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Gravity Rush Review

The time has come.  After many months of drooling for this game, now I have played it to death, beat it, and got my Platinum.  Now is the time to release my verdict upon the world.  Was it a flop like GameSpot would have you believe, or a treasure like many have claimed?  Read on to find out!

Gravity Rush was produced by Sony Japan Studio and published by none other than Sony Computer Entertainment.  It’s exclusive to the Playstation Vita and was released June 12th in the US.  It was released on Cartridge and Digital Download from PSN for $39.99.  It also has a demo available from PSN.

Story:
Awakening with no memory, the story follows Kat who seeks to discover where she is and who she is.  Along the way she meets a cat, whom she calls Dusty, who bestows upon her a great power to control the fabric of gravity.  With this new found power, Kat protects the people of the floating world she awoken to from an evil shadowy presence called the Nevi.

The story is quite well put together.  Although a good deal of it is a bit confusing to grasp entirely, it does well to progress the player along and give purpose to each chapter.  I also found a great deal of joy in watching the protagonist as she attempted to fit in and do good while facing the scrutiny of those that feared her powers.  She was just a lovable character, and I enjoyed seeing her become what she became.  While in the end I felt there was quite a bit undone and left unexplored, I was satisfied and I can say there are doors open for future titles.

Gameplay:
The gameplay is definitely Gravity Rush’s draw.  From the moment I seen the trailers I knew this game was going to be innovative.  It truly is.  Gravity Rush is a third person action adventure where you can control the origin of gravity’s pull.  Triggering the R button releases Kat from gravity’s draw, and after hitting the R button a second time, whatever she’s facing will become the new point of gravity.  Essentially you can use this to make a wall your new ground level, or to simulate flying.  It’s amazing and makes for some good fun.  I can’t tell you how many times I went jumping off a cliff, fall a great distance, and stop gravity just for the fun of it.  The animations and effects make for some great visuals.  Enough talk of gravity shifting!

Using this new found power, you’ll traverse many platformer type settings getting from point to point.  Aside from that you’ll also make use of her ability to grab objects with gravity to deliver items and people as well as throw objects at enemies.    Aside from her throw ability, she can also kick with the best of them on the ground or in the air with her gravity kick.  She can also travel on the ground with a gravity slide and perform a sliding kick if anything gets in her way.  During her travels she can also gain a few special attacks that can be triggered after a short cooldown.  These abilities range from a sort of barrage of boulders, an aerial drill attack, and a mini blackhole that swirls around her.

All of these abilities are needed as Kat will run into many Nevi (and other people) to fight.  Nevi can range anywhere from easy ground Nevi, dragonfly Nevi, fireball shooting plant Nevi, gigantic brute Nevi, flying plesiosaur Nevi, and more.  The different types are slowly flowed in and definitely keep things fresh.  At times, some can seem very difficult to find their weak spots, or hit them.  However over time, you’ll learn certain strategies to best topple certain ones.  Some like giants and plesiosaurs get priority on specials, while the swordfish ones are best to lure and attack on the ground.

Aside from the story progression, the player can find gems about the world.  These gems can be used to progress certain abilities of Kat’s.  You can make her gravity gauge drain slower, make the gauge refill faster, increase damage of each attack, increase her health, increase speed, and much more.  There’s also plenty of side things to find such as rare Nevi, hidden travelers, and missions to unlock by repairing the town.

Side missions are mini games where you compete with the clock to get high scores and gain additional gems for leveling Kat’s abilities.  These range from racing to a finish line, killing as many Nevi as possible in a time limit, only using certain abilities to complete a task, and more.  There’s tons of them to do, and getting Gold on each one was quite tough, but not undoable after some practice.  There’s also leaderboards where you can either find out how terrible you are or to compete for the top spot if you so desire.

The world of Gravity Rush is huge.  It’s one open world setting that grows larger over time as you unlock more and more areas.  I was truly blown away by this and never thought I’d see such a large open world on a handheld.  With this however means some load times.  Some people have complained that this is a huge downer.  However with the scale of the game, it’s expected and it’s really not that bad.  I will admit though, that sometimes after dying to a boss or failing a side mission, hitting the retry button was a bit long.  Especially considering you’re still in the same area.  It never bothered me until I was trying to Gold my last few missions and a single slip up meant not only did I have to still get to the finish line (no start/retry option), but I knew I would have to wait for it to load again.

Graphics:
Visually Gravity Rush is amazing and beautiful.  I love the graphical direction they went with.  It’s not realistic, but rather cel shaded like with an almost comic book take.  The animations of combat and motion are great.  The environments and world it takes place in is unique, immersive and huge.  While the game has a great deal of real time cutscenes, it also uses a sort of comic book panel style story telling as well which is done very well.  Using the motion you can even see them in 2.5D.  I can’t say enough, this game is just beautiful.

