Gravity Rush Review

Gravity Rush was released quite awhile ago, and I’ve been steadily plodding through it since then. For those who don’t know, Gravity Rush was one of the most anticipated games on the Vita and a major new IP for the system. The Playstation Vita has been heavily criticized for its lack of major releases, and Vita owners were seriously counting on Gravity Rush to be the first, major non-console port on the system. As the system has been flooded with console ports, Gravity Rush’s release was especially important, and any new IP in the industry is important these days as it is far safer to swarm sequels than to take a risk on a new IP. So the question is whether Gravity Rush succeeded or if the Vita has to wait awhile longer before people will stop accusing it of lacking games.

There is actually very little green in this game

The story in Gravity Rush follows Kat, a young amnesiac who gains the magical power to manipulate gravity from her cat. Like any good citizen, Kat decides to use this power to help townspeople and fight monsters known as the Navi. The story is told through real-time cutscenes and comic books style  overlays. The story slingshots from being an intriguing mystery to a lot of humdrum busy work. The way it is told is also inconsistent. The comic book scenes are excellent and really make you feel like you are in the middle of a superhero epic, but other story sequences leave a lot to be desired. The biggest issue comes with the pacing, which is all over the place.

Step away from the homeless man Kat.

The story is all over the place, but the characters are not. Pretty much every character in the game looks and feels unique. They all have individual personalities and their stories are actually really interesting. Whether it is Kat’s foil Raven and her pet… raven, the scary homeless man who calls himself god, or simply the grumpy townspeople, the characters are all interesting and worth getting to know. While the story is rather inconsistent, the character go a long way in making this game one to remember.

Go ahead, name yourself after your pet. Makes perfect sense, right?

Like the story, the gameplay is really inconsistent in this game. All of the mechanics work really well, but some have much higher learning curves than others. Generally flying around the city is easy to pickup and fun, while gravity sliding takes patience and skill to master. When mastered, all of the mechanics are unique, fun, and many of them use the Vita’s features really well such as the gyroscope. Upgrading your character is simple. By allocating gems found around the city or won from challenges, you can upgrade certain abilities. The difference in power between level one abilities and level six is noticeable so it is worth trying to upgrade them. Combat should be a joy with many different ways of approaching each situation, and Navis with varying weakpoints should make combat a really skill-based challenging affair.

Turning into a red abomination while flying is just one of many things to look forward to.

You may have noticed the “should” in the last sentences and this is the problem. As Kat, you are given many, many different skills and options to move around the city and dispatch enemies, but, realistically, you won’t use more than one or two. Unless you take the time to practice it, you will never use the gravity slide, and even if you do, there aren’t many appropriate places to use it outside of the challenges. Against enemies, all can be dispatched without effort with the gravity kick ability. Sure, you can throw objects at an enemy, but why would you want to when it is universally more efficient to gravity kick enemies. Special attacks are also not created equal and one is considerably superior to the others.

Special attacks like “Lolipop DLC Power!”

Graphically, the game is amazing. First off, the game is one of the best looking Vita games out there now, but more important is the art style. Taking a lot of queues from French comics, as well as traditional anime, the developers managed to make an extremely unique looking game. It is hard to play this game without thinking famed director Hayao Miyazaki’s work with Studio Ghibli and this is most certainly a good thing. While the story and gameplay may not be consistent, the art style is excellent from beginning to end, making this game reek of charm.

Truly a beautiful game

As you may be picking up from this review, Gravity Rush is a mixed bag. It has taken me so long to review it simply because it can drag in sections and it can be a little boring. Fortunately, the challenges in the game alleviate these boring sections somewhat. Challenges give you a task such as killing all enemies or making it through checkpoints after a certain amount of time, and ranks you along the way. Gold medalling these challenges are also some of the best moments in this game. Unlike the full game, many of these challenges will require you to use your whole array of abilities and are actually really fun. They are also necessary as the main game is rather short.

Tossing junk is fun, if not useless.

Gravity Rush is not the hardware saviour that everyone was hoping for. The game is deeply flawed in a multiple sections. However, what Gravity Rush does well, it does really, really well. This is definitely not a game for everyone, but those who might find themselves enjoying a very quirky, different game that is a little inconsistent, will find a lot to love.

Pros


-Intriguing characters
-Lots of tools available for each situation
-The challenges add a lot of life to the game
-Graphically unique and charming

Cons


-Very inconsistent storyline
-Bad gameplay balance leads to boring battles
-Short

Score


7.5

– Mistranslations for the Modern Gamer

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