Review – Gravity Rush

Having to save money for my next trip to Japan, I couldn’t get my PSVita at launch. I wanted it badly though, and Gravity Daze (as it is know in Japanese) was the reason. As soon as I got th Vita, I went straight to the import shop.

Undoubtly the most anticipated title of Sony’s new system, Gravity Rush is actually more than that. SCEJ’s game introduces some revolutionary gameplay : you can change gravity at your liking and thrust yourself in whichever direction, walk on walls or ceilings, or make objects or other characters float in the air. Despite those numerous possibilities, the controls are surprisingly effective and respond prefectly. You will be able to do the craziest things in less than 30 seconds, having immediate fun searching the vast districts of Hekserville. The only problem lies in some tricky battle phases, in which camera issues can surface (since you sometimes have to re-center it every 10 seconds). Gravity Rush still feels especially great to play, also because of the freedom it offers.

Graphics and design is also what makes Gravity Rush so attractive. You can really feel the power of the Vita : the architecture is incredibly detailed and the animations remarkably fluid. The general design is unrivaled and, added to a quite well-thought cel-shading, definitely gives Gravity Rush a strong and unique artistic personality, a curious mix between Tim Burton and a shonen manga. The drawing style is actually inspired by French-Belgium comics (the chapter titles are en français dans le texte). Backgrounds and characters, extremely detailed when close, morphs in some line drawing by a kind of tessellation process. The sound environment is quite immersive and relevant. I would have given full marks for the game techs if loading times hadn’t been so… damn… long…

Despite its immense world, Sony’s hit is not as rich as I hoped. It took me one week to complete, including all the challenges missions and the optional bosses (didn’t get Platinum though). The main scenario is not really long and the various chapters are of unequal interest, the story does not end in something really coherent. The game is also fairly easy : your enemies aren’t very agressive and you have plenty of checkpoints. You can also keep doing insane acrobatics without being penalised : Kat hit the grounds in a horrible bone-cracking sound but gets up on her feets without a scratch. While I do think the continuous flow in the gameplay is a plus, a 100-yards freefall should hurt a little, and it would have only made it more juicy. However, optional bosses are much harder to bat and will require you to master your character and use a little bit of strategy. Besides that, there are only small challenges and gem collecting. It’s a bit like the first Assassin’s Creed : a big open world but not much inside. Most of NPCs don’t say a thing, the game isn’t dubbed at all (characters talk in a strange language close to Russian) and the only sidequest is about fiding a couple lost in time and space. This challenge is quite interesting, but it’s the only thing that makes the exploration worthwhile (the gem collecting can be addictive too if you intend to get the trophy). Nevertheless, I did expect more from a system that could clearly offer a much wider array of possibilities.

Revolutionary in many aspects, it’s a shame that SCEJ’s title sould be so short and limited. Gravity Rush is nonetheless one of the most innovative games in years, the kind that any Japanese gaming fan has to try out.

/!\ DLC UPDATE /!\

DLC1 – Spy pack

Features varied and rather difficult challenges. You’ll have to infiltrate a group of thugs in order to stop them for disturbing the peace of the recreational zone. After that, you face a mysterious terrorist who plants bombs one after another, and Kat enters a race against time to diffuse them. Very interesting scenario with a surprising conclusion!

DLC2 – Special Forces pack

Not that good. The storyline is flat (Kat enrolls the self-defense forces) and the difficulty is uneven. The slide race is terrible and painfully difficult.

DLC3 – Maid pack

The best one! It’s extremely easy, but the story is hilarious. Kat gets hired as a maid by some mean lady, who is later suspected to have murdered her husband. A thrilling investigation by maid Kat!

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