When the Playstation Vita was finally released in the US, there were two main games that I knew I wanted to get: Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Gravity Rush (then Gravity Daze, the JP title). While Uncharted was ready to get into my hands on day one, Gravity Rush would be released later, and even later when it was delayed. However, it’s finally out and the only thing that’s been able to get me to put it down (other than having to leave for class) is a dead battery. Plain and simple, Gravity Rush is beautiful. It’s a title that looks like it should be on the PS3 and certainly deserves to be on the PS3. It is the most beautiful thing to fit in my pocket to date.
In Gravity Rush, you control Kat, a girl with the power to shift gravity thanks to her sparkly cat friend and who can remember nothing. The game starts you out waking up in the middle of a park, far below a town that, unknown to you, is being ripped apart by a gravity storm. After making it up and out of the park, it becomes clear that not only is the town being ripped apart, things have been that way. Oh, and you totally should have known that already. After all, you’re not a new face in town. But you don’t remember that. Of course, this introduction chapter also serves as the tutorial of the game. If you miss a bit of instruction, don’t worry too much as tips are repeated a lot through that game. Furthermore, the controls are rather simple: square to kick, cross to jump, R to shift gravity like crazy. More button combos do get added on as you progress through the game, but again, they’re very easy to master. And you’ll have plenty of time to learn the gravity controls especially.
If you try to walk through a world of Gravity Rush, well, good luck. They are huge. PS3 huge. They are also extremely easy to get lost in. There is a map that can be called up via Select, but it has very little detail and doesn’t account for multiple levels. If you get lost, cue up the map, set your navi to something and just fly straight up. However, you won’t always get a location on the map, just an arrow. In later levels with very short time limits, you might blurt out some colorful language about the pitiful map. Another pro tip: find as many sewer hatches as you can, warping is a godsend in Gravity Rush that will save you literally hours of flying around. In a way, it’s a lot like The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.
While being able to fly around endlessly in Gravity Rush‘s environment is insanely awesome, it can become disorienting. A quick tap of Up on the d-pad does help with that, but in a boss battle with only 10ish health left, again, the colorful language comes out. However, for the most part, zooming around town is pretty fluid in motion, but in battles with a lot of enemies all trying to shoot up your skirt, the frame rate can dip significantly. In large areas, there can also be a very brief, but noticeable, pause as the Vita loads a section of the map from the game card. Both of these issues could, however, likely be fixed or reduced with a game update.
Overall, Gravity Rush is a definite must-try for the Vita. It’s packed full of hours of gameplay and simply amazing graphics for a portable game. While it does very much show off what the Vita can do, it does so less in the way Uncharted does (here, let me boost you up the screen up flicking up.) Gravity Rush also supports DLC, however the missions are a bit disappointingly short and appear to really exist more for the extra costumes (although I’ll stick with the school uniform). Gravity Rush isn’t perfect as it does have a few less than wonderful “features” (there are actually some rather nasty bugs you can hit), but it is nonetheless a truly remarkable game. Gravity Rush gets a 4/5 and a recommend buy. Game of the Year for Vita will be a very tough choice between Gravity Rush and Uncharted.