Gravity Rush

Gravity Rush

My first Vita experience is delightful

I went and bought a Playstation Vita the other day (12th July to be exact). I had been debating this for a while, there are a few games I wanted to get on it for a while. Final Fantasy X/X-2, The Walking Dead and Gravity Rush ... OK maybe there aren't many games but I could also have the PS1 Final Fantasies on it which is nice. Still not convinced? Yeah me neither, that's why I got it second hand.

Gravity Rush is one of those games that really annoy me. A game that has a really unique gameplay mechanic that looks awesome and isn't on a console that I own! It makes me want to buy that games console. Stupid unique games.

Now onto Gravity Rush

I love it. I loved it so much. I need to start at the beginning.

The game mechanics are sweet. You play the game as Kat, an amnesiac gravity shifter, who can shift gravity (in case you didn't get it). This means that she can effectively fly and that no surface is off limits to your exploitative mind. It changes a lot of things really. The entire city is seen from so many different angles, it's unlike any other game. Also it means the underside of the city can be as exciting as the top-side (more on the under-side later). The combat is very cool too. You can hover over the enemies with your powers feeling like a super-hero, delivering sweet flying kicks in free fall (that when they miss mean you go flying past the target giving real weight to you attacks) and scrabbling through the air to get a better vantage point. It's great/

The city and environment is really cool. The art style is stunning and looks fantastico on the Vita. I'm a sucker for flowing animations. Anything like scarves, hair, banners, things that get caught in the wind and flap around. I love that. So when I saw that Kat's hair gets caught in the rush of air during a free fall I was sold. Then I saw that she had a scarf and I was double sold.

The game is set on a city in the clouds which is why you can explore all angles of the place. This reinforces the gravity mechanic and makes it feel like such an integral part of exploration. If the game was set on the boring flat Earth like ours (spherical Earth theorists be damned!) then this sense of importance would be lost. Good game design. Bravo Sony.

The story is cool though at first I was sceptical. The tone seems a little odd at times. There's a vigilante who can control monsters, a military coup, a lost village of children, other worldly 'creators', a fierce rival with similar powers, a floating city, a mysterious cat who gives you powers and of course Kat can't remember anything about herself, not even her real name. There's a lot of loose threads and none of those things are small things really. So when the game focuses on a clueless cop or some guy that Kat briefly fancies for a mission you wonder if the game has forgotten the many story elements it needs to tell.

It doesn't come together at the end. Only one answer is really given the rest are left open to a recently announced sequel. Which I'm ok with because now I see they have long term plans for this series and these plot points are building up to the that. So the random side stories about some people's house you sort of (but not really) destroy makes more sense. They're building Kat for more to come, giving her small interactions to inform her big decisions later on (I assume) and that is awesome. It's rare to find such universe building in an opening game.

But my favourite bit about he game is Kat

Kat is great. She's a really likeable character who always tries to do good and often gets caught up when trying to help people. She's not just helpful soul, she can be sarky and snarky and that adds to the charm. It's good to see her come to grips with her amnesia and deal with the suspicion that people have of gravity shifters. She has a definite character arc ,which is rare in a game, and because you care about her you care about the game's events. When city is attacked I don't care about the faceless population. I do care about Kat though, I care that the people look to her for help and that she wants to fit in. It al builds up to a very nice game.

It's not all good praise. The music ranged from forgettable to good which is a shame because with a better soundtrack the game could have been elevated higher. As it stands the music is actually pretty good but I was hoping for better.

The real criticism is the camera which at times can be a bit unruly. Most of the it's ok but it's always the most awkward times that it fails. You'll be left looking at a wall, or losing a giant blob monster because you can't control the camera. In fairness you do shift gravity around and so your perspective is always changing but sadly Mario Galaxy had the same hurdle and jumped it perfectly (which makes sense since Mario is Mr. Jump Man).

On the whole though the game is excellent. It makes excellent use of the Vita's unique features and is actually well worth the price of the Vita. That's a pretty big compliment.

Gravity Rush single-handedly justified my Vita purchase

It's a heck of a lot better than Valkyria Chronicles II (a statement that saddens me and one I'll explain once I finish the game).

Imran Khan - 26/07/2014