Cover for the North American release
|Developer(s)||SCE Japan Studio
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Release date(s)||PlayStation Vita
Gravity Rush[a] is an action-adventure video game developed by SCE Japan Studio and Project Siren, and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation Vita. Directed by Keiichiro Toyama, 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 of Gravity Rush began in 2008 as a PlayStation 3 project called Gravité[b] before being eventually transferred to PS Vita. AI and visuals were slightly simplified during the process. Director Toyama thought that Gravity Rush overall suited the Vita 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. An enhanced version of the game, titled Gravity Rush Remastered, was released in Japan in late 2015 and in Europe and North America in early 2016 for the PlayStation 4.
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 features role-playing 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 opens with an amnesic Kat waking up on the floating city of Hekseville alongside a mysterious cat she names Dusty. In saving a boy from being swept up in a gravity storm, Kat discovers that she has the ability to manipulate how gravity affects her, enabling her to help people against monsters spawned along with the storms called Nevi. She is dubbed a Shifter by the people of Hekseville, and after saving police officer Syd receives her name. As she begins helping the people of Hekseville, she is confronted by another Shifter dubbed Raven, who sees her as an enemy despite Kat only wanting to help Hekseville. Kat becomes involved in operations to catch Alias, a criminal linked to the Nevi — she eventually defeats him, sending him into a garbage crusher where he is killed. Alongside this, Kat helps restore sections of Hekseville swallowed by spacial rifts with the aid of Gade, a man who claims to be a "Creator". Kat restores all of Hekseville despite further interference from Raven, who apparently dies during a fight with Kat. Her exploits for the city earn her the name "Gravity Queen". Following Alias' defeat and the return of the final missing part of Hekseville, Kat is offered a place in the city's military if she will follow orders of its commander Gerneaux, but she refuses.
Kat then meets a woman who dropped the last letter she received from her deceased boyfriend over the edge of Hekseville, she travels inside the World Pillar, a gigantic column that supports Hekseville and stretches from the sky to below the clouds. On her way down, her Shifter powers fade and she is confronted by Raven, then the two are attacked by a giant Nevi dubbed Nushi. Kat wakes to find herself captive in Boutoume, a city beneath the gravity storms where a group of children are living under the protection of their leader Zaza. Kat and Raven help protect the children from Nushi, but they learn that the dark sea beneath Boutoume will one day consume everything. One of the children Cyanea later confronts Kat — in a trance while possessed by a being called a Dream Guardian, she reveals herself to be the Creator of the world through her dreams, and sends Kat into a dream where she learns that she is from a higher part of the World Pillar where she held a powerful position and suffered due to a great burden.
Having regained some of her forgotten power, Kat activates a ship called the Ark, which can transport everyone back to Hekseville. As the Ark launches after Kat beats back Nushi, Kat learns that Raven was originally one of the children trapped in Boutoume, and that she had been told by Hekseville's city alderman D'nelica not to retrieve them. On the way up, Kat succumbs to exhaustion and is separated from the Ark. Making her way back up the World Pillar and ends up receiving the letter she was sent for from the boyfriend's ghost. Returning to Hekseville, she finds that a whole year has passed due to the temporal distortions experienced in the lower parts of the World Pillar — under constant Nevi attacks, Hekseville has come under martial law and D'nelica has become its mayor. Kat is forced to fight Nushi one last time, before it is destroyed by an enhanced military operative called Yunica. Syd has become part of the military after its absorption of the civilian police forces. Offered a second chance to join the military efforts against the Nevi, Kat again refuses. She is then asked by a scientist to help gather data about the Nevi, but it is a ruse to find out more about her Shifter powers.
After suffering from a nightmare about Alias, Kat wakes to find that Cyanea has reappeared, although Raven and the rest of the children are still missing. Attending a rally with Gabe and Syd where D'nelica unveils the Nevi-destroying weapon Sea Anemone, Kat responds to a Nevi attack and is captured by Yunica together with Dusty. As Syd attempts to free her, the Sea Anemone — which was constructed with a Nevi core as part of D'nelica's plan to control both Hekseville and the Nevi — goes berserk and begins attacking the city. Cyanea's Dream Guardian self decides to intervene and frees Dusty, who subsequently frees Kat. Kat manages to damage the Sea Anemone, first with help from Yunica, who uses her mechanical weapons to damage its armor; then from Cyanea and Gabe as they combine their powers with Kat's to summon the Ark as a missile. D'nelica activates the Sea Anemone's self-destruct function despite the resultant destruction and death, and with help from Raven and Yunica Kat manages to push the Sea Anemone above the city, where it explodes and destroys D'nelica's ship while leaving the city undamaged. The people hail Kat as their savior while calling for the wounded D'nelica's resignation for his part of the fiasco. The children within the Ark remain in stasis with Cyanea saying they will wake to help restore light to the world; D'nelica learns Kat's original identity through a tiny Nevi core in his possession; and Gerneaux remembers a prophecy about a harbinger of catastrophe falling from the world above, referring to Kat's appearance.
