Gravity Rush Review – Dive-Kicking Superhero Fun

Many years ago, I played the original Gravity Rush on the PS Vita. I remember having a good time with it, but I ended up forgetting pretty much every detail. I’ve owned Gravity Rush 2 for a while and I’m interested in playing it, but I wanted to refresh my memory of the first game before hopping into the sequel. So I downloaded Gravity Rush Remastered on the PS4. I was able to beat the game in only two days. So, here is my review.

Gravity Rush is a game developed by Team Gravity of Sony’s Japan Studio. In this game, you take control of the amnesiac protagonist Kat, and explore the steampunk style floating cities of Hekseville, which are supported by a giant pillar in the middle called the World Pillar. You can traverse these cities with your gravity shifting powers, which are given to you by a black cat named Dusty. As you explore, you find the floating cities of Hekseville are being attacked by these mysterious monsters called the Nevi, which appear out of gravity storms, a supernatural phenomenon capable of sucking in matter like a black hole. It’s up to you to protect the people from the Nevi, and restore the missing parts of the cities swallowed up by the storm.

It’s a unique set up and the world design is very interesting for a game. Through fantastic world building, and a cast of fun and charming characters, Gravity Rush is able to engross you in its world and story. Our energetic protagonist Kat is a joy to journey with, as she exudes so much personality. The game makes you feel as if you were a superhero, or a magical girl, maybe a mix of both. You become more popular as you help the citizens of Hekseville, becoming the talk of the town, and having newspaper stories being written about you. It helps to sell that you aren’t simple an inhabitant of this world, but a vital and active participant in it, who’s actions affect the lives of everyone in it.

Some of the scenes in the game are told through manga/ comic book like segments, which look great and add an extra level of flavor to a game already brimming with style. Some parts of the story are also told through visual novel like segments, and occasionally a traditional 3D animated cutscene.

The story of the game is surprisingly interesting, if a bit unusual in its presentation. The plot almost never advances because of some important event calling Kat to action, but instead because she just felt like doing something one day and it led to interesting things happening. This allows you to take the game at your own pace, so you can explore the world and do side content in between story chapters without it feeling like you’re interrupting something important. The content of the story has some interesting ideas, combining the supernatural happenings of Hekseville with a political plot happening in the background. While the story does manage to resolve this background plot, many details about the world and the overall story are left in the air. Hopefully these plot points will be addressed in the sequel, but as it stands, Gravity Rush is still an interesting and well written story, even if a bit simple.

There are also some side missions in the dlc, which is a part of the Remastered version. They aren’t amazing side stories, but they do add a bit more depth to the world of Gravity Rush, so it’s still worth playing, and will give you access to cute costumes for Kat.

The gameplay is another area where this game shines. The combat involves using kicks to target the weak points of the Nevi to kill them. You can do a normal kick on the ground, but the most effective way of fighting involves using your gravity shifting powers. By moving the camera around, you can aim in the direction you want gravity to shift you. By pressing the attack button, you can do a gravity dive kick in that direction, which you’ll be using to target the Nevi weak points.

You also get access to a few other powers to fight them. Kat has a drill like attack, the ability to throw many projectiles at once, and she can create a gravity field around her that hits all enemies nearby. All these abilities are on a shared timer. Use one of these attacks, and you’ll need to wait a while before you can use another. Enemies can be on the ground, in the air, on the sides of buildings, and basically any surface. If you land on a surface using your gravity powers, that surface can become a walkable surface where you can engage in ground combat. The controls for everything are simple and intuitive, so you shouldn’t have any issues using all your abilities.

One thing you should make note of is the floating objects. You can use gravity shifting to go in the direction of objects floating in the air. Those objects can be purple, which is the material used to upgrade your powers. Green, which restores your health. And blue, which restores the gravity gauge, so you can shift for a longer period of time.

Enemy variety in the game isn’t super varied, but considering how short the game is, it’s not a big deal. I still enjoyed fighting Nevi, although I really hate those stupid swordfish enemies. Those STUPID SWORDFISH!

