When I first began playing Gravity Rush on my PS Vita, I disliked it. I thought that the story was boring and that the gameplay was of low quality. As I ventured further into its world, I began to see the light and slowly gravitate towards it. Even though I liked parts of it, I still came to realize that Gravity Rush is a lukewarm kind of game.
The story begins with the protagonist Kat falling from the sky and losing the ability to recollect any of her thoughts; she does not know who she is or where she came from. Eventually, Kat comes upon a mystical cat that grants her the ability to shift gravity and soar across the skies. As Kat settles into her new found home, she soon learns that she must use her gift to protect the people of Hekesville from a threat named the nevi and bring peace to the land once and for all.
Gravity Rush’s narrative has more holes in it than Swiss cheese; there were too many questions that were raised and in return not answered. By the end of the game I was more confused then when I started. There were too many times when the plot chose to ignore the twists and turns that it had to offer. Thus making Gravity Rush come off as extremely vague and tedious from start to finish.
Kat may have been personified as an integral part of the space-time continuum, but she never had a story arch. The game never gave a background story on Kat and promised to fulfill the player’s urge to understand her during the course of the story. This never happened and consequently I didn’t care about her or connect with her on any emotional level.
In Hekesville there are four districts, Auldnoir, Pleajenue, Endestria and Vendcentre. The player will start the game in Auldnoir and attain the other three cities by defeating the bosses whom are holding them captive. Each sector breathes its own life into the game. Auldnoir is portrayed as a village while pleajenue is depicted as a party city, filled with entertainment and drunks. The player can travel from city to city by train, flight or straight up fast travel.
With each city comes individual tasks for Kat to take on; these are considered the side quests. The side missions are unlocked when Kat fixes a part of the city. The only problem with them is that they become wearisome after a short period of time.
Gravity Rush is solely based upon the mechanic of shifting gravity. Having the capability to shift gravity is an amazing idea in theory but when implemented, it sometimes misses the mark. When Kat is flying through the air, the body motion that she displays comes across as awkward and as if she has no control of her power; she looks like she is falling. While in flight, the camera will confuse the player and during many points in the game the player won’t know up from down. During combat sequences the camera will fight the player to an extreme extent; it’s aggravating. Although gravity shifting can feel like a frustrating ordeal while in battle, it can still be fun to control Kat in wide open spaces.
The combat in Gravity Rush was the most annoying part of the game. Throughout many of the fights I was in, I would miss my target due to the poor targeting system. Many of the unfair deaths that I encountered were because of the camera that lashed out. Overall, all of the fights were the same. Which turned brawling into into a mind numbingly lackluster event.
The graphics however were gorgeous. The cell shading truly added to the game and brought the world to life. Each level had its own atmosphere and I felt very immersed in the world. All of the levels were aesthetically pleasing and the team did a stand up job.
Since Kat has powers she also has upgrades. The upgrade system is very simple: the player must fly around, collect orbs and in return Kat can have her stats elevated. The best part about it is that gathering orbs is super addictive; there were points where I found myself accumulating orbs instead of playing the main story.
If the player ever finds him or herself lost within the game, he or she can use the in-game map. This is an exceptionally useful tool, for I got lost numerous times. While using the map the player can set a navigation point and the game will display in yards how far one is from the goal.
Sound-wise, Gravity Rush hits the mark and yet misses it at the same time. To start, the music is very pleasant, but after a few replays it becomes really annoying. The sound of Kat’s voice during combat grinds my gears as she shrieks at a high -pitched tone constantly. Though those two traits are irritating, the sound effects are what make Gravity Rush sound unique. For example: the noise of breaking the speed of sound or the chime whenever an orb is acquired.
Another cool thing that I must point out is that all of the voice acting is done in Japanese. The Japanese voice acting significantly added to the atmosphere of the title. Whether it was done out of laziness or on purpose, the fact that it’s there is astonishing in its own right.
I had high hopes for Gravity Rush but they were crushed by its inferior combat, pestering soundtrack and uninspiring story. However it was an attractive game with interesting flight mechanics and an addictive collecting system. After playing Gravity Rush, I now know that SCEA Japan is more than capable of making a good Vita title. They just need to brush up a little bit more on their basics and only then will they fly.
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