. Even so, in the contentious atmosphere surrounding Microsoft’s multi-platform plans, the whole episode is a bit of a PR faux pas and we can’t wonder why this – or indeed Hi-Fi Rush’s shadow issue – weren’t addressed during its quality assurance period. Hopefully, as with Pentiment’s 120Hz issue, the shadow discrepancies seen in Hi-Fi Rush will get addressed too.

Beyond oversights and bugs, frame-rate differentials may well be down to ambiguity about which console does actually offer the best performance. After all, three-and-a-half years of Digital Foundry platform comparisons have shown no clear winner: some games perform better than others on either system. However, as Microsoft brings additional developers under its first-party banner, it makes sense to ensure that Xbox versions are as performant and feature-complete in every way as the PlayStation 5 versions.

It’s also crucial that Microsoft maintains a reputation that Xbox is the best place to play its own games, especially as it seems clear that more will transition across from Xbox to PlayStation in due course. On that note, we’ll soon see more Xbox titles coming to PlayStation 5: Obsidian’s Grounded and Rare’s Sea of Thieves. Much like Hi-Fi Rush, they’re both Unreal Engine 4 titles, and it’ll be interesting to see how they translate.

For now though, it’s all about Hi-Fi Rush and no matter which platform you’re playing it on, it remains an exceptional release we highly recommend. It made my end-of-year top five list for 2023 for good reason: it’s a game built to a rhythm: the combat, the footsteps of our leading man Chai, and the environment all syncing up to the beat. The closer you sync your attack inputs to the beat, the more powerful your combos become – and it’s a conceit that blends beautifully with the cel-shaded style, the perfect comic timing of its cut-scenes. To see a game exploding with so much charm, colour and humour is hugely refreshing, and I hope that in opening the game up to an even wider audience on PS5, it receives even more of the success it richly deserves.


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