And flashy signature pictures for us so our blog posts look less empty and so it’s easier for you to identify us! Yay! False enthusiasm!
But yeah, that aside… SCIENCE! Isaac Newton, inventor of gravity, did a great job! Without his help we would still float around helplessly in a world without something that keeps us on the ground. Why couldn’t Adam and Eve do this much earlier? They had the apples and the opportunity. Ah, but I bet their overprotective father didn’t want them to do something useful instead of loitering around and not doing anything like the lazy snobs they were.
*cough* So, today’s game is all about gravity. Prototype 2 is an open-world action-adventure ga- … No, it’s InFamous 2, was it? Assassin’s… Creed? … Oh, that’s right, Gravity Rush. Says it right in the title, silly me. Gravity Rush (or Gravity Daze in Japan – though the katakana could also mean Gravity Days which would make a lot of sense actually… maybe the wordplay is intended?) is an open-world action-adventure game for the PS Vita that uses most of the device’s mechanics and was released a few weeks ago.
Before we talk about the game itself, let’s talk about the very existence of the game first. It was developed by SCE Japan Studio, basically the first-party developer for Sony, together with Project Siren, the development team under Keiichiro Toyama (who created the very first Silent Hill). Finally a new original game for the PS Vita, it was most anticipated and well received in general. And unfortunately, it reminded me of an undeniable fact: the Vita lacks games you get sucked into, games you want to take with you (that’s what handheld systems are about, after all). And that’s bad, very bad. Sure, the system is still young, and those games will come, but if no one gets attracted by the system right now, will those games even be made? Unless they are made by Sony’s first-party developers? Just a little thought that crossed my mind.
But back to the game!
The story can be explained very easily: You are a girl (later known as Kat) that awakens in the city of Hekseville, without any memories, without any clue who she is – except for a small black cat. Kat learns she has the power to manipulate the gravity surrounding herself, and uses the power to help people. Just how people always are in these stories, they hate Kat and her powers, and misunderstand her intentions greatly. As Kat is a nice person, she doesn’t really mind and forgives them for being the stupid assholes they are. Oh, and she fights against shadow creatures called Nevi that terrorize tha village, by the way (something one easily forgets in this game, because they are just so bland). Shortly after she finds out about a girl with the same powers she has, helps a policeman in peril, soon forgets her priorities (saving the world can wait, aye?), starts her search for the man of her destiny (as predicted by a totally not intimidating puppet who is totally not voiced by the fortuneteller in the same room, I swear), and builds her own home… in the sewers. Because she has no money.
So yeah, this is not your typical “hero goes and saves the world”-story, at least not yet. Instead of swearing an oath to rid the world of all evil, she really just keeps stumbling into the worst situations possible and fights her way out.
Saying this brings me to an important remark on the story. Oh, if you want to avoid spoilers, you should probably skip this part? You have been warned. After finishing the game, we realize we never found out who Kat really is or where she came from, something that appears to bother some people. But I know this: this story was never about finding out her identity, and I’m sure even Kat herself would agree. It was about her newly established life, about her growth, about her personailty. The friends she made, the enemies she fought. The past wouldn’t matter to this friendly girl anymore. All that mattered in the end, was the present, and the safety of Hekseville. At least that’s my opinion, but I guess one could interpret it differently.
The world you are moving around in is an open town with three new districts unlocked one after another in the story, three dungeons filled with enemies, and another kind of town you shouldn’t even know about yet. The design of the town itself can be described with three words: STEAMPUNK SOVIET RUSSIA. You think I’m kidding? Play the game through to the end, you will see what I mean. Also, in Soviet Russia, gravity is pulled by you! … (Sorry, this had to be done.)
Despite the town being an open-world region you can explore, there isn’t really much you can do. Between the story missions you have the opportunity to do challenge missions to receive crystals needed to level your abilities (much like in Prototype actually, now that I think about it), and talk to certain people to find out about the town’s circumstances. But that’s about it. The design is really amazing and beautiful, so it’s kind of a shame that you aren’t driven to explore it by the game itself. The only sort of “collectibles” are a pair of hidden people you have to find in each district and each dungeon in order to learn their story and obtain a trophy, and manholes that help you travel from one part of Hekseville to another.
The gameplay can very well be described as somewhat unique because it uses the motion functions of the Vita, but it’s not something that can’t be done on another system. It also takes a bit of practice. During your anti-gravitation flight, you control the camera by either moving the Vita or the right control stick, aiming at enemies you want to attack with your Gravity Kick or special attacks, or at buildings or structures you want to land on. If you picked up objects with your anti-gravity field, you can also throw them at enemies. At first you will always think about whether to use the Vita or the right stick to control the camera and get confused, but soon enough you will get used to it and naturally use both controls for optimal targeting adjustment.
On the ground (or walls or wherever you are), you will use a one-button combo that extends every time you use crystals to level it. By swiping the screen you can dodge enemy attacks (this also works in the air) and get the chance to follow up with a counter attack. I was sceptical in the beginning if swiping the screen was really the most efficient way, but everything worked out really quick. As I said before, everything will naturally come to you sooner or later.
I almost forgot: by pressing both the right and left corners of the screen, you will be able to surf on the ground making it much easier to get around faster (even though you will be flying around most of the time).
Basically, Grapefruit Dash is a great game. But before I get to the rating, I have one last thing to add to my review: This game… is way too short. In fact, I got the platinum trophy in only three days. Received the game on June 18th, got the trophy on June 20th. This turns out to be a huge problem for me in terms of rating this game, because I usually look for games with a much longer playtime, for I want my money to be well spent. And for me, thsi game was way too short! However, I can’t deny that playing this creative and refreshing game was a great (and partially challenging!) experience, so I feel torn-apart about this whole thing! If it would have been longer, the story would have suffered too, I’m sure!
I’m in despair!!! Gravity Rush has left me in despair!!!
*pant* *wheeze* I-In the end, I recommend this game for the experience itself. However, I won’t give this game a rating because it’s simply not possible for someone like me. You read my review, you can judge by yourself if you deem it worthy of being bought at it’s full price, or if you want to wait for a price drop. I remind you: it took me three days to do everything possible in this game. So when you consider playing it, take your time. Cheers.