Allow me to get straight to the point; Gravity Rush is unlike any game I’ve ever played. Sure, there are a lot of familiar game mechanics here, such as leveling up, exploring an open world, picking up missions and challenges, and so on, but all of this is wrapped in a shiny new stylish package that truly delivers a fresh experience. It isn’t perfect, and may not be for everyone, but for Vita owners itching for another great game (as many of us have been), Gravity Rush is easily the best game on the system.
Set in a mysterious floating city, Gravity Rush pluts players in the shoes of Kat, a girl who awakens with no memory. Along with her strange black cat Dusty, who gives Kat the power to shift gravity, she is tasked with finding out who she is and where she came from, all while saving the world from monsters known as Nevi.
While the story isn’t very unique, it does take some interesting twists that make it just different enough to still be exciting. Without giving too much away, the Nevi conveniently arrived at the same time as Kat, whose destiny is connected to events in a significant way. The cutscenes that tell the story are presented in a manga style, which goes well with the overall style of the game. Gravity Rush is, of course, heavily inspired by anime, complete with very quirky characters and humor.
The anime-style carries over into the entire look and feel of the game as well. The music is very well done, reminding me a lot of Kingdom Hearts. The graphics are beautiful, with Kat’s hair and scarf animating very realistically, and the environments are very detailed. Everything has a cel-shaded effect, which has become over-used in video games, but it actually works very well for Gravity Rush. The Vita is a truly powerful handheld, and it shows.
Much of the game revolves around the Gravity Shifting mechanic, in which Kat can alter gravity to suit her needs. By pressing the ‘R’ button, Kat floats in the air, while another press sends her flying in which direction you choose. She can land on the side of buildings, promptly tilting the screen to show building as the floor on which she is now standing. As you progress through the game, this ability is also used in combat, especially during some of the awesome boss battles.
Combat, however, is where the game stumbles. There are a few special attacks to uncover, bust most of the time, combat comes down to hitting the square button a few times, dodging, and repeating the process. Luckily, the enemies come in many different varieties, and can only be destroy be attacking certain weak points, which gives some much needed strategy to the otherwise bland combat. The game rarely uses touch controls, which is a very good decision, and what touch controls are used never feel forced.
Gravity Rush is set-up as an open-world game, but it can be a little misleading. You can explore the town as you wish, collecting hidden games and completing combat and race challenges, but there really isn’t much else to do. Unfortunately, there are no real side-quests to speak of, and each chapter has one major mission to accomplish. The combat and race challenges provide players with more gems, which are used for upgrading Kat’s health and abilities, but it would have been nice to give players more of a reason to explore. In between missions, there are also no enemies to speak of, which can make exploration a little boring.
If you are the type of player who likes to complete every challenge and work on upgrading every ability, Gravity Rush can last a good 10-12 hours. However, if you would rather just play through the story without taking on extra challenges, expect your typical 7-8 hour story mode. Replay value depends on how much you loved the game, but ultimately once you’ve seen everything, there is little reason to replay. Luckily, there are three DLC packs coming out over the next couple of months that will add some more missions.
In the end, Gravity Rush is an excellent game for those who are looking to get the most out of their Vita. It does a great job of showing off the power of the hardware, and is a fun, unique title. Though there is no replay value to speak of, except for the upcoming DLC, the time you will spend manipulating gravity with Kat is is worth every penny