It’s always fun when they port your old favourites to the latest generation of consoles. Sometimes it works, but for the most part you’re stuck with graphics only a fanatic would love.
Gravity Rush, Sony Japan’s action-adventure which took advantage of all the fun control mechanics of the PS Vita, now finds itself on the big screen. This is Gravity Rush Remastered, a story about Kat (and her cat) trying to work out where they are.
Kat has no memories. She doesn’t know she has gravity-defying superpowers. She can’t work out why she is the only character wearing a bathing costume and cape while everyone else on-screen is in winter attire… okay, maybe that last point was us.
Ergo, Gravity Rush, as the game’s name suggests, is all about twisting the space around you, turning any surface into a floor if you will.
Wall walking (or jumping) flips the environment into a tripped-out new perspective which, for example, helps if you’re trying to chase a bird (Kat, not the cat, who we’ll now refer to as Dusty to avoid any further confusion) or rescue a young boy from a swirling, whirling gravity storm that’s reaching out to thwart anything in its path.
You see, Kat is a gravity shifter. and while the townsfolk are quite wary of her powers at first, eventually the little do-gooder rescue missions she takes on win their trust. It’s all about reputation, something which clearly isn’t based on the fact that she isn’t wearing a lot of clothing.
Kat is almost like Supergirl, or Jessica Jones, in a whimsical game world that’s falling apart around her. She’s grounded (ha!) but confident which is surprising when you consider her amnesiac situation.
Gravity Rush Remastered looks and plays like a comic book. From the cel-shaded graphics to cutscenes where the conversation is essentially a storyboard of angry-looking characters with speech bubbles, it works well.
The best panel conversations often happen between Kat and Dusty. Kat will ask Dusty a question to which she will purr or meow in response.
Yet, Kat never seems to come to the realisation that her furry, but oh-so-magical sidekick who may sparkle like the night sky (no, we’re not being wordy, she is an outline of a cat that’s coloured in black with white shimmering bits) doesn’t have the answers to her big life questions. In this way, Kat is kinda just like every other crazy cat lady.
The city Kat finds herself in is as gorgeous as it is mysterious. It’s fun to float around in and watch it change as the gymnastics-loving protagonist does her thing. There are even otherworldly environments later on (no spoilers please – ed) that are dreamlike and visually spectacular.
There’s also a gem-collecting element to the gameplay, which translates to upgrades, combat changes, environment fixer-uppers, outfits and the like.
That said, the plot is a mundane. The characters, one-dimensional and the missions (story, side and challenge) chore-like. They’re mostly repetitive fetch quests, all about honing Kat’s skills, which are actually not that tough to master, and talking to dull NPCs.
An hour into the game and you’ll be all-too used to her movements and be flying around like Tinkerbell, or falling to the ground because of buggy camera behaviour.
The combat in Gravity Rush Remastered is also nothing new. Even with the fanciful perspective-bending atmosphere jumps and slides, a lot of it ends up being straight-forward kicks to bizarre looking creatures called Nevi on the ground and in the air.
Gravity Rush Remastered is formulaic but pretty to look at. Original in some ways, but not always exciting to play. It works well in 1080p high-res and will definitely hold your interest for a while (and, if Sony Japan has their way, cultivate some enthusiasm for Gravity Rush 2 which they’re currently hard at work on).
So if you’re attracted to JRPGs or comic books, this 10-hour anime-esque adventure isn’t a bad one to get your hands on. However, if you played it on PS Vita and are expecting something extra to go along with those polished graphics, don’t. There is nothing new to see here.
- Gravity Rush: Remastered was reviewed on a PS4. A retail copy was provided by the publisher.