After finally picking this up during PlayStation Network’s Superhero Sale last week, I was able to play Gravity Rush Remastered, but is it worth purchasing again for the PS4? Most definitely.
And here’s the main reason. There was one major issue that plagued the original game on Vita: the small screen and the tilt controls. While playing it, I often felt sick by the gravity mechanics within the game and after facing a difficult boss near the end of the game, I stopped playing. However, with this version, that issue just disappeared. On the bigger screen, everything is more clear, manageable, and not once did I feel queasy. And now…I love this game.
The work that Bluepoint Games did on Gravity Rush is wonderful. They previously developed Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection and the Ico and Shadow of the Colossus Collection, and their experience shows as this game looks beautiful on the PS4 despite its Vita origin. Its Studio Ghibli-esque art style is just stunning and the world feels so alive with people walking around the town, aircrafts floating in the sky, and grand buildings to climb.
And the best thing about this? You can fly through it all. There are very few experiences out there in gaming that feel as satisfying as flying through the town of Hekseville. Gliding through the sky, occasionally avoiding enemies, and kicking enemies in the air just feels so good on the PS4, unlike in the Vita version, which, while impressive for the hardware, truly felt nauseous to play. At a few random times, the camera got stuck behind trees and other obstructions in the environment. It doesn’t happen often, but when it occurs, you can’t aim your strikes, and it can be frustrating.
Set in a floating city, Hekseville has recently become plagued by dark creatures called the Nevi. At the same time, two girls with strange animals can manipulate gravity, and Kat cannot remember anything that happened before.While the story has plenty of plot holes that are most likely going to be filled in the sequel, it kept me intrigued until the very end. The characters, despite the lack of voice acting, are compelling and Kat’s cheeky and naive personality is displayed well in the game.
On the other hand, the story itself is filled with happy accidents that is conveniently hidden by characters stating it’s her “destiny.” In this mostly lighthearted story, it’s quite a surprise what is happening at the end and what is said to Kat about her past, but I will leave it at that. Overall, this story, despite being simple in nature, was able to keep me intrigued to the final moments (to the point of having me finish this 8-10 hour game in 2-3 sittings, which is uncommon).
Before buying the game again on PS4, one of my main worries is whether the gameplay would be repetitive or not. While this will be based on your preference, the feeling of flying through the air and striking down the enemy never got old to me. The combat is flashy, the main combo on the ground is fast, and the special powers are fun to use. It’s simple in design, but for some reason, it just kept my interest. The main gameplay mechanic is to use gravity to get access to each Nevi’s weak point(s) or grab items/people and return them to their desired space. The variety of Nevi kept the game feeling fresh, but the bosses unlike the Vita version – perhaps due to the larger screen – were easy to defeat.
I only died about 3 times in the game, mostly because of a cheap design flaw from Raven, who sends flying orbs at you during a battle, and I swear…you cannot avoid them unless you’re lucky. When the fetch quests appear, I actually did not get bored from them as the flying mechanic is so interesting, solid and thrilling to play. There is also a currency system (in the form of crystals), which allows you to upgrade your skills and attributes, and this aspect of the game keeps the game interesting as well. The currency can be gained from collecting crystals from around the world or by completing challenges (which entail defeating a certain amount of enemies or racing against the timer).
Kohei Tanaka’s soundtrack for Gravity Rush is delightful to listen to. The sweeping strings and lovely accompaniment of the piano just makes this one of the best town themes ever released. It makes me feel like I’m home and ready for a grand adventure around Hekseville. The main battle theme stands out just as much with an upbeat melody and a wonderful composition of percussion and strings. Every time it comes on, I’m ready to fight some Nevi!
From the orchestral style of music of the Old Town to the jazzy theme of the Pleasure Quarter, Gravity Rush just sparks with such personality from its varying styles of music. It can be upbeat at parts and then when an emotional event occurs, Tanaka nails the specific mood down to a T. Despite a somewhat dull theme for the Industrial Zone (which to be honest, is pretty spot on from the location and the name), I can’t wait to hear his work for Gravity Rush 2.
Gravity Rush Remastered is the definition of why remasters should exist in the gaming landscape. What once was a messy handheld platformer turned into an outstanding showcase of gravity mechanics blended with wonderful art and music, thanks to the PS4. I always claimed that this game should be a console title and received a lot of flak for recommending it a few years back. Now I can say, I was correct and I’m glad this idea in the clouds was brought down to earth.