Gravity Rush Review
Gravity Rush is uniquely exciting with original gameplay mechanics and presentation.
Gravity Rush, a new idea by the creative minds behind the first Silent Hill and Siren was a tough sell for me. I am not into the anime aesthetic and also did not like the idea of controlling what looked to be a young teen female protagonist. Luckily the games original art style, likeable characters, music and interesting gameplay has changed my first impressions in a big way.
The game starts off in the floating city of Hekseville. Kat crashes down into the town with no memory and a black cat that gives her the ability to control the gravity around her. Other details of the story delve into anime kookiness. There is an old man who is possibly god, another powerful lady who has a crow as her spirit animal, shadow creatures called the nevi, children living in the depths like the lost boys, a military lady with a mega man blaster, etc. Where I was turned off by some of these plot points, Kat’s eager and fun attitude to solve problems gave the game a wholesome charm. The cutscenes also involved moving comic panels that were really unique. It also did not hurt that the music and city designs are absolutely spectacular. The game director; Keiichiro Toyama stated that Moebius’s old French comics were his inspiration for the floating cities.
With the games focus on gravity abilities, it controls like nothing else out there. There is a learning curve, which unfortunately takes more time than usual to get use to. You press the right trigger and you then start to float, with a reticule showing. Point the reticule where you want and press the right trigger again to go there. Float onto a wall and you can walk along that platform even if it is sideways or upside down. It can be a little distorting but with spatial awareness, traversing areas become really fun. This is limited by a gauge but by end of the game you will feel like a Superman flying through the cities. You can also put two fingers on either side of the screen and go into a slide move that you control by tilting the handheld. Combat involves simple one button combos, a gravity kick and slide across the touchscreen to evade. Other abilities include a stasis field to throw objects and special moves that help you clear out enemies more effectively.
Game progression is mission based in open ended cities. If you do not want to progress the story, you are free to explore, collect gems (which power up your abilities), try side missions, talk to people, and repair places in the city. It really is good that they give you this freedom because it is worth it to just fly around and enjoy the design of the game. The visuals are lush, cel shaded and punctuated by fun music. The soundtrack includes jazz inspired tracks and orchestral pieces.
As mentioned before, the story elements were a bit kooky for me and unfortunately some of the missions are not that great either. There are plenty of exciting boss fights, but some fetch missions and clear the enemy hordes missions feel like they are just there to pad the game time. The combat while serviceable is lacking a bit in finesse and variety. Majority of the time I found myself doing the gravity kick, then floating up and doing the typhoon special move to take out any enemies that were hard to catch with the kicks. The other moves in my arsenal felt a bit too weak for me or lacked accuracy.
Gravity Rush is overall exciting with original gameplay mechanics and visuals. The mediocre combat bogs the experience a bit but it is a minor blemish on the whole package. When you power yourself up enough and find yourself flying through cities at breakneck speeds there is nothing but pure fun to be had. The environments and npc’s are at a console level, it is almost unbelievable that handhelds are capable of breathing worlds like this. This is an impressive title that is worthy of showing off the Vita.