Review: Gravity Rush (Vita)

5 mins read

I’m still not sure Gravity Rush knows what it wanted to be when in development, the obvious gameplay gimmick aside. The open world, cute cel-shaded graphics, platformer- inspired puzzle sequences, RPG-style music and combat that might have been borrowed from an early Kingdom Hearts game never quite mesh together comfortably.

Taken individually, every individual element within the game is something special. There’s been real care put into creating something new and reasonably innovative, and for an early-release Vita game it’s refreshing to see that the whole experience is hardware gimmick-free – it’s entirely possible to play through 90 per cent of the game using the Vita as a traditional controller. And meshed together, as awkward as Gravity Rush is at times, it’s still a genuinely good time.

The main trick this game has up its sleeve is, of course, the ability to mess with gravity. A simple tap of the R-button and Kat, the protagonist, floats up in the air. Another tap and she’ll fly in whatever direction she’s aimed at. If she comes into contact with a floor or ceiling by doing this, that will become the “ground,” which she can use to run around as normal.

The one catch is this power is limited, and if the timer runs out, gravity will revert to normal. This may well mean Kat is dumped into a bottomless abyss. Later on it’ll feel like there’s never really enough time to accomplish everything while there’s still gravity power “in reserve” – this game can have a nice bite to it, for all its cutsey visual style.

Because this is an open world, the game largely moves at whatever pace you would like it to, though if I am being brutally honest, as a hub, the overworld is a rather vacant beauty – stunning to look at, but missions aside, not much is switched on. It reminded me a little of No More Hero’s bland overworld, if No More Heroes was a cel-shaded version of the movies Dark City and City of Lost Children meshed together. It’s a little unfortunate that the world isn’t more engaging, because it’s a world that you will want to engage with.

Get into the missions and the game shows its real depth of ideas. It offers up everything – stealth, frantic action, platforming and side quests feature challenge missions for medals and loot. Side quests include races and challenges to kill as many enemies within the time frame. All of this is broken up by the combat, which really is little more than a distraction. It’s not that it’s bad, but it’s very one note and strategy amounts to little more than setting Kat up to hurl either herself, or some of the nearby scenery, at glowing enemy weakpoints. Boss battles follow the same formula and although those are epic in size, the tactics required to beat them are just a little to straightforward considering how refreshingly original the rest of the game is.

But the combat isn’t the focus of the game, and it’s important to remember that. The real joy of Gravity Rush lies with the heroine, Kat, who has a gorgeous personality and is one of the most endearing new characters in recent years, and the simple exploration of a city, no longer inhibited by gravity. Finding a bit of treasure hidden behind a turn on the ceiling is one of those rare moments in modern gaming that can be considered to be a “new” experience, and it’s a rewarding one.

 Matt S

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  • Im glad I played the Gravity Rush Demo before I bought the game, Of course it is a cute and game that I would love to beat but the flying felt just a bit to clunky and frustrating at times for me to enjoy this game so it was one i decided to skip till it gets way cheaper

  • I want to love Gravity Rush. I really, really do. There's so many great things about the game: I adore Kat's whimsical sense of teenage flirty humour, an the fantastic art style, but the controls frustrate the heck out of me. I put it down about halfway through and I really need to finish it up. I've just not felt the desire to do so.

  • Which controls are you talking about? The "boarding" sections control horribly, I agree, though I don't think any else about the game upset me.

  • The flying in general: aiming for a spot only to slide off the side (camera pans in instantly) and you blindly blast away from your intended target; weak auto target when trying to jump kick taller enemies weak spots while on foot, lack of an "stabilizer" while in air, to rotate you without falling, etc.

    I also find the environment lifeless. The music if fantastic and the visuals even more so, but I just don't find the mindlessly flying around to obtain crystals fun.

    It's a good game, and it's something that I feel I should really enjoy more than I am, but it's just not clicking with me — bought it on release day too. Not towards you in the least Matt, as I respect your opinion(s) and score(s), but I feel that the game was over hyped by the media to help Vita sales, and that had it not been developed by SCEJ, it would have lower review scores.

    I want to like the game more than I am. I'm going to pick it back up again today.

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