Developer: SCE Japan Studio
Platform: PS Vita
Genre: 3rd Person Adventure
Thanks in large part to the beautiful looking design and interesting gameplay mechanics, Gravity Rush was one of the two games that pushed me from a 'cautious wait-and-see' to early adopter of the Vita (Uncharted being the other). So now that it is released did this third person action game justify my decision?
The game focuses on the adventures of Kat, a young amnesiac girl who has literally fallen into a city ravage by monstrous attacks and other misfortunes. She is accompanied by a cat that grants her the ability to alter the flow of gravity. Press the R button and Kat will float, you can then aim in any direction and when you press R again the downward pull of gravity will be altered. Want to fly? You can make yourself 'fall' skywards. Don’t feel like running down that long street? Change gravity and 'plummet' to your destination. When playing a sandbox game, the key is to have an interesting way to travel and flinging Kat in any direction definitely counts.
The main story progresses from missions located throughout the hub city. I can't say there is anything extraordinary about any of these missions (timed races, locate X, fight Y amount of monsters) but they were engaging enough that I never grew tried of the game on my initial run through. The only thing keeping me from plowing through the story missions was the need to explore the city and complete side quests in order to gain gems. These gems can then be used to upgrading Kat's powers and the game really comes into its own when you gain a bit more control over Kat's powers.
At first I found the combat pretty uninspired (press square to kick the weak point of the enemy and dodge their easily signalled attacks) but when mixed up with gravity manipulation (flying kicks, throwing enemies with your status field, spin attacks etc.) the combat stopped being an unwelcome break from exploration. The cel shaded visuals and almost everything in the games presentation are simply wonderful and I would make special note of the comic book styled cut scenes that really hooked me into what would otherwise be a somewhat cliched story. If I were to find fault, I would say that the city can feel a bit samey at points but I don’t think I would had I not being reviewing it.
The game does come with its fair share of flaws. For example, altering the gravity to travel, while immensely fun, can easily end up causing the player to get lost. At first, I had difficulty figuring out up from down without resetting gravity but there is a visual hint with Kat's hair remaining unaffected by her powers. It is true that you can sometimes get stuck on the bottom of the city trying to figure your way back up but as this often allows you to find extra gems, it is only when you are desperately trying to complete an assignment that this will be an annoyance.
The only feature that I was really unable to tolerate was the dodge function, which is operated by the front touch screen. This is unnecessarily awkward particularly when the Vita has a rear touchpad that could achieve the same effect with far more ease.
This would be a rather typical third person game had it not being for the gravity trick and some striking visuals but frankly it was enough to make me glad that I did invest in the Vita.
Rent or Buy: Buy
Reviewed by Jack Gallagher
Story by entertainment.ie | 10:48 | Monday 2nd July 2012 | Games
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