|System: PS Vita|
|Dev: SCE Japan Studio|
|Release: June 12, 2012|
|Screen Resolution: 544p||Fantasy Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol|
The game uses cel-shaded visuals, which fits the comic book storytelling and allows for some exaggerated facial expressions. Considering the medium, there is great detailing in both the backgrounds and the characters, but the stonework-heavy scenery is very bland in the color department. The reds, tans, and grays have been almost completely washed out, dulling any life that could have been given to the world. Even the sporadic trees have faded green hues that make the world feel dull.
The enemies, called the Nevi, are very primal in nature, formed as black gelatinous masses with red cores (the cores being your target for attacks). I cannot help being remind of the Heartless from Kingdom Hearts, and would have liked a little more solidity here.
Finally, the draw distance is very limited, and considering how fast you can zip through the air, getting your bearings can be a tricky affair. But despite all these little grievances, it's still the best-looking title I have seen on the Vita. It must require a lot of hardware power, because Gravity Rush will quickly suck the battery life from your system.
I have one minor audio criticism: Although the game was designed first and foremost for the Japanese audience—and it does have good English subtitles—it would have been nice to have seen localized voice work rather than translated Japanese dialogue. But this is trumped by possibly the best orchestrations I have heard in any game (and I take extreme pride in exceptional musical work in any video game). From the first solo piano alluding to Kat's initial loneliness to the wonderful string work as you explore the city, and even the crescendos when engaging in battle, the soundtrack is simply impeccable. The music streams fluidly as you move from each section of the city and from exploration into missions, all fitting together perfectly.
There are a couple other complaints you should be aware of. The load times are excessive, especially when doing multiple attempts of a challenge mission. Also, disrupting gravity around innocent bystanders will cause them to be flung over the sides of the city and down to their deaths far beneath the clouds, and the game doesn't discriminate for children or even pets. This just seems beyond careless for a heroine who takes pride in helping people, yet it's an inevitability in the gameplay that you're forced to accept.
Gravity Rush is by no means a perfect game. Though it doesn't feel like a rushed production, many of the controls and other design choices might not have been given the proper discretion prior to the game's launch. Yet despite my scrutinizing eye, I am still anxious to delete my quick playthrough file and comb every inch of Hekseville with a new adventure, just me, Kat, and Dusty. It may not be the best title on a growing list of Vita games, but if you're looking for something new and engaging for your Sony handheld right now, Gravity Rush is definitely one to pick up.
Date: June 13, 2012