Bluepoint Games shines as they bring to HD life the anime Japan Studio’s Gravity Rush from PS Vita to the PS4 in Gravity Rush Remastered.
Developer: Japan Studio, Bluepoint Games (Remastered)
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE)
Platform: PS4, PS Vita
Release Date: February 2, 2016
Gravity Rush was released on the PS Vita in 2012 and was held in pretty high regard by the Vita community and game’s media reviewers. It is a game I had heard of, but never played as I did not own a PS Vita. In essence, this remastered version of the game was made for me and those like me who never owned a PS Vita and had the opportunity to play this game. I am not sure where it ranks in the annals of the PS Vita library, but I can say Gravity Rush Remastered for PS4 is a pretty interesting game with great character design, an excellent arranged and sweeping soundtrack, and an incredible sense of speed.
You play the game as a character named Kat, who is named for the magical cat which follows her around and grants her the magical ability to control and alter gravity. There is not much explained as to why you get this power in particular or where it comes from, in fact, there are other characters like you, and there is a history of their existence in the world. You are never really granted much into this vast history. The game takes place firmly in the present.
You are in fact referred to as the Gravity Queen on multiple occasions. I am not sure if this is meant to imply there is a hierarchy among the Gravity Shifters, as the people call them. Your character has no idea what they mean by it either, but she rolls with it.
Your job in the city begins small enough. Various areas of the city have been harmed by the presence of Gravity Storms and Nevi, the enemy coming through the gravity plane to attack the city. As you clear the area of Nevi, you also must collect then using gems to bring functionality back to public services. As you do this, you gain a better reputation in the city and more access to different abilities. Why does reputation lead to new abilities? Because it’s a video game!
As you explore this open world, you run across new challenges asking you to use your various gravity powers to be able to complete different races or tackle various enemy situations. These challenges reward you with more gems, which allows for you to be able to upgrade your abilities faster and take out the previously mentioned Nevi faster. The cycle continues, and you have your own small scale version of a loot grind here.
As Kat, you find your purpose once a mysterious old man calls you over to him. The old man asks you to take on a bit of a bigger challenge: portions of the city have been swallowed by the gravity storm, and he will transport you into the storm to be able to bring back these parts of the city and the people who occupy them. And thus, your heroes’ journey begins. As you begin to save the city, the city responds to you in kind, but a rival of sorts appears. Raven, another gravity shifter appears, and she is not happy with you.
This paints the rest of your journey through the grand city in the sky, Hekseville.
The gameplay here in this game is pretty fun. Early as you explore your abilities, it almost feels a bit like Mario Galaxy in which you are jumping around like a child to figure out how this thing called gravity works. The game even adds some fun to it as people will get sucked into your gravitational pool and fly along with you. It never quite establishes if your character is actually a mass murderer who sends people flying to their deaths, but the people still love you, so apparently they are in this things for the thrill!
Kat has on the ground as well as in the air gravity abilities. You can kick on the ground, slide with your gravity slide, or even cast a gravity bubble and throw things at your enemies like projectiles. You can also take to the skies and change your attacks into high powered flying attacks at enemies in the air and on the ground. As you play the game more, you unlock different special abilities as well, such a cyclone ability which targets the weak spots on the Nevi.
That is about it, though. The game keeps your abilities rather simple and leaves it to you to add as much complexity to your attacks as possible. This is pretty preferable. I have recently played The Witcher 3, and lord knows I do not need every game to have that complex of an attack system. Sometimes simple is king and in this game, you make good use of all of the buttons on your controller without it feeling like an overwhelming task to remember everything.
- Here is another thing to pay attention to in the video above: listen to the music in the game. It is pretty magical. You get a huge assortment of instruments on display. Obviously, there is some keyboard/synthesizer action, but you have drums, horns, strings, piano, and other instruments to create a vibrant medley of sounds to simulate your floating moments as well as those moments that carry weight. The soundtrack is definitely one of my favorites I have listened to recently. The range on display is incredible.
- A note on length: I thought this game would be relatively short for a PS4 game as it came from the PS Vita and handheld games are often shorter than most. The game is a rather smooth and quick 10-12 hours going through the story mode without spending too much extra time on trying to perfect all of the various challenges, collecting all of the abilities, or completing various side missions. That is almost perfect when it comes to game length for me. If it had gone on much longer, it might have begun dragging a bit more.
- The heroines in this game are all rather different in style. So your gravity combat style greatly differs from your rival Raven and other rivals you encounter.
- Enemy character design is really good, as well. They have a distinct look about them and a distinct way of attacking. There are maybe about ten total enemy types you encounter regularly. They are not all a challenge, but they all present different ways of fighting for your character.
- The second half of the story feels pretty separate from the first half. Since the game spends so little time establishing this world you are in and instead allows for you to explore it, the second half of the game passes by with the weirdest excuses for things happening. At one point, you start what seems to be a rather innocuous quest only for it to end up being a 2-hour tour through another portion of the game that you cannot leave to go back to exploring the rest of the city again.
- At times, the combat would become a bit repetitive as you faced a group of the same enemy. The variety in the move set helps a lot to alleviate this, but you still spend an awful lot of time flying through the air aiming kicks at some of the enemies.
- The side missions in this game pretty much exist to put Kat in more costumes and give you more gems. So you get your main outfit, a school girl outfit, a maid, a soldier, and a spy. After you do a mission in each, you can change your wardrobe to wear any of these outfits as you fly around, but beyond that there is not much incentive in playing them.
- Kat does not have much of a personality beyond wanting to sleep and save the city. The other characters you meet are fleshed out so well; it is a shame that Kat’s backstory is not explored more in the game.
From the soundtrack to character design and a mostly engaging story, Gravity Rush and by extension Gravity Rush Remastered, gets mostly everything right here. There are a few hiccups in the game concerning the story and some occasionally repetitive encounters, but this game is quick, witty, and beautiful. A missed opportunity in explaining more of the backstory of your main character will not take too much away from the game and all of the fun challenge it provides. This is definitely worth your time and at $30 at launch (don’t forget 20% off if you have Amazon Prime and order it within two weeks of release) you are not set back too much to enjoy what is among the best games from the PS Vita’s library.
A copy of this game was provided to GameSided for the purpose of this review. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.