What was once hailed as the killer app to bring the Vita upon the highest of pedestals of gaming seems to have stumbled upon entry. However, one can’t blame the game for the system’s struggles because this is the best title currently available for the Vita, having won one of the highest of accolades.
Yeah, I said it, despite claims saying Uncharted: Golden Abyss is the top dog, I counter by stating that at this moment Gravity Rush is the best game available for Playstation’s powerful new handheld. And its based on one reason only: the game has heart. You don’t normally come into the early stages of a video game lifecycle finding a game that blows you away with style, emotion, and mystery. However, that is exactly what we have here, a bonafide gem of a game!
To give some context to the game, it stars a young girl named Kat who wakes up in the middle of a broken city with no memory. Despite the some what cliche’ set up, it does throw in its own sense of direction into the story that was different from others. At first, your main prerogative will be making a name for yourself by defeating the mysterious invading Nevi. Where they come from or what they are is something you are going to have to find out, but just as well, you are on a mission to find out who you are! The story will eventually unfold in to a interesting character piece that delves into the psyche of Kat. To be honest though, it raises more questions then answers. The end is satisfying to an extent, but it will leave you wanting more from this interesting new mythos. I need to stress that this is not a bad thing because having this sense of mystery is truly what make the game’s narrative more than its simple structure. If I had gotten all the answers, the game would not have been nearly as fulfilling.
Then there’s the matter of gameplay. This is something that I have heard numerous outlets complain over and rightly so. While everything in the game is both polished and innovative, the controls can be a bit difficult to handle at first. But lets look at it from this point of view: you have a new handheld with features that have been taken from all the best new devices: dual analog, front touchscreen and motion sensors. This is all accumulates to a game that uses all of the great features the Vita offers, for better or worse. You can kick, jump and [statsis] grab will the face buttons, typical of a action/adventure game. You can manipulate gravity via shoulder buttons, adding the layer of platforming we havent seen on a handheld to this day. Finally, you can power slide and dodge using the front touchscreen, which may be the only questionable addition to the game.The intricacies of the controls will cause some of the most hardened gamers to curse at the heavens, but you’ll get the hang of it; Gravity Rush is a victim of the controls learning curve. But all of these controls will amount into a unique gameplay experience from time to time.
You will use all these unique features in a myriad of the challenges presented throughout the game; some will involve time trials and others will involve racing through the city of Hekseville. My biggest gripe with the game though would have to be combat, while it is competent, there is a lack of creativity. More often than not, I found myself gravity shifting and then doing a diving kick to defeat my enemies (this with the occasional special attack). If a sequel were to be made, I would like to see this issue addressed, and include a combo system, or a more diverse system of combat. Many titles have great combat systems while using a minimal amount of buttons (Arkham Series and El Shaddai) while still feeling novel. I would like to see a similar approach in the future. Simple, yet complex! [Please!]
While the challenge missions can provide a decent time-sink into the game, the majority of your gaming will come from completing the story, which is natural because as gamers we naturally strive to complete a game’s narrative. So the game’s story is good, but more than anything, its the presentation that stands out. The game has its fair share of cut-scenes, but you will mostly be reading the happenings of the city via comic strips. Using a interesting art style that essentially meshes a cel-shading with drawings, an entirely original universe is born, featuring characters that can vary from intriguing (Raven) to downright silly (The Creator). The silly characters can actually can be a good way though. Also, the story can evoke an assortment of emotions towards these characters, and at times you’ll probably say “This is definitely a Japanese game!”, due to the obvious anime-style influence in some set pieces. But fear not, this is a game that evokes the good old vibes Japanese games used to emanating with each title. In the beginning, you will be attempting to rebuild the world of Gravity Rush, but by the end, you will be left with a emotional attachment to the interesting cast, and attempting to solve the mystery: “Who is Kat?”
The story will take you all across the world of Gravity Rush in attempt to save Kat’s new home, but you may find yourself sidetracked at times. This could be caused by an assortment of things, varying from the sheer beauty of the game to the phenomenal soundtrack. This is not a killer-app that would make me say, “This is the reason you should by a Vita!”, but if you own a Vita, or do end up buying one, this should be among your first purchases. There may not be a single thing I can point out that is perfect, it has the polish and sheer will to stand up with the best of triple-A titles strictly because it has something I haven’t seen come from Japan in quite some time: heart.
Jaime loves his PS Vita, but wishes for everyone else to enjoy as much as he does. If you wanna hit him em up about the sad state of the little handheld that still can, or shoot the sh*t, hit him up on Twitter. Also, this is my score, it does not represent the score everybody at Analog Addiction would give.