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Gravity Rush Remastered review

Our Verdict

A superb action game that does far, far more than just depend on the novelty of gravity switching. It deserved so much more than to be ignored on Vita, and you simply must play it on PS4.

Pros

  • One of the best action games you've probably never played
  • Looks fantastic in HD and at 60fps
  • Impressive scale despite handheld origins
  • Gets better and better as it goes
  • The cat

Cons

  • Being upside-down can get confusing

There's a very good chance you haven't played Gravity Rush, so let me start by saying you really, really need to. It's a full-fat, open world, 21-chaptered action extravaganza that looks every bit the AAA home console game. Perhaps that home console would 'only' be a PS3, but the fact remains: Vita unfairly sidelined this brilliant game, and PS4 is its deserved home.

Again, raising questions about its suitability for a handheld launch title, it starts too slowly. As headstrong heroine Kat, you awaken with no memories in a strange town that appears to be in the middle of some otherworldly 'gravity storm' that's tearing buildings apart. There are also strange black creatures (reminiscent of Kingdom Hearts' Heartless) appearing and terrorising the locals.

Despite not knowing why any of this is happening, you begin to try restoring the broken city and rescuing its inhabitants. The plot gets much, much more interesting, thanks to a face-changing bad guy named Alias and several mysterious characters, but each revelation contributes greatly to your enjoyment of the game, so I shan't spoil them for you here.

All the while, you're being followed by a black cat whose fur looks like stardust (so you name him 'Dusty'), and it turns out Dusty's presence grants you the ability to shift gravity. Want to walk on the ceiling? Just point the camera there and push a button. Boom – you're walking on the ceiling.

Doesn't it miss Vita's controls?

Nope. If you tilt the DualShock 4, you can tilt the layered comic book cut-scenes, which is neither a bonus or a hindrance. As for the game itself, you play it with the sticks and buttons, like a proper game. And the lack of a touch screen simply doesn't matter. It just plays like a home console game.

The freedom afforded by that gravity shifting mechanic is fantastic. After the initial novelty of walking on the ceiling has subsided, you'll very rarely actually walk anywhere. Falling at speed in any direction you like in 3D space essentially equates to flying. And so you learn to fly, resetting the gravity to normal at just the right instant to let inertia carry you onto a rooftop, landing perfectly at the feet of the next mission-giver.

But it's in combat that the control system really shines. On foot, there's a hint of Bayonetta to it thanks to the similar town squares, smooth movement and dodge button backflips to avoid projectiles. But you really want to be getting in the air, at which point you'll be zipping around enemies, and homing in on their weak points with flying kicks. By the end it feels almost like a mech brawler like Zone of the Enders. But Gravity Rush has a distinct sense of identity and delivers all of its ideas in solid fashion.

As an HD remaster, it's exemplary. Naturally, the graphics are geometrically simpler than dedicated PS4 titles' environments, but the combination of cel-shading, cartoon-esque textures, and an abundance of very pretty bloom lighting makes for a great-looking game, especially now that it's running at a solid 60fps. I wouldn't even say its handheld origins make it look compromised. It looks stylised. There is some pop-in on NPCs and items, but mostly it's solid and assured.

The various sectors of the city are also huge, and one later section in particular has one of the grandest senses of scale I've ever seen in a game. Admittedly, sometimes you can tell an area is just full of enemies for busywork, but it's fun busywork. The core combat is so good, and there's so much scope for skilful play, this is a game you'll want to savour anyway.

Split into 21 chapters - each of which takes roughly half an hour – the main game is roughly 12-15 hours long. But that's just the core. Progression missions are clearly labelled, which means you can spend as much time as you like taking on optional side-quests, trying for better leaderboard positions on challenges, or hunting for every last purple gem to level up every area of Kat's abilities. The challenges are perhaps a little unbalanced by your ability to take them again later once you've levelled up, but they're always passable the first time you encounter them – it's up to you how much more effort you want to put in past the gold standard.

I think the most telling thing I can say is that I bought a Vita at launch and played Gravity Rush… but I didn't get very far. On PS4, it feels like a new game and I was utterly enthralled. So while a handheld title is never going to feel like a brand new PS4 game, Gravity Rush arguably feels more at home on PS4 than it did on Vita. So get it, and then get excited because there's a sequel coming soon.

More Info

GenreAction
DescriptionGravity Rush was the best game you could buy on PS Vita at launch, thanks to its gravity-bending mechanic that lets you move in any direction in its beautiful free-roaming world. And now it's been remastered for PS4.
PlatformPS4
Release date9 February 2016 (US), 9 February 2016 (UK)

The Verdict

4.5

4.5 out of 5

Gravity Rush Remastered

A superb action game that does far, far more than just depend on the novelty of gravity switching. It deserved so much more than to be ignored on Vita, and you simply must play it on PS4.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The longest-serving GR+ staffer, I was here when all this was just fields. I'm currently Reviews Editor but still find time to speedrun Sonic levels and make daft Photoshop articles.
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