Something truly unique.
I like Sony. I like the PlayStation brand. I decide to support them, by picking up a PS Vita, a system attempting to breach a market dominated by Nintendo’s family of handhelds and a world of smart-phone and tablet gaming. It has controls like a console, but touch screen features like a tablet: the Vita, in other words, is a sort of “Metal Gear” between infantry and artillery, (MGS reference, yeeeees.)
Sorry. But it’s best to keep cheery when talking about the Vita. Whatever I read about the system online, it’s usually about flagging sales and too steep a price—how the Vita is in desperate need for a game to make purchasing a Vita worthwhile.
Enter Gravity Rush: a wonderful experiment of an open-world superhero sim and an art-house game. It’s a mix of things, much like the Vita itself—and it gets a lot more right in what we want as a videogame than wrong.
What does the game get right? Being brave and trying something different. The protagonist, Kat, is a sweet young girl who is followed around by a cat called Dusty. It’s a adorable. I am in every way confident in my masculinity, and I can say freely that it’s sweet seeing a superhero fly around a city being followed by a mystic cat hailing from the milky way. When Kat lands Dusty is right behind her, like Navi from Ocarina of Time (only a hell of a lot less annoying.) It’s both original and even touching, without becoming sugary sweet.
The game also nails aesthetic. I’ve just finished a school term in France, and the brick-laden architecture has somehow followed me from there into the game. The environments look wonderful, and Kat, as she’s falling through the air, is animated brilliantly. She’s a superhero who doesn’t fly; she falls. She’s young and as awkward as she is with her new powers as we are with the controls. Together, through the events of the game, we master them. By the end both the player and Kat are pros, even though she’s still just a girl who’d like to have a boyfriend. Again, it’s sweet.
The music deserves a special shout-out as well. Entirely composed, the game sports catchy and heart-pounding tunes, and its OST is good enough to be downloaded and listened to on its own. You know, for weddings and junk. Seriously though, the music is beautifully done. Hop onto youtube and see what I mean.
Not all is well, though. An area where the game stumbles is with its narrative. Gravity Rush (aside from having an awkward title) has a few of the worst, clichéd plot elements in any sort of writing. Kat begins the game with… amnesia. Oh God, it hurts to type it. Yes, can’t remember a thing, and as the narrative progresses thing slowly unfold—though the ending leaves plenty of room for open interpretation of a sequel. Which is fine. Have fun speculating like my friends and I did after watching “Prometheus.”
All in all, the game is good. Worthy of a purchase of the Vita? Maybe. Gravity Rush is a console experience designed for portable play—and it’s very well done. If you’re looking for something unique to kill a couple of rainy days with or a world you want to get lost in, sure—get this game. But if you’re already in possession of a Vita, you have no excuse. Go. Play this game so we can have more adventures with Kat and Dusty. Again, I’m waiting for the sequel.