Sound:
The sounds in Gravity Rush do well to bring the game to life.  This is one of the few games that I immediately threw on a head set to get the full feel of the game.  The musical scores are absolutely beautiful and well done to bring both sooth, excitement, and drama to each situation.  The voicing may be a bit weird to some as they use a sort of fake french language.  However I found this to be similar to that of a Zelda title.  It doesn’t effect the experience but rather brings more mystique to the world.

Conclusion:
It’s not ever day that you run into a title that just captures you.  From the first trailer I seen of Gravity Rush, to the moment I got the demo, to the moment I played the full game, to now.  Gravity Rush snagged my interest, gave me hours of fun, tons of great challenges, a memorable experience, and title I’ll be coming back to time and time again.  How often do you find a game that changes the typical overdone gameplay molds?  How often do you find a game that chooses not to be ‘risky’ and throw in filth to please the minority?  The game took me a little over 20 hours to Platinum, and I know I’ll be returning to play it again if not for DLC, then for future replays.  Amazing art, amazing music, amazing innovative gameplay, lovable protagonist, huge open world, all in a Vita handheld.  What more can you ask for?

As for Family Friendliness, I give this one a big thumbs up.  At times, some comic book cutscenes have Kat naked but covered up.  Outside of that, the game is clean.


5 Paws Out Of 5

Pros:

  • Innovative and Fun Gameplay
  • Lovable Protagonist
  • Beautiful Art Style
  • Fantastic Music
  • Amazingly Large Open World

Cons:

  • Story Hard To Follow At Times
  • Gravity Slide Sometimes Frustrates
  • Load Times on Retries A Tad Long
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  1. June 24, 2012 at 4:55 am

    A five out of five, eh?
    I know you were looking forward to it, so I’m glad to see you loved it.
    I loved it, as well, although found some more “cons” that held it back from that perfect score for me. The combat controls were incredibly rough for aerial enemies. Missing their weak spot and flying far behind them happened way too often. Also, the story had so many loose ends. There was too much left untied.
    With that said, Gravity Rush was SO good! The game, and specifically the character, was really charming. Such an innocence to it all. The way she flailed around like she had no idea what she was doing. Also, the soundtrack perfectly characterised the enviorments and different districts. The Entertainment District, specifically, brought the whole city to life (for me). That swing tune is still in my head.

    But all of this doesn’t define the legacy of the game. It wasn’t the charm or the scope that made GR brilliant. It was successfully breaking new ground; the creativity and originality.

    Great review. Cross your fingers for more titles like this on the vita, or any platform really.

    P.S. Woah, major spoilers you got there! 😉

    • June 24, 2012 at 1:34 pm

      Hey Tony, thanks as always for the great feedback. Love seeing other takes on a title and it brings great ideas forward to readers, I appreciate it.

      I agree with you that there was definitely a lot in the story left undone. However I felt there was enough there (and enough unique ideas) that it didn’t warrant docking points for it. I also feel quite a bit was purposely left out as the ending made it seem like they were leaving it open for sequels.

      As far as the aerial combat, I have to say I don’t personally agree that it’s a “con” as a miss is really a miss. I read a review somewhere where they disliked not having a lock on system. I think in that reviewers case, they want the game too easy. The combat in the game was designed that you have to manually aim, and if you fail, you miss. This means you just have to dust yourself off and try again. Now that’s not as if I’m claiming you want a victory handed to your personally, but I feel gamers just don’t take challenges like they used to. And game designs have made us used to lock ons and easy kills. Again, not meaning disrespect to you, because really I’m preaching to myself.

      When I fought the Rare Nevi Plesiosaurus, I got REALLY flustered. Generally Plesiosaurus Nevi are slow and can be handled by strategically attacking from above, but this one is way fast. I also generally killed them with special attacks and he was immune to it. I caught myself claiming it was a faulty controls when I missed a few times, but I just had to collect myself, realize it was probably going to be the hardest beast in the game, and take it one hit at a time. So it ended up being a challenging fight, not a broken combat system.

      Same goes with the swordfish type flyers that charge you with their needle noses. Like I stated in the review, I got flustered because I always just tried over and over to gravity kick them. You have to actually lure them to the ground and kill them with standard kicks. Once I learned that, they were cake.

      Anyhow, that’s my reasoning behind not listing it a con. But I understand your frustration, it got me now and then. As for the spoiler, I’m guessing you mean the last image. I figured it was vague enough, thanks for keeping me in check! ^_^

  2. June 24, 2012 at 11:23 am

    This game looks super interesting and with a 5/5 Paws, I need to check this out!

    Overall, I thought this was a very well written & constructed review, nice work.

    • June 24, 2012 at 1:35 pm

      Hey nerdatlas! Thanks for the kind comments! Glad you liked the review!

  1. January 3, 2013 at 12:23 am
  2. March 29, 2013 at 10:56 pm

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