Review: Gravity Rush – a reason to own a PS Vita?

June 14, 2012

Review: Gravity Rush – a reason to own a PS Vita?While PlayStation Vita owners may be facing a drought currently, there is one game that released recently that may change all of that. With the release of the long awaited PS Vita title Gravity Rush, many will wonder if this is the title to make you own one.

Story

The premise around Gravity Rush is actually quite interesting as you follow a girl named Kat, who suffers from amnesia but finds herself in a floating steam-punk town called Hekseville. She soon encounters a black cat that helps recall her mysterious power to control gravity. Later on Kat finds out she is what is called a Shifter due to her magical abilities.

Without knowing her origin, Kat sets out to discover they mystery behind the threat of the invading monsters called Nevi and the gravity storm brewing that could wipe out the world as she knows it.

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You will immediately fall in love with Kat as she seems like an unlikely heroine, with a cheerful yet flirty demeanor that can also change instantly to a scowling, brooding teenager. Despite the fate of the world resting on her shoulders, Kat seems rather free spirited going off on tangents in conversations with NPCs in the world about all sorts of odd topics.

The story is told in cutscenes and at times in a cool comic book style that moves in 3D as you tilt the screen, which shows off things around the corner.  The story is charming and keeps you engaged, as by the end of the game you will find yourself invested in Kat and the interesting town of Hekseville whether you want to or not.

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Gameplay/Design

Gravity Rush is an open world sandbox game that offers exploration and aerial combat that is completely unique and original. The game feels like it was destined for the PS Vita as it takes full advantage of the gyro sensors and the touch screen.

The game definitely earns points for implementing a free flying control scheme that works smoothly, as you propel Kat from one corner of the city to the next. The feeling of flying is indescribable as it almost feels like Kat is always falling, but towards an undefined ground as the walls or ceiling can instantly become the ground.

Once you master Kat’s gravity rush, gliding across the town will give you an exhilarating rush you may never have felt in any other game before. The aerial combat is probably the weakest link in  Gravity Rush as attacking the floating Nevi monsters require flying towards the enemy with a kick after doing a soft lock on it.

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If the enemy moves out of the way, you will have to reorientate to launch for another flying kick or attack. However, once you master this combat mechanic, it can actually be somewhat rewarding yet challenging as you orientate yourself to launch an attack to hit the monster’s weak point while predicting its movement pattern.

Attacking the Nevi monsters on the ground require a series of brawling combo attacks, with the ability to dodge by quickly swiping on the screen, which takes some getting used to.

Kat even earns a little cute house that can be spruced up as well as store various costumes that can be unlocked.

Improving your reputation in Hekseville is quite important as it will go a long way to leveling up. Kat can also talk to some of the NPCs in town to learn more about Hekseville and its origin. You will find several districts in the town such as Endestria, Vendecentre and several more locations that can be explored.

Over time, parts of the town have been torn away by the Nevi, and you can take on side quests by warping to another dimension called the rift plains to recover parts of the town. Restoring and upgrade parts of the town will boost your reputation as well.

Exploration is key as you will discover hidden gems all over the city that will go towards unlocking new abilities leading to some super powerful attacks. There are certain missions involving collecting gems in a guarded area that forces you to think outside the box by using the gravity rush ability. In one area I found myself running upside down under the belly of the floating city to come up on the other side of the gems. 

Wrap-Up

Gravity Rush is a beautiful game with an awesome soundtrack that will keep pulling you back into the mysterious world of Hekseville. The setting is absolutely fantastical with both haunting and charming locations. The boss battles that don’t involve the standard Nevi bloobs are great as you encounter villains with various abilities that differ from yours.

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Its rare to find a game that makes you want to spend time in its world even if its for the sake of just flying around finding gems in it freely. If you are a PlayStation Vita owner, Gravity Rush is a must have game and if you don’t own one, then the game is definitely one of the reasons you should get one.

Score

5/5


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