Platform: PS Vita
Gravity Rush is unlike anything else you're likely to have
played ever before. One part platformer, one part action game, one
part adventure and ninety parts awesome, Gravity Rush isn't just a
mash of genres but a mash of styles and one hell of a game.
There's something to be said for originality, and it's something that the Vita promises in spades. With touch screens, cameras, motion control and a stunning OLED it's the potential of what the console itself can bring to game development that makes it's so attractive to hardcore gamers around the world.
Where the 3DS is reliant on massive Nintendo franchises (and is booming because of it), the only real innovation is the 3D effect, and even that is being pushed to the sideline for Super Mario 18 or Dragon Quest 47.
But the Vita can and should be different. As much as it will sell with close to pixel perfect ports of the major franchises its games like Gravity Rush that the console exists for. Games that challenge the meaning and definition of the medium itself, doing things that no other game has before, and while it's far from perfect, it's already the most innovative game of the year, by A MILE.
Gravity Rush is set in the floating world of Hekesville. A town that exists like a dream. Broken and incomplete like its inhabitants, the world is a fractured memory of a time when things were whole and the world was at peace.
Hekesville exists now under constant attack by evil creatures known as the Nevi and their gravity-based storms, Hekesville is a world in need of a hero. As chance may have it the unlikeliest of heroes is thrown, amnesia and all, into the world and is the only hope they have of righting what once went wrong.
Kat, the memory-challenged heroine, is a quirky, clumsy, naïve and compelling lead that encapsulates so much of what Gravity Rush has to offer. Incredibly unique and with buckets of personality, Kat is befriended by a magical, gravity-controlling cat and slowly learns the secrets of both her and Hekesville's past.
Constantly under threat from the mysterious Nevi, Kat is given scant time to get her bearings before being thrust into the upside down world of gravity manipulation. Initially awkward and purposefully confusing, the ability to manipulate Kat's gravity takes a little bit of time to get used to, but SCE Japan has made the controlling of Kat and her movement intuitive enough that almost everyone can feel like a seasoned gravity pro in no time.
Once players get used to the intricacies of the gravity movement they'll be able to throw Kat off buildings and hurl her around the glorious Hekesville skyline at ease. The key to Gravity Rush isn't that Kat is flying, but more that she is being propelled in almost every direction, with subtlety and force able to be used in equal measures.
Kat and her star-infused feline pal soon find themselves helping out random strangers, and being compelled to fight of the Nevi and heal the world. As you progress through Gravity Rush more powers, enemies, parts of the city's and stonking surprises lay in store. At no point during the epic narrative does the game becomes stale as Sony have managed to make the storyline as compelling as the gravity powers themselves.
As the battles and enemies become more intense and the world itself larger, Kat becomes a professor of gravity and learns copious new skills to help combat the increasingly difficult challenges. But the game has a great, compelling learning curve that makes Kat feel just powerful enough to continue the fight, without her being so overpowered to become a God.
The SCE Japan has mentioned frequently of their admiration for the Xbox 360 classic Crackdown and it shows in some of the design of Gravity Rush. Where that game provided skills and powers that feel just so damn right, so does the evolution of Kat as a character and a heroine; providing a beautiful heart at the middle of this beautiful upside down world.
Mention has to be made of the gorgeous cell-shaded world that Gravity Rush hurls at the player. Going straight from reviewing the drab Resistance Burning Skies environments into the eye-popping world of Hekesville is a huge leap forward and a great indication of the power behind the Vita.
The new control schemes of the Vita fit in perfect with the design elements of Gravity Rush. Gravity manipulation is turned on and off with the shoulder buttons, angling the Vita itself helps aim Kat through the environments and even the cut scenes feature touch control to move through the pages like a novel.
It's hard not to gush about Gravity Rush, it's rare that a game this unique comes along, but it's even rarer still that games like this reach as many people as they should. While gamers are playing through yet another Call of Duty clone or returning to race through another Need for Speed, its titles like Gravity Rush that truly deserve attention, but can sometimes slip through the cracks.
If you own a Vita, don't even hesitate to buy Gravity Rush, it's really that simple. And for those of you yet to jump onto Sony's portable powerhouse, it's time to start saving, because when gaming's as good as this, it's a rush!