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Not Quite A Review: Gravity Rush (PS Vita)

Setting a Kat amongst the pigeons.

I’ve been playing the final version of Gravity Rush on and off for weeks and – guess what – I’m still not entirely sold. Here’s the thing: when a publisher releases a game a little outside the launch window it’s easier to give it more attention and, naturally, there’s a larger potential market because the gaming public is eager and hungry for something new. Anything new. In that respect I’m sure that this first party title will sell plenty, but is this a game that’s really as good as we hope it is?

Gravity Rush, it emerged, was originally a PlayStation 3 title, and was in concept stages about a decade ago. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the concepts on display aren’t particularly fresh or interesting, but it does mean that there’s been a few games recently that have covered similar ground. However, on Vita it’s pretty much a unique experience (and perhaps that’s the point) and whilst it’s been out for a good while in Japan Rush still has that new feeling to it, and it’s mostly great.

The sense of scale isn't lessened by the Vita's screen size, and the framerate's nice and solid.
It’s another game running at sub-native resolution, though, so it’s definitely not as sharp and crisp as it could be – something that I’d hoped would be ironed out of the Vita after the first batch of games. This won’t bother some people, but curious it really gets under my skin. It doesn’t look as vivid and as rich as I’d have hoped either, and the art style’s a tiny bit flat in places like the levels are all out – it’s not a bad looking game, but it’s not exactly heralding the second generation of Vita titles.

What the game does offer though (and I’ve not finished the story yet, hence this isn’t technically a full review) is stacks of gameplay that’ll absolutely hook you in, and that, after some lightweight post-launch fluff and a distinct lack of anything punchy on PSN for the last few weeks, is exactly what the Vita and its gamers are looking for – something to hold them over nicely and keep the Vita in column inches until after the summer months.

There’s nothing here to suggest that this is filler, something in-between day one and the big hitters that’ll hopefully kick off with E3; Gravity Rush is a complete, thorough game that takes the free-roaming mission structure from the likes of inFamous and wraps it all up in a really clever central mechanic (more on that later) and an emergent, rich plot that brings in some great characters and a series of little sub-plots. If you’re after something meaty, this is for you.

The action's strong, although fighting sections don't feel as slick as flying through the air, swiping to dodge is silly.
But back to the game’s title – and Gravity Rush’ core idea that kicks off right from the game’s start and quickly becomes so integral that you can’t really imagine a third person action game that doesn’t let you flip up into the air and fling yourself towards a distant object hundreds of feet up, kicking an enemy square in the face and then running sideways along the wall. It’s handled brilliantly, with just two buttons (the triggers) and uses the Vita’s gyro to aim; it takes all of a minute to get used to and once you’re hooked, you’re in.

Why you can do this manipulation of physics (and why others can do it too) is just one aspect of the game’s plot, the other involves a large group of enemies (I don’t particularly like their art direction either, for what it’s worth) and an incoming big thing that looms over everything else. It all starts slowly enough before escalating into a rather compelling, exciting adventure as Kat, the player character, boosts her abilities, Crackdown style.

There’s loads to like about Gravity Rush and I’m keen to get back and see the game through to the end, hopefully the pacing and rewarding gameplay will still stand up in a few hours time. In some aspects I’m a little curious as to why this was moved from PS3 to Vita, but that’s for another article, perhaps. Regardless, the game’s out in a few weeks on PlayStation Vita (on both PSN and retail cartridge) and we’ll have the full review well before then.

  1. Jakster123x
    Since: Aug 2011

    Really interested in this

    Comment posted on 24/05/2012 at 14:05.
  2. LTG Davey
    Since: Aug 2008

    Ended up returning my Vita in the end (and my ps3 actually – suddenly finding out I’m going to be a Dad in October kinda forced my to trim my games collection a bit, lol) but this is definitely the sort of game I would pick up if I still had one. Will be curious to see what the final verdict is :)

    Comment posted on 24/05/2012 at 14:13.
    • DannyFantango
      Since: Nov 2009

      Interesting, my partner is 33 weeks pregnant and the reason I bought a Vita is to be able to play small snippets of games when I get the chance.
      This game looks great for that, especially with the Vitas sleep mode feature.

