Gravity Rush Remastered
Tea: Oriental Rooibos
“Falling’s just like flying except there is a more permanent destination.” Is what Jim Moriarty once told Sherlock on the TV series of the same name, however, Gravity Rush aims to defy him with gravity shifting gameplay which doesn’t give a toss about any permanent destination. With the second instalment on the horizon, I took a trip to Hekseville to see if this game can soar through the heavens or whether it will plummet to the ground like a dead consulting detective.
The story starts with an unknown girl soon to be known as ‘Kat’ waking up on the ground with all of her memories gone (cue my massive eyerolling). She has a galaxy with her, shaped like a cat which allows her to shift gravity in a close area around her, giving her the ability to fly, at least by the looks of it, but in reality simply controlling her falling in very precise ways. Good thing Kat seems to be made of sterner stuff than the usual scantily dressed female, since even drops from the highest of towers will not break her bones, or stilettos for that matter. With a sense of justice in her heart, the tabloid-named “Gravity Queen” sets out to help the people of Hekseville against a new threat whose appearance coincides with her butt dropping on the ground. The Nevi come in multiple forms and colours but always with big glowing round weak spots on some parts of their body. Kat must fight her way through these enemies, endure fetch quests, battle rivals, and find out more about her mysterious past, all while having to endure my constant need for getting side-tracked and collecting more gems.
– A main character with amnesia? Get out! –
I will say this about Gravity Rush, it has one of the fun and most rewarding ways of getting from point A to B. Never has traversal been this fun for me. Soaring straight up into the sky, taking in the surrounding area, and then dropping with high speed parallel to the ground level towards your destination is rewarding beyond measure. Your offensive arsenal is fairly standard at the start with kicks on the ground and a drop kick in the air, which can of course be aimed. The entire gravity-shift-control scheme takes some getting used to and the camera will occasionally annoy you, but with a bit of will and time you will shift and kick around like you would not believe you had ever done anything else in your life. The scarf and hair are an ingenious way of letting you adjust to your surroundings in seconds should you ever be uncertain whether you are on or under a building. Adding to this are some special moves which are charge up after time available, the ability to hurl objects and upgrades to health, and your shift-meter so you can glide around longer. You will definitely feel the upgrades, since especially the shift meter is vital to being able to fight effectively without having to drop to the ground every now and then. Gravity sliding, meaning moving on the ground not the air, is fun, but not really useful outside challenge quest which specifically ask you to use it. Flying is almost always the best way to get something accomplished, which makes sense since it is also the most fun thing to do.
– “Falling towards the sky” –
To say the story is easily distracted is an understatement. New groups and hints are introduced almost every mission but in general lead to nothing. Everything is made out to be the next big hint in uncovering Kat’s past, but ends up only evolving another person’s plot with her always being left behind. This does not mean that Kat never develops. Rather the opposite is the case, by the end the naïve Kat has become a versed champion for the people but with the power to also say “no”, a truly vital power when you think about it. Spending time with Kat is a bit of a mixed bag, while she can be entertaining and funny, she also tends to take a bit of time to understand things and makes things more complicated for herself than necessary. The player has no say over her actions, which is fine by all means, but making me suffer the mistakes she makes in conversations feels a bit unfair. This is just a minor issue and for the most part the story is entertaining and most importantly fun. Just when I thought the game was wrapping up, a massive shift in tone took place and it kept going for another five hours. When the credits rolled, I was pleased with what I had accomplished. The part of story was wrapped up nicely and while Kat is still a mystery-person, a few hints make me want to play the sequel right now. In addition, of course, to the fact that I want to fly around a lot more.
– Yes, there are more revealing costumes to be unlocked. How did you guess that? –
Gravity Rush succeeds by focusing on the central concept of gravity shifting with absolute rigour. No element introduced is not tied to this power and through this, the focus and strength of the game are clear, no Assassin’s Creed-problem of million different things to do with no purpose to be found here. The game can be split into three parts: Story Missions (self-explanatory), Challenge Missions (to earn crystals and hone your skills), and flying about which is honestly the most fun, but since crystal are floating around everywhere the experience is also literally rewarding. Graphics wise the game is definitely not the prettiest on the market, this also stems from the fact that it was originally a PS Vita game. But, and this is a big but, the graphics manage to be far more pleasing the eyes than most other games. The pastel colours are a joy to look at and while the draw distance is rather small and I’d wish there was another primary colour other than brown for some districts, the buildings in the distance do not disappear, but rather take the form of sketches making the visual presentation truly stand out. Character models lack textures, especially Kat’s model for some reason, which has skin with no real sense of depth, but you will only notice this standing still and if you do everything right you will never stand still anyway.
– Second installment, here I come! –
I love Gravity Rush, I can’t express it otherwise. It is a flawed masterpiece that dares to master one concept instead of introducing a million small ones. In an era of games which must at least include five ways to play it, this is a welcome diversion. The story is not the Count of Monte Christo of Videogames but will keep you entertained throughout the approximately 10-12 hour campaign. Challenge missions truly are a challenge, and should you ever need to relax, simply falling around the city is a relaxing and fun way of winding down. I played a bit of Gravity Rush 2 at Gamescom this year and now having played the original, I am looking forward to this game with burning passion. Falling never felt this good.
Image sources in order of appearance:
- http://www.ingame.de/blogs.dir/1/files/2016/02/Test-Gravity-Rush-Remastered-thumbnail.jpg (Last date of access: 20.11.2016)
- https://media.playstation.com/is/image/SCEA/gravity-rush-remastered-screen-05-us-ps4-17nov15?$MediaCarousel_Original$ (Last date of access: 20.11.2016)
- http://www.slantmagazine.com/assets/games/25531/gravityrushremastered.jpg (Last date of access: 20.11.2016)
- https://i.ytimg.com/vi/p66o0j1-tIA/maxresdefault.jpg (Last date of access: 20.11.2016)