Monday, July 23, 2012

Gravity Rush Is Proof Posetive That the Vita is Doing it Right

Quick Note: Gravity Rush is everything the Vita has been waiting for. Take inFamous, swap the electric powers for gravity powers and add a more comic book styled world and you have a great game with the beginnings of an excellent franchise

Ever since I received my Vita, I have been so excited about this game, and let me tell you: it did not disappoint. With a large open world to explore, amazing gravity powers, and an intriguing narrative, Gravity Rush is the top triple-A title out for the Vita right now.

Players are dropped into the shoes of Kat, a young girl who literally falls from the sky with no memory of anything. She eventually runs into the games enemies, the Nevi, and another mysterious girl named Raven whom are attacking the city, forcing Kat to defend the good citizens of Hecksville. The narrative is strong, displaying most of the emotion and story movement through a comic book style presentation which adds a vibrant bit of life to the game. These cut scenes are very interactive, requiring the player to flip through each page using the Vita's touch screen as well as manipulated using the tilt function of the system for some great depth effects. For something that has been done in many games before it, the comic style cut scenes felt really fresh and new.

The town of Hecksville is split into 4 large islands, each one unlocked as the game progresses. Because of the gravity powers available to Kat, exploration is far from typical, making each island such a joy to explore. Kat can zoom between buildings, fall from great heights and even walk on the underbelly of each island to find hidden gems to power herself up. There is even a small side quest that requires Kat to search out two individuals who seem trapped somehow, and each o these characters is hidden cleverly within each section of the game.

Each island in Hecksville is like it's own town, with a different art style and music to each local, making the game a joy to watch as well as to play. I often found myself flying high above and below the city just to see how for I could travel. The music is nice, but not exactly memorable.

If you get bored floating around each island, there are also challenges that can be found. Buy opening up portions of each island, new challenges are unlocked for Kat to take on. These challenges range from defeating a certain number of enemies in a time limit to racing across one of the islands. Though difficult to master, the reward for completing each challenge is not only a few gems to power up on, but trophies as well.

Combat is primarily done through Kat's combo of kicks (when on land) or gravity kicking from the air. This system falls under the 'easy to learn, hard to master' category and though rewarding, the combat tends to get frustrating as the enemy types get more varied. With such a unique mechanic as gravity powers, aiming is key, and unfortunately the aiming is not perfect in Gravity Rush. Though it is possible to use the right joystick to aim, the game also uses the tilt function of the Vita to aim, and it can not be turned off. This can lead to some frustrating misses with boss battles later in the game.

And speaking of boss battles, the game has a fair number sprinkled through out the 21 chapters. Though the enemies all have the same weak spots to them, each battle progressively gets harder by how smart the enemy AI grows in proportion to how far the player grows Kat. The only real gripe with the boss battles is that a few seem derivative late in the game, especially the final boss battle.

The one major draw back from the game is lack of life to the city. Though the city is populated and the people move around, there is very little interaction with the citizens outside of story missions. Instead of side missions, the team created the challenges spread through out the city. I found most of these challenges frustrating and poor substitutes for real side missions that could expand the cities population and personality. 

Overall, Gravity Rush is exactly what the Vita needs: A fresh IP that shows this powerful handheld has some great life ahead of it. With so much intrigue built up, I can't wait to play the numerous download content as well as the sequel (fingers crossed). And maybe then they can fix the challenges portions.

9 out of 10

Interesting Sites:
IGN Review:
Wiki Page:
Gamefaqs Page:

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