Monday, 16 July 2012

Game Review: Gravity Rush

I wanted to write this kind of in tandem with a review for the PlayStation Vita, because this is the first game I've played on it and I just loved it so much and I was so excited, I wanted to share it with you guys ! However, I don't think I'm really qualified to review it being as I have only played one game on it thus far, and also it was released a while ago now so there is probably lots of better, more experienced reviews out there. 

As I'm sure you noticed over the last few months, I've been incredibly excited to play Gravity Rush ever since it was announced. Everything about it appeals to me; the wonderful cell-shaded art, a strong female lead, a steampunk feel and the sandbox gameplay. It didn't disappoint ! As the plot unfolds, you'll be introduce to a plethora of rich environments, challenging gameplay and engaging characters. Gravity Rush tells the story of Kat, a girl who wakes up in the strange city of Hekesville with a mysterious power she knows nothing about; the power to control gravity. A tap of the right shoulder button will send you floating up into the air, often taking surrounding objects - and people - with you. A second tap, and Kat will fly through the air and gain the ability to run up vertical walls, hurtle towards enemies with vicious flying-kicks and even walk along the underside of the floating city. The graphics and sheer depth of the art and environments, offered to the player in Gravity Rush is surely unmatched by another other game on a handheld console. It is worth playing just to experience that alone. 

Something else to get to grips with is the idea of controlling gravity itself; something that make take a little while to master completely. Even towards the end of the game there were a few moments where I had to really stop and get my bearings. Luckily, Kat's scarf is immune to her gravity-shifting powers and can be used as a marker for which way is the "right" way up whenever you're feeling a bit discombobulated. Using these powers, Kat embarks on her mission to help the people of Hekesville by returning the missing pieces of their city and also to answer several intriguing questions; where did she come from ? How can her powers be explained ? And who is the mysterious dark-haired girl who also shares Kat's gravity-shifting abilities ? Gravity Rush consists of 21 missions; most of which involve helping out the residents of Hekesville with anything from finding missing schoolgirls to protecting sacred items, and also fighting off hoards of Nevi - weird, liquidy creatures which inhabit the city. 

Of course, there are plenty of side missions and the game uses these to takes full advantage of the PS Vita's touchscreen abilities. By pressing the two bottom corners of the screen simultaneously and tilting the console, Kat can use her "Gravity Slide" ability; a little bit pointless for anything combat-wise, but super fun if you're participating in one of the racing-based side challenges. You can turn the motion controls off altogether if they're not for you, and if you do opt to do this then the traditional controls are extremely easy to grasp.

Getting to play Kat herself is also an absolute pleasure; she's badass,
 funny and adorable all in one ! 

The only faults I can stick to this game are the long loading times and also the combat system. For the latter problem, I can only put this down to the fact that virtually all of the combat you will be encountering will be aerial and you only have the option of manual targeting. While this might not be a problem for some game players, I find that games with automatic target lock-ons much, much easier - I guess I've just gotten lazy over the years ! That being said, while it's not super difficult to land hits this way, trying to do it while simultaneously controlling the camera angles as you fly through they air can be frustrating.

To conclude; if you already own a Vita you should defiantly be thinking about adding Gravity Rush to your collection. The package of outright fun gameplay, intriguing storyline and captivating art aside, Gravity Rush is delivering a package to game players that has been promised but not necessarily received for years; a unique and exciting superhero.

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