On the surface Gravity Rush looks like a title the Vita desperately needs: It is a creative, original IP, set in a fantastic world with a unique movement mechanic. On a system commonly seen to be lacking in original titles, Gravity Rush could be the title Vita owners have been waiting for.
The core of Gravity Rush is its inventive movement system. Our protagonist – Kat – gains the ability to alter gravity, effectively giving her the ability to shift gravity and propel herself in a chosen direction. This mechanic is handled with the right shoulder button: you tap it once to re-set gravity, and then once again to have Kat hurled in your chosen direction. Direction can be handled either by tilt controls, or the right analogue stick. While this might not sound that exciting in theory, in practice it is exhilarating. There are few games that are able to produce such feelings of joy as you get in Gravity Rush when hurling yourself around the city.
The controls falter a bit when it comes to combat. At its heart, combat consists of swiping the screen to dodge and firing yourself at certain points on enemies. When this works, it feels very smooth, and there are also a number of upgrades to make it more interesting along the way. The problem is that at many points of the game, hard to hit parts of monsters allow it to cross the line towards obtuse, rather than difficult. This meant that frustration marred too many parts of the game, and this subtracts from what is otherwise an excellent control scheme.
The city itself is beautifully designed, carrying the game’s unique art style. The city is designed to be heavily layered, so that moving through it renders it just as memorable whether you’re travelling up and down or across it. Few gaming experiences match hurling yourself from one end of the city to another, or dropping from a great height down to the lower end of the city. This unique art style carries on throughout the game, resulting in a game that looks gorgeous, even if it is slightly let down by a bit of ugly aliasing.
The storyline is whimsical and easy to follow, and our protagonist is a likeable character. The story falls flat at the end, and Kat’s more ‘romantic ‘ moments are a little cheesy, but overall the story is a reasonably positive factor in the game’s favour. The presentation of the story is also fantastic. Cut-scenes blend into comic book panels, which provide a fast, interactive way to pick up the plot. These seamlessly give way into gameplay and it never feels like you have to separate yourself from the action for too long.
In addition to the main story quests that litter the game, there are also a number of challenge missions and other incentives to explore in the city. I never found that I strayed for too long from the main story missions, but these provide more than enough entertainment for the money. These will also be supplemented by additional DLC, so those who aren’t excited by the challenges can expect more original content.
Gravity Rush is an exciting, original game, but falls just short of being the excellent title Vita owners have been waiting for. It is worth buying it simply for the gorgeous visuals and inventive controls, even if its not perfect.
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