Original ideas in the video game industry these days is quite difficult to come by. Lots of games have sections which border on the original, but few are genuinely original. When Gravity Rush first released for the Vita it was praised for its originality in concept. The problem was that it only came out on Vita, meaning the amount of people playing it was limited.
Thankfully we are in the age of remastered games so it was really not much of a surprise when Sony announced that Gravity Rush Remastered would be hitting the PS4, and appealing to a larger audience. I, admittedly, didn’t play the Vita version (for no apparent reason) but I was very keen to have a go at it on the PS4. Did it provide the rush I was hoping for? Let’s take a look.
Turning a story upside down
Gravity Rush focuses on a girl, named Kat, who awakens in a foreign town with no memory of who she is or how she got there. It’s not long before the town is being attacked and she realises that she, thanks to a feline friend that accompanies her called Dusty, has the ability to manipulate gravity and through doing so can move along the town to protect it from the Nuvi. The Nuvi are these really weird alien enemies.
From then on, Kat is known as the Gravity Queen and she continues to assist people in the town and other towns that open up in the world. She takes on missions to ensure the safety of everyone, and at the same time attempts to figure out who she is.
The story is very shallow in general. It has some fun, typically Japanese elements to it, but for the most part the characters are very one dimensional and the story board never strays from the conventional plot that we see at the outset. There are some moments of splendour when you get further in, like finding lost cities and going to these whacky dream worlds. It pushes the story along without ever really engaging that much, or progressing the characters.
Kat herself progresses a bit, but at a rather strange pace and often not in line with the story. That said, the shallow story line didn’t really bother me as the gameplay more than made up for it. The one thing that did annoy me were a couple of plot holes, that is inexcusable in my eyes.
The Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree
In terms of gameplay there’s very little different in the remastered version compared to the Vita. The originality in the traversal is truly great. “Flying” between areas has a wonderful sense of freedom and the mid-air combat sections work tremendously well.
There are times where the camera goes a bit off and you might feel yourself adjusting your neck as you lose track of where you are going, but the inclusion of objective markers makes it easy to get back to the path. It’s by no means a massive world either and if you go outside the confines of the city it automatically brings you back in.
The combat is incredibly shallow, you have a few kicking combos, a gravity kick and then a few special moves. You do have to unlock them as you go and while they look pretty damn cool you never really feel as though your character gets that powerful. And to be honest you don’t have to be. The difficulty of the game is somewhere between too easy and very simple. Even the boss battles are pretty much tried and tested mechanics, and while the gravity combat is fun, it’s not exactly fresh throughout.
All your moves and abilities can be upgraded through finding precious gems scattered around the world, but to be honest again it doesn’t require any real attention to it, just pick them up as you go and upgrade.
It’s getting a bit thin up here
There isn’t much to Gravity Rush outside of the main story. Each area is marked with a few challenge mode missions which range from racing through the city, taking out a number of enemies in a short time or using your gravity manipulation to transport things to parts of the city. They are great if you want more precious gems, but there’s nothing special in there.
Other than that there are 3 sidemissions which were released as DLC for the Vita version. It’s great that this is included but all it really is, is 3 missions which follow the same formula as the main game, although they do reveal some extra info for interest’s sake. Basically the person asks you to complete a set of tasks by using your abilities. These are mostly fetch quests or tasks similar to the challenge modes and while they add some time onto the 10-hour campaign, they don’t really add any variety.
The good thing to note is that all the challenge modes and sidemissions can be accessed after finishing the game, so if you want to concentrate on the main story first and then move on you can do it that way.
Graphics push against the gravitational force
The visuals in Gravity Rush are splendid. The characters all have that cell-shaded look, and while I am usually not a big fan at all I think it worked tremendously well in this case. The world, while a little bit plain, still looks great and the blending of your powers and movements make it all seem so well designed.
There’s nothing quite like the rush of manipulating gravity to shoot yourself into the sky and watching those tall buildings pass you by in a blur. It does have a very Japanese feel about many of the visuals too, especially the characters, but it just works well with the type of game that it is. One let down is the design of many of the enemies. Most of them just look like different variations of the same blob. Pity, because there is lots of detail in everything else. I particularly loved the way the cutscenes took place in a comic-strip type manner. It blended well with the main game.
Does it have the pull to warrant a purchase?
Gravity Rush Remastered may have some dull characters, an ordinary story and some repetitive enemies (wow that sounds bad) but at the end of the game I couldn’t help but feel that I really enjoyed the experience. It ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, which makes me want more. I loved the originality of the gravity type traversal and some of the levels and concepts were extremely endearing.
The main character, Kat, has me intrigued and makes me excited to play the sequel this year which I suppose is the sign of a good game. Just don’t go expecting some kind of brilliant experience that will blow your mind. It truly is a fun game to play with some very VERY cool elements, but not a lot more than that.