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 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 Japan.
Gravity Rush 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.
Gravity Rush Remastered was released physically in the United States on February 2, 2016, exclusively through Amazon.com. The game was not released in Canada on disc.
Famitsu called the setting "outstanding"; while Destructoid's Jim Sterling said that while Kat was an "adorable" protagonist, the story became nonsensical by the second half. Edge Magazine said the story provided "an engaging blend of eccentric nonsense", providing engaging scenarios for Kat while also praising her for breaking away from the physical superhero norms. Mollie L. Patterson Electronic Gaming Monthly praised Kat as a protagonist, while Christian Donlan of Eurogamer praised the writing, narrative, and the light tone adopted to tell the story. GamesRadar's Lucas Sullivan likewise enjoyed Kat as a protagonist and praised the cast, while Dan Ryckert of Game Informer felt that the story quickly lost focus and left the player wanting. GameSpot's Carolyn Petit felt that the game left too many mysteries unanswered. Greg Miller of IGN greatly enjoyed Kat's characterization and the opening segments of the story, but shared Petit's criticisms of the ending. Official PlayStation Magazine's Louise Blain called Kat a "perfect, charmingly reluctant heroine", but said that trying to describe the story would be like "trying to explain five seasons of Fringe in one sentence".
Speaking about the gameplay, Famitsu enjoyed the sensation of navigating the city, and praised the sense of freedom despite noting control issues. Sterling enjoyed exploring the city, but found the combat cumbersome and mission objectives repetitive. Edge likewise enjoyed exploring the city and positively compared the wall walking segments to climbing in Crackdown, and despite finding aspects of general gameplay and combat weak did not feel this brought down the experience too much. Patterson was positive overall, saying that while there were some elements that seemed underdeveloped, the overall experience was highly enjoyable and left her wanting more. Donlan called combat "simple but satisfying" and praised both the exploration and controls, while Ryckert enjoyed general exploration and combat while finding most side activities "basic". Petit enjoyed exploring the city, but found combat tedious and felt that the game's pacing was bogged down by uninteresting side activities. Sullivan found aspects of the control scheme took some time to master, but generally enjoyed the gameplay. Miller praised the gravity-based gameplay, but called some later missions frustrating. Blain praised the controls and found the gravity-based gameplay generally entertaining.
Both Famitsu and Edge praised the visuals; Edge positively called them a "[Studio] Ghibli-meets-[Charles] Dickens" stylistic blend. Sullivan likewise positively compared both the music and the visuals to the work of Studio Ghibli. His one warning was that it was not for people who suffered from motion sickness. Patterson praised the comic book artstyle, technical polish and the music, calling the latter "beautifully produced, [fitting] the fantastical setting" Both Donlan and Ryckert shared praise for the general aesthetic and structure of the game world. Petit praised the cutscenes' comic panel style and called the overall visuals "beautiful". Miller praised the soundtrack and visuals, but found the draw distance was too short. Blain positively noted the structure of the game's city environments, and praised the cutscenes.
Reviewing the Asian English release of Remastered, Josh Tolentino of Destructoid praised the technical upgrade despite it still being clearly a Vita game, but criticized the lack of new content. Patterson, again reviewing for Electronic Gaming Monthly, echoed her praise for the original game and said that the upgrade to PS4 and the technical upgrades had made the experience even better for her. IGN's Marty Silva said that the game's art style and smooth framerate allowed it to hold its own despite its age, but did not enjoy the motion control options. He called it the best way of experiencing Gravity Rush. Justin Towell of GamesRadar also gave the remastering praise, noting its graphics and improved sense of scale, but criticizing persistent camera difficulties experienced in the original. Oli Welsh, writing for Eurogamer, praised Remastered as standing among Bluepoint Studio's better efforts, praising its visual and technical upgrades despite the simplistic design dragging down the experience. GameSpot's Peter Brown likewise praised the upgrade to the graphics.
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. 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 three packs of downloadable content (DLC) 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.
A remastered version of the game, developed by Bluepoint Games, was released for the PlayStation 4 in December 2015 in Japan and February 2016 in North America and Europe. This version is bundled with all the previously released downloadable content.
- Gravity Rush is known in Japan as Gravity Daze (GRAVITY DAZE/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?, lit. "Gravity Daze/Gravitational Dizziness: The Perturbation of Her Inner Space Caused by the Repatriation of the Upper Stratum")
- Gravité is the French word for gravity
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