      Comment posted on 24/05/2012 at 14:34.
      • LTG Davey
        Since: Aug 2008

        Makes sense :) To be honest thats the reason I kept my 3DS, for small snippets of gaming when traveling to and from work. My local Blockbuster were offering a cracking price for my Vita so it was hard to turn it down when we have baby things to buy, lol.

        Comment posted on 24/05/2012 at 14:42.
      • bigbaldwolf
        Since: Mar 2012

        My partner only has 4 weeks to go. A lot of babies due soon (must be something in the water). The Vita will be perfect though. I can play it without disturbing a sleeping baby

        Comment posted on 24/05/2012 at 16:46.
      • Youles
        Since: Feb 2011

        Congrats LTG – btw, babies nap. A lot. And you’ll find you’re tired too so may not want to do much but sit in front of the TV. My lad is 20 months old and still naps during the day :D

        I’m trying to teach him to say “me old china” before he starts nursery. Being a Dad is the best thing in the world.

        Comment posted on 24/05/2012 at 16:53.
      • stueeeee
        Since: Jun 2009

        Congrats to all of u! My partner is 22 weeks at the moment. I’m squeezing as much time on ps3 as I can atm but I’ll think I’ll hang onto it and my Vita for now. My music and pictures are all on console and vita was a birthday present, but I think I will eventually get some use out of it. Won’t b getting too many new games though….

        Comment posted on 25/05/2012 at 00:27.
      • LTG Davey
        Since: Aug 2008

        Congrats fellow TSA’ers :)
        LOL cheers Youles. I’d imagine I will do something similar >:D

        Comment posted on 25/05/2012 at 09:41.
  3. KeRaSh
    Since: Nov 2009

    This is the first game I’m actually interested in on the Vita.

    Comment posted on 24/05/2012 at 14:16.
  4. teflon
    Community Team
    Since: May 2009

    Absolutely want this.

    Shame about the lack of native resolution, and I’ll continue to complain about it bitterly to everyone that will listen, but this game has me hook line and sinker, without having played it.

    Comment posted on 24/05/2012 at 14:16.
  5. bigbaldwolf
    Since: Mar 2012

    I played the japanese demo months ago (and no I couldn’t understand a word of it) and it played really well . I loved the whole gravity manipulation and I’m definitely picking this one up

    Comment posted on 24/05/2012 at 14:26.
  6. Kennykazey
    Since: Mar 2010

    I was sold on this a long time ago.

    But IMO it’s wrong to call this a second generation game, it’s been out for a long time in japan, and it’s the first vita title by the developer.

    Comment posted on 24/05/2012 at 14:30.
    • JoshHood
      Small briefcase w*nker
      Since: Forever

      I’d agree with that, it seems to be Sony delayed it as more of a strategic thing than a development thing, and it’s been out since just after Vita in Japan.

      Comment posted on 24/05/2012 at 14:54.
  7. TSBonyman
    Since: Dec 2009

    I’m disappointed about the native res, hopefully the other big hitters, ie cod and bioshock, don’t suffer similar fate.
    I still need a hands-on with this game before i decide.

    Comment posted on 24/05/2012 at 15:32.
  8. colmshan1990
    Since: Apr 2009

    Can’t wait for this, the reviews (apart from 2 so far) are fantastic.
    To be honest though, I was sold on this a long time ago.

    Comment posted on 25/05/2012 at 00:03.
  9. PA_Kid
    Since: May 2012

    The sub-native resolution bashing is a little unwarranted here isn’t it?

    Wasnt this a launch game for Japan that was delayed due to localization?

    Glad to hear the gameplay seems solid tho – really looking forward to this one.

    Comment posted on 25/05/2012 at 00:40.

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