Review: Gravity Rush
I first played Gravity Rush when I imported it a few months before it’s Western release. Since then I’ve also familiarised myself with the English language version, and as a result have put quite a lot of hours into the game. This wasn’t time wasted, and there’s so much to love about Gravity Rush. Unfortunately there’s also a few things to hate, and the game’s levels of brilliance are at times matched by it’s levels of frustration.
The first thing you’ll probably notice about Gravity Rush is that it looks beautiful. Not only is it one of the most technically impressive games on the Vita, but it has it’s own unique art style that looks gorgeous and gives the game it’s own feel and character. The whole world is beautifully drawn and there’s a lot of variety in things to see. This is great, as a large part of the game is about exploring.
You play as Kat, and accompanied with an actual cat called Dusty you embark on an immense crystal hunting adventure. She’s a great character, and there’s no immediate sexualisation, abusive past or anything else you can think of that have ruined some of videogame’s previous female leads. She kicks ass and doesn’t let anything get her down. Oh, and she lives in a sewer pipe. This really confused me on my Japanese playthrough of the game, and I spent 3 months in suspense wondering what she was doing inside a big drain. It’s one of many parts of the game that will make you smile, and in the first few hours of gameplay there’s a lot to love about Gravity Rush.
The game’s biggest weakness? In one word? Combat. Controlling gravity isn’t very precise, and whilst this makes for some fun exploring as you uncontrollably fall in different directions, when you’re aiming for the weak spot on a moving enemy things can get pretty frustrating. On top of this the combat is far too frequent and battles can take quite a long time. The bosses especially can be infuriating, and there’s a big snake boss you end up having to fight 3 or 4 times. Combined with some uneven checkpoints and a fluctuating difficulty level there were a few moments when I wanted to throw my PS Vita against the wall in anger.
Rarely does a game get me so worked up as Gravity Rush, but it’s because when I did get stuck fighting a large group of enemies I just wanted to progress and get to a more enjoyable section. It’s a long game with a tone of stuff to do, so when you cant progress past a specific level things can get very frustrating. Admittedly on my Japanese playthrough I didn’t know there was an upgrade menu, and this thankfully reduced the issue from the 100% game breakingly infuriating problem it originally was for me. The problem is still there though, and most of the time the combat is a chore to play.
Despite a few issues, Gravity Rush does a lot of things right. It has a lot of style and individuality, great characters and a huge world to explore. It’s also pretty much the only unique retail game for the PS Vita. It’s not an overpriced port of a PS3 game, or a watered down spinoff of a well known series. It’s completely original, and it uses the PS Vita exclusive features well. Because of this I’d definitely consider it one of the console’s must own games, and at it’s best Gravity Rush offers some of the most enjoyable gameplay available on the system. Add one point if you can overlook the really rubbish combat.