Gravity Rush Remastered brings one of the PS Vita’s most significant exclusives to the TV screen, and it is by far the best way to experience the game.
While Sony has more or less abandoned the PlayStation Vita, there once was a time when the company supported the handheld with high quality, first-party exclusive games. One such game was Gravity Rush, and while it had plenty of good ideas, the limitations of the Vita, in regards to its control inputs, hardware capabilities, and install base, ultimately held back what could have been praised as one of this generation’s finest action-platformers. Gravity Rush Remastered on the PS4 is a second chance for the franchise, and we’re happy to report that it is mostly a success.
One of the first things veteran Gravity Rush players will notice when playing Gravity Rush Remastered is the significantly improved controls. Obviously, the DualShock 4 offers more input methods than the Vita, and that combined with a TV screen means that protagonist Kat’s gravity-shifting abilities are much easier to utilize, and much less disorienting.
Kat is able to float, fly, stick to walls, and more by shifting gravity in the game. She is also able to use her control over gravity to enhance her combat skills, which is another area of the game vastly improved in the jump from the Vita to the PS4. On the Vita, combat in Gravity Rush was cumbersome, with one of the most important aspects to it – that being dodging enemy attacks – relegated to swiping the touchscreen. On PS4, dodging is much simpler, and can be done just by holding R2 and pushing the left stick in the desired direction. Players can still “swipe” to dodge if they so wish, by using the DualShock 4’s touchpad.
Speaking of unique control methods, Gravity Rush Remastered also maintains the motion controls that were present in the Vita version. Players can control Kat while she’s flying by tilting the controller, and the camera can be manipulated in the same manner as well. While motion-controlled flying is not recommended, the latter actually has a pretty neat effect, especially during the comic book panel cut-scenes.
Bluepoint Games has also retained the comic book style cutscenes of the original, which helped tell the story without taxing the Vita’s hardware. On PS4, tese scenes are fine in practice, but they also stand as a reminder that Gravity Rush Remastered isn’t a fully-fledged console release, but rather an upgraded version of an older handheld game.
This is also apparent when looking at the graphics and the size of the game world. Gravity Rush Remastered still manages to be interesting to look at thanks to its unique art style, but there is a noticeable lack of detail, again due to the limitations of its original platform. These limitations also make Hekseville (the floating city where Gravity Rush Remastered takes place) feel small and lifeless when compared to the average console open world.
That being said the upgraded HD graphics and 60fps visuals help give the game a little extra punch, and it ran very smooth throughout our time with it. There wasn’t a single stutter or frame drop, which is especially impressive considering how complicated the gravity-shifting mechanics can get at times.
Besides a graphical upgrade, Gravity Rush Remastered also comes with a gallery mode and all three DLC packs that were released for the original game. These DLC packs offer additional ways to earn precious gems, the in-game currency, while also giving players the opportunity to unlock alternate costumes for Kat. These DLC packs even come with interesting little side stories populated by unique characters, in addition to featuring their own separate trophy lists.
Trophies help add to Gravity Rush Remastered‘s replayability, alongside mastering challenges and chatting with citizens. The citizens of Hekseville often have something interesting to say as well, and while they are not integral to the plot, the conversations with them help to further flesh out the game’s universe and story. The rich writing also goes a long way in bringing the world of Gravity Rush Remastered come to life.
The quality writing extends to the main story as well, for the most part. Gravity Rush Remastered‘s plot has a lot of over-the-top, anime-like characters, strange plot twists, and some hard to follow developments, but it’s an exciting ride nevertheless. Kat’s character makes the story worth seeing through to the end because even though her amnesia represents one of gaming’s biggest cliches, Kat is still a compelling and well-written character with amusing qualities and traits that make her surprisingly relatable.
Having said that, by the time players finish the story, they may feel a little unsatisfied. For the most part, Gravity Rush Remastered is a set-up to a much larger universe, and it introduces players to the basic concepts and characters of that universe, but leaves multiple dangling plot threads. These threads will likely be picked up in the sequel, which is scheduled to release later this year for the PS4, but Gravity Rush Remastered player should know that they are in for a lot of setup and not as much resolution.
For those curious in the title, though, Gravity Rush Remastered manages to improve upon the Vita original in nearly every way, while retaining the charm, stellar soundtrack, and innovative ideas that made Gravity Rush an award-winning game to begin with. As we wait for Gravity Rush 2, Gravity Rush Remastered should be enough to whet fans’ appetites, along with bringing new fans into the fold.
Gravity Rush Remastered releases February 2, 2016 for PS4. Game Rant was provided a PS4 code for this review.