Gravity is also your main method of traversing the world. Using gravity shifting, or the fun gravity sliding mechanic, which lets you move across a surface like an ice skater, you will be able to basically go anywhere. The cities of Hekseville are so interestingly designed, making it fun to explore every nook and cranny for purple gems. The cities use elevation to create a labyrinth like world that’s exciting to lose yourself in. I frequently went under the city to search for gems. It’s worth exploring as gems are everywhere, and they are very important for upgrading your character, whether it be strengthening your attacks and powers, or increasing the duration and speed of gravity shifting. The gravity mechanic can also make the game a bit silly at times, as using it will carry anyone nearby, which will cause the good citizens of Hekseville to be yeeted across the map. It’s very silly, but It’s a nice touch that adds more personality to the game.

The game also has optional side content. Even if you are a story focused person like myself, I would still suggest doing them. There are challenges all over Hekseville which give gems as a reward. Some challenges are time trials using your gravity abilities to reach the goal. Others are challenges to beat as many Nevi as possible in the time limit. There is also one that involves picking up objects or people with your stasis power. I did find some of the challenges to be a bit frustrating, especially the ones involving the stasis ability, an ability to pick up objects or people with your gravity powers and fling them. I generally found this power unfun and frustrating to use. But you don’t need to get a gold medal on every challenge, so I recommend just trying each challenge once or twice for the rewards before moving on.

Using the game’s mechanics, the story will sometimes change the way you play. Sometimes there are stealth segments. Sometimes there are escort missions. Sometimes some of your abilities will be limited. And sometimes there are special requirements to advance the plot forward. This spices up the gameplay and keeps it fresh. But there are some parts where it could be annoying. A good example is in one of the dlc chapters which involved a bit of firefighting. Let’s just say I hated that mission… a lot.

The game is really good from a quality of life standpoint. Everything is marked on the map. Interesting conversations, challenges, side chapters, transportation, and main story chapters. If you set a destination, the game will point you in the exact direction you need to go. You should never truly be lost. The menus are simple and easy to read and are very stylish. You shouldn’t have any trouble traversing the menus. If I could complain about one thing, I wish I could save anywhere. It’s not a huge deal if you get interrupted in the middle of play as autosaves are generous, but I would prefer the ability to save anywhere. Maybe the creators just really want us to have a reason to go back to Kat’s home inside of a sewer pipe.

The visuals of Gravity absolutely shine, showing that art direction is more important than graphical fidelity. The steampunk setting of Hekseville is gorgeous. It’s interesting in so many ways, from the world design to its smart use of the color palette. It’s not super colorful, but its art style allows everything to pop. Each city is given a distinct flair. The mechanical industrial vibe of Endestria sharply contrasts with the neon lights of entertainment district, Pleajeune.

One really unique thing the game does with its graphics is muting the colors of things far into the background. I’m not sure if this helps the game run more smoothly, but seeing the outline of locations far away from where you are just looks cool, and entices me to want to go closer to see what was in the distance.

Other aspects of the visual design look great, such as the UI, and the manga/comic book sections. Animations are great in battle and in cutscenes. Character designs are unique and distinct from each other. Although enemy designs can get a bit repetitive. All of them are basically black blobs in different shapes with distinct red cores to strike. They could have done a bit more with enemy designs.

The graphical upgrade in the PS4 version of Gravity Rush does allow it to stand out even more compared to the vita version, which already looked great. Overall, the visuals of the game are simply fantastic, and it’s exactly what I look for in games.

Sound is something that disappointed me a bit. Voice acting is done in a made up language. I assume this was done to give the world its own unique flair, but I would prefer a plain old English voice cast. Most scenes in the game aren’t voiced though, which is also a bit disappointing. A fully voiced game in a made up language would be better than the bare minimum the game has. At least Kat’s voice actor sounds pretty good. Love her screams when she does her ultimate attack in boss fights.

Music is also something I wasn’t too fond of. It wasn’t bad or anything. It was serviceable, but not much really stood out to me. There were a few catchy tunes such as the one that plays in the entertainment district, but overall, I wasn’t impressed.

Gravity Rush is a game I had a blast playing. It was short, but I greatly enjoyed the time I spent with it. The pacing is great and makes use of the 10 or so hours it takes to beat the game. From its visual style to its fun gravity shifting gameplay, it ended up being a pleasant experience all around. It’s not a mind-blowing experience in any way, but its flaws are minimal, and its core strengths shine throughout. Gravity Rush is a very easy game to recommend, so I would recommend this game to almost anyone.

Score – 8

Pros

  • Beautiful Visuals
  • Exploration
  • Interesting Story Ideas

Cons

  • Boring Music
  • Lack of Voice Acting
  • Stasis Ability

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