Game Review: Gravity Rush – Remastered (PS4)

Gravity Rush can be a mixture of pure uncontrollable chaos and the beauty of a well performed ballet. Like most 3rd person games that have some sort of flight mechanic, it can either work as intended or fail miserably and ruin the experience. Gravity Rush plays a tug of war with this concept, however; due to its wonderful cast of characters, the well constructed story, and the truly jaw dropping art direction, it manages to still be a satisfying experience overall.

Gravity Rush is about a young girl named Kat. As she wakes up with no knowledge of who she is or the stray cat that never seems to leave her side, she’ll meet a wide range of characters that will either help her, or get in her way of saving a world on the brink of destruction. The story in Gravity Rush is fairly simple and easy to follow, and goes into some interesting places. You can talk with the locals about what’s going on in the city, and do a variety of challenges to earn extra crystals to level up your abilities. At times the story and its cast of characters reminded me of the Hayao Miyazaki films like Kiki’s Delivery Service and Howl’s Moving Castle.

Kat has the ability to manipulate gravity, which allows her to float and walk on any surface as though she was casually taking a stroll. It can get very disorientating when in the heat of battle, but it gives the game a very unique type of game-play. You have a variety of attacks and special moves that work within an upgrade system. You’ll find a large assortment of purple crystals scattered everywhere that work as a form of upgrade currency. The special moves in the game are ok, but mostly don’t work that well due to the fact there is no targeting system. You do have a close range type of targeting, but it is so poorly implemented that it can’t really be relied upon. The fact that your special moves are all mapped to the Triangle button while holding the Left Stick to a direction to pull off each type, I kept pulling off the wrong move when I needed to move out of the way of an incoming attack, causing me to double back and either wait for it to recharge or take my chances with normal attacks, I often went with the latter.

A good portion of the combat will be against the Nevi, a race of monster like creatures that have a large variety of forms. Some are to be battled on the ground, and some in the air. Nearly every boss character you will fight is airborne, and can be a true challenge to take them down. Each and every Nevi have a bright red spot that is their weakness. Smaller enemies will have a single spot, where more complicated and larger beasts will have multiple. There are a few different foes you’ll take on in addition to the Nevi, but you’ll need to discover those on your own.

It can take a while to get used to the controls and flying, but when you do, and IF you do, the game has a nice rhythm to it, and the battles can be pretty thrilling to pull off. The game has a fairly ok tutorial at the start that gives you the basics, but it’s when you have access to the city to practice your powers that you’ll really learn how to play. A few bosses in the game really test your skill with your abilities. I did find a few annoyances in the game that lead to some intense frustration. The motion controls with the Dual Shock 4 work well enough that you always want them turned on, but can sometimes be problematic with the constantly shifting camera. You’ll click to surfaces that you merely want to squeeze by and then the camera will shift, leaving you disorientated. Also, the fact that the game doesn’t have a targeting system is a complete mystery to me as this will leave you to swing the camera around often to find your foe.

If you played the title back when it made its debut on the PlayStation Vita, then you’ll notice the huge graphical upgrade the title has received here. While it still has to conform to the framework the Vita version had, textures and character models have seen a massive upgrade and environments look incredibly sharp. The game runs at 1080p at 60 frames per second, and it shows. The art direction is stunning and the towns have an illustrated look when loading them in that make them look fantastic. PlayStation 4 continues to stock its exclusives library with a lot of enhanced Vita ports and this may be the best of them yet. While there is a little voice acting in the game, it is mostly a gibberish language that sounds a bit french. It is used sparingly and most of the dialogue is through speech balloons. The music in the game is upbeat and well executed. While it does tend to repeat itself often, I still found it really catchy and a joy to listen to.

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All the DLC from the Vita version is included here and most of the missions are pretty good, but doesn’t have the same charm as the main story. You’ll get a job as a maid, work for the military or become a spy among a biker club. The costumes you get are pretty awesome and you can play with them during the main story too. The game and all its content should net you around 10-15 hours worth of game-play. I beat the game at just over 12 hours and only have a few challenges left to complete.

If you can get past the awkward camera and controls, Gravity Rush: Remastered is a stunning work of beauty. Kat and her supporting cast are well written and look incredible. The comic book style cut-scenes are well made and really fit the games’ atmosphere. There are a few missions where the level design gets in the way of the action and a lack of a true targeting system is a major letdown. The story is well crafted and kept me hooked right till the very end. While the story does have a conclusion, it hints that there may be more adventures to be had in Kat’s future, and with the announced sequel in the works exclusively for PlayStation 4, we shouldn’t have to wait too long to get our gravity on.

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