Frivolous Waste of Time

Sci-fi, fantasy and video games

Gravity Rush Remastered for PS4

I feel pretty sorry for PS Vita owners, but seeing all the major Vita releases make their way to PS4 has been great. Gravity Rush Remastered does feel like a handheld game blown up onto console, but a reduced price and solid porting work make it a really good experience.

Gravity Rush takes place in the floating city of Heskeville, which has been threatened by a mysterious force known as the Nevi. Kat, an amnesiac girl, awakens in Heskeville and meets Dusty, a strange black cat who grants her control over gravity and allows her to become a ‘Shifter’. Kat sets out to be a hero to the people of Heskeville, but faces opposition from many sources, from the Nevi to the military to fellow Shifter Raven.

There are some rather interesting moments in Gravity Rush’s storytelling, but sadly the whole thing is largely incoherent. The core narrative of the goofy Kat building an identity as a hero in a city which seems to instinctually blame her for their problems is interesting. Early on, in the prologue, you save a little boy whose father promptly chastises you for failing to save their house too. I liked this stuff, but Gravity Rush goes a bit off the rails and frankly winds up making very little sense. A lot of stuff seems held back to set up a sequel, but if you take Gravity Rush as it’s own thing the story ultimately doesn’t feel satisfying. Like I said, there’s some interesting stuff here and I hope Gravity Rush 2 is able to make sense of the mess.

Gravity Rush is an open world superhero game, with a few similarities to Crackdown. Your main power is the ability to shift the direction which gravity pulls you from. So, if you point at the sky and press R1, you start falling towards the sky, which essentially works as a charmingly wonky version of flight. You can run on walls and soar through the skies and it’s genuinely thrilling. Pretty much everything comes out of this mechanic, with combat involving launching kicks towards glowing weak spots on foes. The further away you kick from, the more powerful the attack and landing a hit from a huge distance and destroying a foe in one hit is highly satisfying. As with Crackdown, there are glowing orbs everywhere which you use to level up, incentivising exploration. That said, the upgrades don’t feel hugely exciting, with the only one which significantly boosts fun being the ability to fly around for longer without needing to recharge.

The core mechanics of Gravity Rush are really solid, but sadly the things you actually have to do in the missions and challenges are less inspired. The better ones are simple and involve essentially flying around and then fighting things, but there are a few disastrous missions which attempt things like stealth. Probably the only different mission type which worked was in one of the DLC missions (which are included in the Remastered PS4 version) and involved having to alternate putting out fires in the city and on a flying battleship. It was frantic and fun, but overall an exception. I hope that Gravity Rush 2 finds more interesting stuff to do to provide mission variety.

Gravity Rush does look like an upscaled portable game, but the lovely art style still makes everything pop. Everything runs at a slick 60 FPS and Heskeville is a truly gorgeous setting. The story is mostly told in manga style cartoon panels, which is…well, understandable but somewhat off putting. I’m not in love with the character designs, which tend to range from stereotypical anime designs to pointlessly skimpy outfits. The French inspired Heskeville more than makes up for it though. The music is good too. I really look forward to seeing what can be done with the full power of the PS4 in Gravity Rush 2.

Gravity Rush Remastered is a lot of fun. It’s a bit bare bones and doesn’t quite live up to its potential, but for a £20 release it’s definitely worth it. It’s got me excited for the sequel, which I suppose was the entire point of this release!

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