Since its debut, Gravity Rush has adapted quite the reputation. Being an original first-party IP, Sony fans naturally kept it high on their radars. But this isn’t about Sony, or their abundance of first-party support. Gravity Rush has been highly anticipated for its unique gameplay mechanics and interesting art style, making it the most sought after Vita title of 2012. Additionally, the Vita’s general lack of software helped keep all eyes on Gravity Rush. Four months after the platform’s launch, Gravity Rush is finally here, and while it certainly carries its own demerits, Sony Japan has crafted the finest Vita title to date.
The first thing everyone will notice is Gravity Rush’s beautifully cel-shaded visuals. The game’s gritty aesthetic is enhanced with a water-coloured palette, turning the lovely town of Hekseville into picture-perfection. Unfortunately, while the floating town is easy on the eyes, it is a shame that it is so barren. Citizen’s of each district pop in and out of existence, and are only visible from a close distance. While the music and scenery help bring Hekseville to life, the lack of population prevent the gamer from grounding themselves in the atmosphere.
Gravity Rush puts you in the shoes of Kat, a teenage girl who shifts gravity with the help of a mysterious stray cat. The plot constantly raises new mysteries and questions, but hardly answers them. Furthermore, while the game is somewhat plot-heavy, it constantly reminds you to forgive any plotholes and nonsensical logic. The mythology of Gravity Rush isn’t as defined, and confident, as some of Sony’s AAA titles. With that in mind, the quirks of the story make this a tale worth telling. Over time, the Nevi become memorable enemies. Kat’s charm and wit help keep things interesting while you are quickly growing attached to her.
Keep in mind, at the beginning of this review, I claimed that this was the best Vita title to date. Allow me to explain why. Almost immediately, Gravity Rush introduces you to the unique “falling” mechanic that will shift the way you play the entire game. Many games attempt to invent new mechanics, but never are they as memorable and useful as Gravity Rush’s core gameplay.
This isn’t the only redeeming feature of Gravity Rush. In fact, this only scratches the surface. Gravity Rush is a linear open-world game, which allows you to focus on the important stuff. Never are you distracted by a slew of side-quest, and never do you feel lost in an unexplored district. Combining this with missions that are of an appropriate length, Sony has finally found a way to turn an open-world title into a strong narrative. It has that addicting “one more mission” aspect to it.
With that said, Gravity Rush is not for everyone. The combat is clunky, missions can be repetitive, and the game feels portable. It is not grand enough to be a console experience, but it is an adventure that will be looked back on fondly. There are character’s that will stick with you, and lines that will genuinely make you smile, make you chuckle, and make you gasp. Gravity Rush never hides what it is, and gladly reveals it’s identity at every moment it can. This is part of the charm.
As I said, Gravity Rush is not without its problems. It is its charm and originality that help us forget about the clumsy mechanics. Rarely does a game distract me enough to lose track of the hours I’ve played. When I look back on this game, I won’t remember the clumsy melee combat or the open-ended story. Instead, I’ll remember one of the most original games I’ve played in a long time. Truthfully, you have never played a game like Gravity Rush. So what are you waiting for?