Gravity Rush

After the huge influx of titles during the launch of the Playstation Vita, in their battle against Nintendo to make it a more worthwhile handheld, my Vita has been ‘resting’ in the cupboard and along comes Gravity Rush to defibrillate it.

Gravity Rush has a sandbox type feel to it in a fantasy based world (trying to resist saying Manga style… dammit!). You play the part of girl who has suffered a mild case of Amnesia and not only that, she has control over the her immediate gravitational pull. Accompanied by a cat, Dusty, who partakes in dialogue and has witty comments such as ‘prrrr’ and my personal favourite ‘meow’, your early adventures have you trying to save the local town with the assistance of the local constabulary.

Through a collection of tutorial style missions, although the game isn’t blunt enough to call them that, you start to understand that your world has been torn apart. Listening to the stories of woe and how the locals have lost their homes and children, holding back the tears you set off on your merry way to try and piece everything back together for the good of the land.

Collecting gems is something that will become second nature to you as you learn to control the world around you. You can walk around like any of the other plebeians but why do that when you can float off into the distance looking for collectables and challenge missions? Gravity Rush makes full use of every one of the 360 degrees and my recommendation is to have a small pack of 500mg paracetamol to hand or even better a tidy Thai masseuse to ease you through the twisting pains in your neck.

As you become accustomed to your twirling adventure playground you’re introduced to new attacks and movement techniques. Basic kicks are a must have for everyone’s arsenal but soon you’ll learn to glide over the concrete like Torvill and Dean on skates, using Vita flicks to jump and clear out enemies who stand in your way. Attacks from the air go from basic flying kicks to three different special attacks that you can pick up as you pick up adventures from the world creator, Gade.

Gade, who has the power to suck you in through his belly and transport you to mystical lands, fills in some of Kat’s back story helping to piece together some of the other game’s characters and the Navi, who are your enemy. The Navi come in all different shapes and sizes with different attacks but when it boils down to it, they all have big shiny balls! And, if you kick them hard enough they’re sure to crumble (strange how the protagonist is female). Other than the minion Navi, Gravity Rush continually introduces you to new bosses who, apart from having shiny balls, all have different attack strengths and behaviour. Each one stronger than the last they’re challenging. More than once I’ve had to stop myself shouting things like  ‘Screw you Navi Bitch!’ on the train as I travel to and from work.

The storyline has some great twists and turns in it with characters you become attached to like Gade who I’ve mentioned already, and Raven, who’s a girl with similar powers to you with the same agenda but bearing that in mind and even though she doesn’t know you, she hates you! More than once you have to take part in what can only be explained as a bitchy cloakroom disagreement. Gravity Rush also tells the tale through video cutscenes but what I really loved was the slightly animated comics. The use of audio and moving your Vita to see more of the pictures drew me further into this title.

Graphically the game is brilliant. Yoshiaki Yamaguchi is the artist behind this excellent cell shading but what I love the most is the techniques used for draw distance. Distant buildings are just a shape and as you get close they get an outline, followed by some rough textures and once you get reasonably close you get the full whack of detail which looks great.  Background music moves from slightly irritating loops to dramatic music that adds to the whole ‘Screw you Navi Bitch!’ tension that I mentioned earlier.

An uncomplicated control system makes learning Gravity Rush that little bit simpler. Turn on your gravity skills via the right trigger, accelerate your movement and attack with the buttons. You can shake your funky gyroscope if you like to help move the picture around but I found it slightly obstructive. I was surprised to find that the rear touchscreen isn’t used but you can believe me when I say, I got over that quickly.

Other than my gyro-frustrations I must mention the load times. Some games have slow load times but Gravity Rush has levelled up when it comes to slow loads. There were some points through the game where I would momentarily forget what I was doing between scenes but the worst one had me almost turning the game off because I had lost interest. Hopefully there will be some patches to address this. Maybe they’ll appear with future downloadable content.







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