Although I’m still early into the game, I’ve had a chance to play GR for a few hours now and decided to write down my impressions of the game so far (I’m on Chapter 7 right now).
Graphics: It’s not the best looking game from a raw horsepower point of view because of its jaggies, but the art direction, animation, and art style are all top notch. I love the look they went for here. Its cell shaded euro-anime look is great and the comic book panel cutscenes are very well done. The use of the gyroscope to be able to manipulate the comic book panels was a nice touch as well.
The framerate is rock solid and the game does look very pretty, can’t ask for much more.
Gameplay: The way this game uses gravity as a gameplay mechanic is pretty great. It’s not super graceful, and it’s not meant to be considering Kat doesn’t really know how to use her powers all that well. I like that flying from place to place is a little bit clunky by design. The controls during flight feel unique and non-conventional and I like the use of the gyroscopes to aim. I find myself doing the same thing I did in Uncharted: Golden Abyss where I aim the camera with the R stick for most of the aim and then use the gyroscope the rest of the way to fine tune my aim. Most of the gravity stuff feels satisfying once you get the hang of it and when you level up your powers. Gravity kicking from bad guy to bad guy feels pretty rewarding as well. You have minimal control over Kat during her actual flight, but you can stop her in mid air and change directions. I applaud SCEJ for trying something different with this game. It really gives it a unique feel.
The City: Being able to fly anywhere really makes you want to explore the city. There are a lot of nice details and architecture…not to mention gems you can collect to level up your character. You can also unlock challenges by helping to repair the city.
I’ve found the challenges to be a lot of fun although I’m holding off on trying to get gold medals in all of them until I completely level Kat up. It seems almost necessary, since I’m coming nowhere near the top goal. At least this will give the game some longevity as I get closer to beating it (I still have a while to go).
Music: The music is pretty great. It matches the visuals and mood of the game really well and there are more than a few tracks that I’ve really enjoyed so far.
Characters/Plot: I’m really enjoying the characters/story although it’s a little thin so far. One of the things I like so far is that this game totally brings the whimsy. It’s light hearted fun, and the game doesn’t take itself too seriously. It does seem like they are planting seeds, building up to when Kat finds out what’s going on. Until then, I’m having fun going with the flow.
Camera: It seems to me like right stick control of the camera can get a bit unwieldy at times. Some of it has to do with me not being used to how sensitive the right stick on the Vita can be (although I am finally adjusting to it a bit), but another reason is because the camera movement speed is way too high by default. I ended up lowering it by quite a bit to get to a point where I felt comfortable with it.
The camera also gets a little wonky if you are flying in tight spaces. Almost every game that allows you this kind of freedom of movement (namely every Spider-man game) has had this same problem so I find it hard to really take Gravity Rush to task on it. It’s something you kind of have to work with, but it’s not a deal breaker.
Positioning During Combat: The one problem I have with gravity kicking dudes is how your flow can be completely ruined. After you gravity kick an enemy, the force of the kick makes Kat sort of backflip backwards after the attack. This is actually pretty useful because you can aim your next kick while shes doing this and then go right into another gravity kick. When done right, it feels really good and gives you a nice sense of control.
The problem is that sometimes you go backwards and end up behind a lamp post or water fountain. This breaks up the momentum you have going in because you will either kick the object instead when you attempt the kick or you have to fly to the side a little bit and completely preposition yourself.
This becomes particularly more frustrating with certain enemies that take more than one gravity kick to dispatch. I found myself getting frustrated when I aimed the first kick and then ended up behind a lamp post and couldn’t follow through with the second kick…leading to me having to re-position myself and have to find a different angle where his weak spot wasn’t concealed.
This doesn’t happen every time, and as you upgrade your gravity kick I’ve found it a little easier to avoid this, but it’s still a valid complaint. I just thought of using the dodge manuveur to get out of the way of the way of objects as a tactic. I’ll give it a try and edit my impressions once I see if that remedies my issue.
Gravity Slide: I will admit that perhaps it’s because I haven’t upgraded this ability very much, but I’ve found it hard to use the tilt functionality to control your slide. I think a lot of the problem comes from you being able to pan the camera up and down using tilt, causing you to become disoriented enough to throw you off if you get into it and aren’t paying attention to how you’re holding the Vita. It also doesn’t help that you jump when you gravity slide by shaking the Vita. This makes it really important that you make sure not to tilt the Vita up and down too much when you attempt a jump. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done in the heat of the moment.
Luckily, the use of this mechanic has been optional thus far. I’m hoping it will get better once I level it up.
I am really enjoying Gravity Rush so far. Outside of a few camera quirks the game as a whole comes together and feels fresh, making it a joy to play.