Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Gravity Rush PS Vita Review

Gravity Rush frustrates me. It's story, music, graphics and gameplay outside of combat are all fantastic. But a few poor design choices in the combat department make it, at times, quite a slog.

Gravity Rush sees players take control Kat, who awakens to find her memory gone and a cat, who she names Dusty, who gives her the power to shift gravity. You progress through the game trying to find out who you are, where you are and what you are meant to do and the story is incredibly well written. Kat is immensely likeable, she's funny and she takes to the superpowers in a believable way. The story is interesting with plenty of twists and turns and really makes me want to see more of Kat in the future. 

The whole crux of the game is the gravity shifting. You tap R to float and then you can shoot off in Amy direction you want and stick to walls or ceilings as though they were your floor. You can do this for as long as the gravity gauge isn't empty but once it is you'll come crashing down and have to wait for it to recharge. The simplicity of the whole system, which can be aimed via tilting the vita or the right stick, makes traversing the world a treat and hopping from rooftops to walls and ceilings is really enjoyable. 

The problem is this system does not work well in combat. You fight monsters, called Nevi, and have to target their weak points. The weak points are represented by red glowing orbs (original no?) and for the small, ground based Nevi who make up the bulk of the early stages, targeting these is easy. However in the later stages there are huge Nevi and flying Nevi and targeting their weak points require a gravity shifting. 99.99% of the time, rather than delivering an awesome gravity kick to the Nevi's weak point, you'll fly off into the distance and look like a fool. This wouldn't be such an issue if the later stages weren't full of flying and giant Nevi but sadly they are packed with them. It doesn't ruin the game completely but it is a massive blow to the game's fun factor and really means you're just going to stick it out for the story.  The only good thing about the combat is you unlock special attacks which target for you, the problem is these have a cool down period so most of the time you'll attack, hide and wait for the cool down, attack and then repeat. 

This isn't the only problem with the game. To upgrade your powers you need to acquire gravity gems which are normally up high on rooftops and walls but, despite the great art style and pretty graphics, the draw distance is pretty appealing and so you rarely see where the gems are until you stumble across them. Fortunately all other areas of the graphical department are top notch, with awesome comic book style story sequences, great character models and fantastic world design. 

Now I'd just like to focus on the soundtrack for a second, this is honestly some of the best music the Vita has, each areas has it's own theme and every theme I heard was incredible. From sorrowful violin to foot tapping Jazz, this game has it all and every track is masterfully written. 

Once you've beaten the story, marvelled at the world and listened to the music there's still plenty to do as there is a wealth of side content in the game world. All of the side missions are fairly typical but they are all more or less enjoyable and are great fodder for all you completionists out there. 

Like I said at the start, Gravity Rush is a frustrating game. If you're into super hero stories then this is a must play and if you want a decent open world game for your Vita then this is a must play but if you aren't willing to overlook the games flawed combat system then steer clear because I really can't emphasise enough just how frustrating it is. Gravity Rush is a great game and I really hope we see a sequel to it, but that sequel would need to right some big wrongs in order to be justified.

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