This review covers my thoughts on Gravity Rush as a whole and not just talking about the remaster.
Sony’s Playstation Vita is an underrated system which many myself included have simply ignored and why, surely now it is because of the lack of support on the system, but back in its early years the system was a haven for wonderful and interesting experiences. To date there has been two games that made me consider buying a Vita and these were Tearaway and Gravity Rush, I regret never purchasing the console to play these games, but now I don’t think it is so bad as Gravity Rush is now out on the Playstation 4. Question is does the Vita classic hold up on an actual console, and is the game actually any good?
There was something special about the original Vita release and this could just be told by simple trailers or minor footage, Gravity Rush offered something truly unique and that was exciting to explore. The promise of bending gravity and soaring through the skies of Heksville was not a lie and this is the game’s biggest point, if footage for the Vita release did anything to get me excited it was the gravity mechanics it is here where we see the games unique magic and the questions begin to be answered. Does this game hold up on console? I may have never played the original but if it was anything like this it certainly does, but the real question still remains and that is a lot harder to answer.
To put it lightly Gravity Rush lives and dies in its core mechanic, just about every section of the game, every mission relies heavily on the use of your abilities to bend gravity. When it works, it really works, thanks to this ability the world becomes your playground and I was more than happy to spend hour’s just playing collector and throwing myself around the world. Soaring over the city is just wonderful, this system was easy to use and really felt free, and I was not tethered to any ground (at least not often) I could just soar. Just messing around with the gravity mechanic never got old for me, there is nothing like breaking the laws of gravity and simply soaring, or alternatively messing with the citizens of the city and sending them flying in my gravitational field. Similarly it was also a great feeling knowing that every surface was a new floor and playing around with this commonly aided in missions and changed the limitations of the gameplay.
But as I said this is when it works, on a more negative side things really change when the freedom is removed and you are forced to use this power for different reasons. Gravity is a core part of the entire game, you need it to complete just about every mission, and you need to quickly learn how to operate it properly. But where it really counts this game does not deliver, while it is fun to mess around with in the world the ability is ill defined and offers very little in the way of varying mechanics. In most cases I found gravity abilities in missions only fell into two places, the first was a gravity bubble to carry people and objects which is constantly dull, and the second is in combat.
To be honest combat in Gravity Rush isn’t all that bad, at its weakest level combat falls into basically being a series of kicks when fighting enemies known as the Nevi. This low form can be pretty dull, however once you realize you can use gravity to assist in this fights things become a whole lot more interesting albeit limited. Near the start of the game sending Kat flying into the air and then throwing her back down for a powerful gravity kick is cool, but this also grows tiresome really quickly, there came a point in the game where I got tired of combat as it simply came down to being the bad kind of repetitive, basically enemy appears I gravity kick them into oblivion.
This combat formula just feels tired and like the developers had trouble finding other cool ways to utilize gravity in the combat, the gravity kick is cool and certainly helpful but there comes a time where this loses its impact. Thankfully, when you are surrounded by enemy’s things do pick up and become interesting even if I felt like I was repeating the same tired attack. But in the end this is what combat falls into repetition that struggles to find relevant use for the games core mechanic, it’s not that there is no attack options available as there is actually a couple but sadly it was not until the end of the game that I worked out that I had additional attacks.
Things could be better, but I think for me the biggest problem I faced with combat was lack of communication between the game and myself. The game could have given a better nod to my characters other combat abilities, but even still the combat is not that bad, repetition may plague the system, but I can’t deny how tense many battles got and how intrigued I got when using gravity as an another mechanism. It may have its shortcomings and might need some slight improvement but once I got over the poor communication and repetitive fights I could not argue with the fun I did have in some instances.
Gravity Rush does not really thrive to provide exciting ideas or even longstanding fun gameplay which for me really holds the game back. Where there was room for the developers to expand things and offer more they clearly just gave up and struggled to find exciting uses for their gameplay, outside of messing around and throwing a dog and an elderly women flying in the over world fun is limited to rare occasions which was a real shame.
The truth is beyond the tired gameplay there is a decent and well-made game here that really tackles some interesting subjects. The story of course was particularly noteworthy in my books, for arguments sake the game does play off one of the most overused ideas in video games which is amnesia. When our character Kat first wakes up she has no memory of anything and finds that she has an ally in a strange cat, this soon turns into her playing hero to the city as the Gravity Queen when she discovers she has the power to bend gravity.
On its own the story of Kat is not that special but it is the varying missions and the story that deals with topics that I found to be quite enjoyable. Namely in one mission in the first half of the game you are helping a school student find his missing friend, during this time you hear multiple rumors about what happened to this girl but in the end it draws down to a case of depression. She felt hated and like nobody cared about her and turned to a monster to deal with her feelings, even if the gameplay struggles to keep up the many story missions do keep things interesting with the hard look at these varying topics. Whether they be abandonment, hope for the future, and even moments of desperation and destruction, Gravity Rush has a great story and this is carried over by its cast of characters who are each interesting and kept me going.
Likewise to the decent story this game also proved to be quite funny, there are many moments in the game that honestly made me burst out laughing, whether it was one of Kat’s random lines or a supporting character, it was rare I was not amused. However the game does tend to put a lot of focus into more adult humor with multiple dirty references made surrounding Kat and her womanly features, these are still funny but seemed forced in order to grab the attention of varying audiences.
The real question now is how does the Vita version translate to the Playstation 4? I may have never played the original but honestly I would say it has translated wonderfully, the city in Gravity Rush is immaculate and the just looking around the world as a whole you would think that this was always a Playstation 4 game.
Not much has been added to Gravity Rush Remastered, and honestly if you have played the Vita version you won’t miss much here but if it matters the small additions I felt were noteworthy. Kat’s Gravity abilities can actually be directed by the Playstation 4 controller, the motion of the Dualshock 4 can be used to direct her, but honestly I never had a problem with this. This feature adds nothing to the game and actually just as forgettable being there, I never realized that the controller actually had any impact until I moved by accident while I was playing and so it never really impacted my game. If it was a problem though it can be switched off and personally I would recommend using the joysticks to direct the game.
The other addition does not add much either and is more tiresome then anything. The Vita version of the game received additional side missions as downloadable side content and they exist as part of the game in the Playstation 4 version. These missions actually added nothing to the game for me and were more of the same things I had been doing in the story but to a more tiresome degree, it was hard having fun doing these missions but at the very least they did offer new costumes which I didn’t mind. Beyond these though nothing new has been added to this game and Gravity Rush Remastered is very much a straightforward remaster but honestly that is not a bad thing.
For all my issues I have with Gravity Rush I will admit I did find myself having a good time in places, sure it has its issues but there are moments where there is a lot of fun to be had. I will never deny just how fun it is to just push gravity and soar Kat through the sky using this feature to cut travel time and even play on multiple dimensions. The sad part is things could have been better if some of the games shortcomings were improved but overall it was not a bad game, Gravity Rush Remastered may not add much to the original but it is an experience worth having. Gravity is a fun feature when used right and I now really look forward to seeing what the developers can do with a sequel, just with this one it was good the first time but I don’t see myself returning any time soon.