I still clearly remember the day I got my Vita. My wife had bought me one for my birthday along with Gravity Rush. I remember being completely blown away by this game and how well it was running. Replaying this game on PS4 however, I was expecting to be blown away again, but unfortunately the novelty of a new handheld may have blinded me a bit and now it feels more like a light breeze on my cheek the second time around.
I don’t think you quite understand the Gravity of the situation
Gravity Rush’s story starts off well enough and hits all the right notes as a sort of superhero origins story. Our protagonist, Kat, wakes up in the strange town of Hekseville with no memory of who she is or how she got there. She soon discovers she has the power to manipulate gravity and confused as she may be about everything, she’s quickly forced to use her powers to save a boy in danger. The story continues this way for the most part by thrusting Kat into all these unlikely situations, fighting unknown entities known as Nevi, all while she tries to uncover her true identity.
It’s an interesting enough story set in a really fantastical world. The game will take you across numerous floating cities buzzing with people while catchy jazz music plays in the background. Later in the game you’ll even visit different dimensions that are equally as impressive. The environments and locations are full of personality, and so are the characters. While most are never fully fleshed out, the cast still consists of a likeable bunch of oddballs.
While the game itself progresses and moves forward, it always seems to leave the story and characters behind in its wake. There are always more questions than actual answers and I found myself wondering where it’s all heading to. Dialogue can feel downright cryptic at times and story threads are just left dangling in the air. The truth of the matter is that the story feels like the first chapter of the opening act, it ends when it feels like it’s just beginning. It’s disappointing to the say least as the world and the characters therein are just so unique and interesting. It left me craving for more.
The unique gravity manipulation mechanic is where this game truly shines. Pressing R1 causes Kat to float mid-air. While she’s floating you’re able to freely change the direction she’s facing via the right analogue stick or the DS4’s built-in Gyro. Pressing R1 again will cause gravity to pull her in whatever direction you pointed her towards.
To be able to fly so freely within the game is as exhilarating as I remember it to be when I first played it and it’s even more exciting experiencing it on a bigger screen. Kat is also able walk on walls and even upside down on some structures.
Using her powers depletes your power gauge and you could end up flying through the sky only to run out of juice and plummet towards the abyss. Thankfully, the gauge fills up pretty quickly and there are collectible gems all over the world that are used to upgrade Kat’s various powers and combat abilities. These gems are found on top of buildings and even underneath the floating cities. A big chunk of the fun comes from exploring and using your powers to find more gems.
The gravity mechanic is the star of the show, and everything else kind of takes a back seat to it, including combat. Fighting the Nevi using Kat’s unique abilities could’ve been a real highlight of the game, instead, ground combat revolves around a single attack and dodge button. There’s not much in the way of combo variation but at least you’re able to use your powers to pick up random items and hurl them at enemies. Special moves gained later, while impressive, do little to really spice things up enough.
While combat is a mostly repetitive affair, different enemy types help in breaking the monotony. Aerial-type enemies require you to use a special kick that sends Kat flying towards them in an attempt to connect her heel to their face. Frustratingly, this can miss more often than not or you’ll end up flying straight into enemy projectiles, but I eventually got the hang of it which allowed me to mitigate the chance of missing or getting hit. Other enemies will have armoured shells while other, bigger ones will have hard to reach weak spots. It’s a not a terrible combat system, and there is a lot of fun to be had at times, but like so many other parts of the game, it had the potential to be so much more, but ends up only being serviceable.
If it’s one thing about the remaster that truly deserves praise, it’s the amazing job Bluepoint did in porting this game over to PS4. Not only does it look better than the original, but they’ve managed to have the game running at a smooth and constant 60 fps which really makes a difference when you’re busy exploring and flying around. Couple this with a brilliant yet severely underrated soundtrack and you’re left with quite an impressive presentation overall. I cannot stress enough how good the soundtrack actually is, with most of the songs perfectly fitting the mood of each area or scene. The opening track, Discovery of Gravitation, is also a favourite of mine, setting the mood for the game’s soundtrack.
Gravity Rush feels like a vigorously shaken bottle of fizzy drink. There is so much potential within this world and mechanics that it could burst at any moment, but it unfortunately never reaches that point. While the fresh coat of paint does wonders in bringing this game to the PS4, it can’t really do anything to hide the game’s numerous flaws. But if you can look past them, you’ll find a really unique and often fun game buried beneath all the fluff. So far Gravity Rush 2 looks like it may just live up to this game’s potential, and if they manage to nail it, I truly believe this series could become a big franchise for Sony.
Last Updated: January 26, 2016