Gravity Rush Review (Vita)

Gravity Rush Review
Gravity Rush is a PlayStation Vita exclusive game released in June 2012. The game was well received both in Japan and in the West. It also received the Tokyo Game Show 2012 Game of the Year award. In this review, let's find out what makes Gravity Rush such as gravity bending game!

The game starts with a puzzling cinematic. The game will immediately attempt to hook you up in its plot. Kat finds herself awake, lying on the ground on a floating town called Hekseville. You'll be greeted by a mysterious black cat and eventually discover that the Cat gives you magical powers — gravity shifting control. Kat, and another woman in the game are called "shifters" for this reason. Eventually, you'll get caught up in other people's business, which Kat eventually finds out has something to do with her anyway so she keeps doing things for other people.

The plot is told in a comical form. You'll have complete control over the phase of the story-telling, and you can even tilt the Vita to look behind the pictures. There are some nudity involved in the game, so you might want to keep this game out of reach of children. Not that it's serious, but I'd blush out if someone caught me looking on those (hot) pictures.

As Kat tries to discover more about herself and the world she's in, you'll be exploring the different parts of Hekseville and will be tasked to bring back the missing parts of the town. The story progresses by taking on story missions, while you can spend some time powering up by taking on challenge missions. That's one of the beauty of this game, you can always defer the main mission, and just take on one when you feel like it.

It's amazing how you can roam around freely by shifting gravity. If you remember "Neo" from "The Matrix", you can shift the gravity up, and then once you've reached a certain height, shift the gravity again on another direction and you get yourself flying as a bird.

Gravity shifting does not only make you fly, it also allows you to walk on walls, ceilings, dash (slide), and launch powerful attacks on your enemies. Shifting gravity not only affect Kat, but also the people and things around her. As soon as she launches herself in one direction, everyone and everything near her gets launched on that direction as well.

The bad guys in this game are called the "Nevi". They are associated with all the gravity storms, which are also responsible for the missing parts of the town. While all the Nevi take a trademark of having one or more red crystal eye, they also take on different forms and behavior which give them a fair distinction.

Enemy types range from small, to really big Nevi's. Some Nevi's are even able to fly. The bosses, as you may have guessed, are mostly Nevi's, but you'll also be fighting bosses in human form on certain parts of the game. While enemies generally look weak and dumb, they're actually not. They're smart and they're hard to hit because you have to hit them in the eye. They're also smart enough to predict your movements such as evading if you launch your attack from too far.

The controls are quite simple and makes effective use of the two analog sticks. You can roam around with the left stick, and you can move around the camera with the right stick. The game also makes effective use of the Vita touchscreen and gyroscopic controls.

Kat's fighting style is based on melee attacks (kicks). You'll be able to utilize skills, which heavily depend on your gravity meter, but will give you more chances of surviving. Even more exciting, you'll get special abilities which does massive damage on your enemies. Such are the Spiraling Claw, Gravity Typhoon and Micro Black Hole. These skills are especially effective during boss fights.
Gravity Rush is one of the best games that you can play on the PlayStation Vita system. There's no doubt, it's one of the best games ever made.

Just when you thought the controls are perfect however, you'll find out that evading is such a pain in the ass. To evade enemy attacks, you have to swipe on the touchscreen. Most of the time however, you don't have the luxury of doing so because most enemies keep a very short framerate on their attempt to attack. Often times, things just start to get busy that you won't have time to observe and swipe on the screen. Evading then is more of a routine than a reflex.

Gravity Rush delivers strong on the graphics department. The game uses a cel-shaded, Anime-style graphics which perfectly fits the game world. The animation is smooth like classic (2D) Disney films. The only bad thing perhaps is that the textures are a bit washed out.

The environments are so wide and always full of people. You can't always interact with everyone, but at least everyone around you is doing something while you're there. A lot of things in the environment also makes the world look lively, such as moving trains, billboards, etc.

While you can roam around freely, there are certain restrictions on how far and how high you can fly. You also cannot go inside the buildings which is not needed in any part of the game anyway.

Each part of the town looks and feels different. There's the "old town", entertainment district and the industrial district. Getting to different parts of the town can be done by riding a transportation which is usually a train, and then once you've visited that part at least once, you can warp through manholes for instant transportation. The game also provides a map where you can just point where you're headed next (applies to missions and conversations), and then you'll be directed on the mission or event you selected.

From time to time you might notice parts of the background suddenly becoming inanimate. Those things happen to trees when you move far enough, perhaps to conserve processing power and the game could use the CPU resources for other useful things. It's hard to ignore however, that in certain parts of the game and especially during combat, the game slows down to about 20-25 FPS. In most parts of the game though, you get about 40 to 50FPS-ish.

Gravity Rush has one of the most well orchestrated soundtrack we've ever heard before in a PS Vita game. It makes you feel so free during exploration, and highly engaged during combat. The overworld theme has that long-lasting appeal that I can even hear it on my mind while writing this review.

After finishing the game, you can continue to take on challenge missions, or maybe just randomly explore the town. Other than that, there isn't much to do, unless you download the paid DLC for some extra costumes and mission.

The Verdict

Gravity Rush is one of the best games that you can play on the PlayStation Vita system. There's no doubt, it's one of the best games ever made. The plot is well thought of, and has some very exciting twists. Some say that there will be a sequel, and we damn sure hope so that there is.

If you're still in doubt whether to get this game or not, trust us when we say, this game is bound to take you upside down.

Rating for Gravity Rush
Fun Factor:
Game Info:Platform: PS Vita
Developer: SCE Japan Studio
Publisher: SCEA
Release Date: 06/12/12
Price: $39.99 (Buy It)
Rating: T (Teen)
No. of players: 1
Online: No
Retail: Yes
PSN (digital): Yes
The Good
  • Free-roaming
  • Top-grade graphics
  • Wide environments
  • Big bosses
  • Fantastic special attacks
  • Imaginative story
  • Amusing art style
  • Very easy navigation to "next mission"
The Bad
  • Very noticeable lag on very few parts of the game
  • Graphics is a bit washed out/blurry
  • Controls for some functions are a bit clunky

This review was based on the North American digital version and played on the PlayStation Vita.

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