Gravity Rush first made its appearance on the PS Vita back in 2012, and it was dubbed one of the best games you’ve never played. It featured a gravity-shifting lass named Kat in her adventures in the fictional town of Hekseville. In time for the sequel due later this year, we have a PS4 HD remaster of the game, so I got my gravity going to find out how it matches up with the original.
It’s a …Rush
For those of you who haven’t played it yet, Gravity Rush follows the adventures of a girl named Kat, who wakes up in an unfamiliar environment without any memory of who she is or why she’s there. She is accompanied by a black cat named whom she names Dusty, and it’s this association with Dusty that earns her the name Kat. She soon discovers that, with Dusty alongside her, she has the power to control gravity, allowing her to fling herself in any direction she chooses, or even walk along walls. Technically, any time she’s flying through the sky she’s actually falling. It soon becomes apparent that the people of Hekseville are being troubled by mysterious dark creatures called Nevi, and it’s up to Kat to fight off the menace, while uncovering the mystery of the Nevi as well as her own past.
Personally, I absolutely loved the game the first time I played it on the PS Vita. The controls were brilliant, the story was amazing, and the gravity-based combat was great fun to play. There was also a lot to do and explore, and Hekseville has more hidden nooks and niches than a haunted mansion. As my regular readers will know, I absolutely love games that reward exploring, and Gravity Rush is eager to reward the adventurous player.
What’s new, Pussycat?
The PS4 remake obviously looks a great deal better than its portable counterpart: textures are far more detailed, as is the draw distance, and the game plays at a full 60fps all the way. Kat has also been given a graphical upgrade, looking less anime and more 3D cel shaded than before. The cut-scenes have also been re-rendered with the higher-grade graphical artillery, so there’s no real distinction between gameplay and cut-scene. The game still has the same, delightful 3D comic panels that explain its plot at the start of each chapter, and the artwork looks gorgeous in full HD.
The biggest boost the game gets, however, is to the control system. The dearth of controls on the PS Vita made a certain number of the missions and battles feel like a complete chore, especially towards the last quarter of the game where the tougher foes appeared. However, the DualShock 4 has more than enough to emulate the Vita and then some. For example, dodging on the Vita was mapped to a physical swipe on the screen, but a simple tap on the R2 button with a movement on the control stick, and suddenly the control feels more fluid. Of course, if you DID prefer the swipe, you can still do that on the touchpad. Personally, I loved the motion controls on the Vita version, because I was more able to fine-tune my direction that way. The DualShock 4’s gyro serves the same—if slightly less precise—function, but you’re free to use the right stick if you prefer.
Since it’s still the same game beneath the glitzy exterior, the same problems hit the remaster. Combat starts to wear shallow toward the end of the game, and the plot can be a little on the thin side. The frustrating thing was that you could see hints of real depth to things, and I felt it was one of the few games that truly needed a proper sequel to expand on the ideas and philosophies that Gravity Rush touched on. So it’s with a big “huzzah” that my prayers are answered! More on that when I get my hands on the sequel, though!
And in the end…
Honestly, Gravity Rush is a brilliant platformer, and if you didn’t manage to snag it for free on PlayStation Plus a few years back, now’s your chance. I found it a much more enjoyable experience this time around with the new controller, and the improved visuals and performance definitely make a difference, especially during the more frenetic battles. Oh, and bonus: the HD remaster includes all three DLC packs from the original, making it a very compelling purchase indeed.