||The lead section of this article may need to be rewritten. (September 2013)|
Cover art by Takeshi Oga, lead concept artist
(SCE Japan Studio)
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Release date(s)||JP February 9, 2012
TW February 9, 2012
NA June 12, 2012
KOR June 12, 2012
EU June 13, 2012
|Genre(s)||Action-adventure, action role-playing, open world|
Gravity Rush, known in Japan as Gravity Daze (グラヴィティデイズ/重力的眩暈:上層への帰還において彼女の内宇宙に生じた摂動 Guraviti Deizu / Jūryoku-teki memai: jōsō e no kikan ni oite, kanojo no nai-uchū ni shōjita setsudō?) is an action-adventure video game developed for the PlayStation Vita. Directed by Keiichiro Toyama and written by Naoko Sato (previously known for the Siren series and the first Silent Hill), the core mechanics of the game is the player's ability to manipulate gravity, allowing unique movements and navigation. The graphics are cel-shaded, which in Toyama's opinion stand out from the western photorealistic trend.
Development began in 2008 as a PlayStation 3 project called Gravité,[Note 1] before being eventually transferred to PS Vita. AI and visuals were slightly simplified during the process. However, Gravity Rush director thinks overall Vita suits the game better, because of "its handy and accessible nature" and "the impression of a different world existing beyond the screen" the player gets by tilting the device.
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The game is set in the floating city of Hekseville. The story begins with the player character, a girl called Kat, who has lost her memory. She then runs into a mysterious black cat that gives her the power to control gravity. Kat uses this ability in order to protect people from the threat of a gravity storm and the Nevi monsters that have appeared along with it.
The gravity-controlling mechanics can be used to fly through the air (by controlling which direction gravity comes from), walk on walls, and thrust devastating gravity kick attacks towards enemies. The player first presses the R button to make the character float, then aims somewhere by tilting the console or moving the right analog stick, and finally presses the R button again to "fall" in that direction until landing on something—be it a wall, a moving ship, the underside of a ledge, or the ground. The tilting movement works thanks to the Vita's gyroscope. Gravity Rush also boasts role-playing game elements, such as leveling up, side quests, optional villains to fight, and a large open world to explore. Throughout the game, Kat acquires new abilities, such as a gravity strike, and the power to lift and throw objects around.
Toyama commented on the influence the game Crackdown had on this evolution-styled gameplay, as he "really liked the aspect of unlocking skills and becoming more powerful, and achieving a higher level of freedom as you become more powerful".
The game was directed by Keiichiro Toyama, previously known for creating survival horror games such as Silent Hill and Siren. He stated in an interview that he conceptualized the idea for Gravity Rush more than ten years before its eventual release, describing it as the first game he wanted to create, pre-dating his work on Silent Hill. He cited Moebius's French comics he read in his youth as an inspiration for the Gravity Rush world, referring to one of his comic books that had "images of people floating in space" as an influence. Anime and American comics were both an influence for the characters. However, Toyama avoided making his characters "completely Japanese" in order to foster a wider acceptance of them outside of Japan.
The game is available through both physical and digital distribution in the U.S. and Japan. It was originally thought that Gravity Rush would be download only in Europe, but both physical and digital distribution options were offered at release.
The game has been received with generally positive reviews, with average aggregate scores of 82% at GameRankings based on 48 reviews and 83 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 72 reviews. The Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu gave the game 10, 9, 9 and 10, adding up to a total of 38 out of 40, making it the magazine's highest-rated PS Vita game. Toyama, when asked what the team reaction was about this, said "We had mixed feelings, actually. We achieved something that's unique and brand new, and we feel that should get good reviews. But at the same time, this game a little niche… so we thought it was interesting that we got such high scores." Eurogamer's Christian Donlan wrote that if "you're drawn to games by the satisfaction offered by their simplest mechanics, Gravity Daze is a total delight." Lee West of Gamereactor commented that "he loves when games surprise him like this - in a positive way". The French site Gameblog.fr stated that a game "as exceptional as this one" is "so rare" that "when one comes, it's impossible not to grab it really tight and press it against our chest." The UK's PSM3 gave it a 9.3/10, concluding that it "Perfectly balances free-roaming exploration, focused story missions and RPG-style leveling, with sublime handheld controls in Vita's first killer app." Game Revolution called it "The Vita's first must-buy game" due to its innovation, creativity, and art.
On the less positive side, Destructoid 's Jim Sterling gave the game 6.5/10, saying that "Gravity Rush has everything it needs to be something great, but it takes all the wrong forks in the road and ends up rather unfulfilling. It's a real shame, too, because you it's so clear how brilliant it truly could have been". Carolyn Petit from GameSpot also gave the game a 6.5/10, praising its unusual and beautiful visuals and innovation in the use of gravity, yet felt the tedious combat kept it from being the success that it could have been.
Prior to the game's release Kat's costume was given out as a promotion for visitors of the Tokyo Game Show 2011 theatre in PlayStation Home. After the release Kat was added to the Everybody's Golf 6 roster as downloadable content. Kat, Raven, Alias, and Yunica were added as a costume pack for LittleBigPlanet 2, LittleBigPlanet PS Vita, and LittleBigPlanet Karting. Kat is also a playable character in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, available as downloadable content.
In a July 2012 interview with Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu game director Keichiro Toyama expressed interest in developing a sequel to Gravity Rush. After receiving the Tokyo Game Show 2012 Game of the Year award, and receiving congratulations from fans Toyama said, "I'll do my best on the sequel". A sequel has been teased during Tokyo Game Show 2013. The short teaser trailer showed a vast vertical floating city (as opposed to the original's horizontal floating city), improved graphics and possible adversaries or allies. The main protagonist seems to still be Kat, but it is noted that the magical cat Dusty has no visible appearance. Also Kat's lower arms seem to glow with what seems to be the same gravity energy she displayed within her body when manipulating gravity.
There are 3 downloadable content released for the game, which include the Spy Pack, Military Pack and Maid Pack. All three DLC packs include two main missions involving story, action and a reputation increase, as well as the opportunity to collect more Gems. One of the biggest bullet points of the 3 DLC packs is the permanent inclusion of the three costumes Kat dons within the missions. These costumes become permanently available upon completion of the first of two missions each pack contains.
- French word for gravity.
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