(VITA) Gravity Daze (Gravity Rush) Review

Discussion in 'Console Games' started by Malus120, Mar 7, 2012.

  1. Malus120 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2002
    #1
    So I decided to just make a new thread, hope that's ok. I know I promised to review Gravity Daze in my original Vita and Uncharted Review, and I'm sorry its taken so long for me to finish it up. Anyway, without further ado... :)

    Gravity Daze Review

    If you’ve been following the Playstation Vita for any significant amount of time since its announcement, you’ve probably heard of Gravity Daze. It, along with Uncharted Golden Abyss, has gotten more press than most of the other Vita games combined, and the initial feedback has been incredibly positive. The question then is of course, does it live up to the hype?

    Story/Setting:

    The basic premise of Gravity Daze is that you are a young woman who wakes up with no memory in the middle of an unknown town with the unique ability to manipulate the forces of gravity bestowed upon you by a mysterious cat.
    The town itself is actually floating in the middle of space/the sky/something and is being gradually encroached upon and sealed away by a mysterious evil force. Your goal is to gain the trust and respect of the townspeople, unravel the mysterious evil engulfing the city, and uncover clues as to your own past.
    The story shies away from being overly “epic” (ala Final Fantasy XIII), focusing instead on weaving a more personal narrative which is both quaint and very engrossing. This story is told primarily through comic book style cut scenes, with occasional voice over’s in French (yes French), which add to the game’s unique atmosphere.
    The main story, which is broken up into chapters which generally take between 30 minutes to an hour, reveals itself to you in bits and pieces, tantalizing you to finish one more mission to unlock another piece.
    The game also has a myriad array of side quests, which are gradually unlocked as you restore various sections of the town to life. Unfortunately the degree of variety in these side quests is somewhat limited, with the vast majority being a timed beat

    Presentation:

    Gravity Daze is easily one of the best looking games on the Vita. The character models, lighting, and shadows are all very good, and while it can’t match Uncharted Golden Abyss or Sega’s Virtua Tennis for photo realism, the cel shaded graphics should make it immediately clear that this is not what the game has set out to do. Instead, the game features beautifully cel-shaded characters and environments, which look very good on a technical level, and are absolutely gorgeous in motion.
    In fact, Gravity Daze features some of the most focused and amazing art direction I’ve ever seen in a video game. It has a very Ghibli-esque animated style that subtly oozes from every pore, carefully molding an atmosphere that manages to feel both whimsical and oppressive at the same time. This is one of those rare games whose art direction will be appreciated long after the Vita’s graphical prowess has been relegated to the dustbin of history.
    While the game occasionally suffers from minor but noticeable frame rate hiccups, they are not significant enough to impair game play in any way. In a similar vein, the textures in some areas could certainly be higher resolution, and the shadows could really use anti aliasing, but you’ll be hard pressed to notice these issues when the game is in motion. Finally the game is rumored to be running upscaled (that is it renders internally at a lower resolution and then upscales the output to the Vita’s native 960 by 544), but any negative effects are much less noticeable than in Uncharted.
    The above are of course just nitpicks to a game which truly feels like it achieves everything it set out to achieve graphically on the system its on, combined with beautiful art direction which leaves little to be desired. While it may not have the most impressive graphics on paper, it is probably the most gorgeous to actually play.

    Sound:

    Its not every day that you play a game and immediately wonder when its soundtrack will go on sale, but this is certainly one of those games. The music stands shoulder to shoulder with the graphics in achieving the game’s artistic vision, and is an important piece of giving each new area its own unique feel. The tunes span from whimsical, to upbeat, to oppressive, and range from jazzy to orchestral in composition. While certain tracks are most definitely overused (I’m looking at you side missions which use the game’s default “action music” over and over again), this only detracts slightly from what is otherwise a very impressive package.
    While it lacks the depth and breadth of some of the best classic RPG soundtracks, it is nonetheless an excellent body of work and an essential part of the game.

    Controls:

    Designing a game where the player is able to manipulate gravity at will is, by its very nature a very ambitious project, particularly in regards to coming up with an adequate control scheme. When you add in the zeal of developers breaking in new hardware with new input methods as in the case of the Vita, it’s easy to imagine how Gravity Daze could have turned into a complete mess.
    Fortunately that’s not what happened here. The overall control scheme works well, and while it certainly has frustrating rough spots and a significant learning curve for certain moves, it also makes excellent use of the Vita’s auxiliary input methods, touch and the gyroscope (sorry no back panel touch for this game). Swiping the screen to dodge enemy attacks and (in combination with the attack button) to perform a roll kick feels surprisingly natural and very effective, as does using the gyroscope to tweak your aim (ala Uncharted). Moving, aiming, jumping, attacking, and manipulating gravity are all done with the analog sticks and face buttons and work great as well.
    That said, its not perfect. Trying to land the “Gravity Kick,” in which the main character flies at the enemy in a sort of super powered extended jump kick can be challenging even once you get the hang of adjusting your aim mid flight, and the frustration is compounded by certain enemies who have the annoying, if understandable habit of moving out of the way at the last second. Furthermore, it certainly feels like it is precisely because this mechanic is unrefined that the developers had no choice but to render the A.I. somewhat brain dead, and this is made very clear when you face certain “human” boss opponents who zig zag and are very hard to hit.
    Of course, no review of Gravity Daze’s controls would be complete without mentioning the “Gravity Slide.” If you’ve watched any promotional material for the game, you’ve undoubtedly seen the heroine zipping around town hovering just above the ground in a sliding or drifting type motion. This is the Gravity Slide, and it is certainly the fastest (and slickest) way to get around on a surface (be it the ground, a wall, or the ceiling).
    That said, learning to control the Gravity Slide will test your patience. To use it you hold (with your thumbs) the left and right side of the screen, and tilt the Vita left or right to steer (she moves in a straight line by default), and up to jump. You can also break for hard turns by letting go of only one side of the screen, which makes turning and thus control monumentally easier, and is necessary to really get anywhere with the ability.
    I really have mixed feelings about this ability, when it works well, it's exhilarating to use and a treat to behold, but sometimes I can’t help but feel it might have controlled a bit better if they had stuck with conventional controls instead of relying on the gyroscope. That said, practice makes perfect, and if you take the time to learn it, it will become an indispensable tool in your gravity arsenal, that is, as long as you don’t mind people around you wondering what the heck you’re doing…

    Conclusion:

    Gravity Daze is one of those rare games whose whole far exceeds the sum of its none the less excellent parts. Its beautiful presentation, whimsical musical score, atmospheric setting, and engaging story are all drawn together with the game’s unique concept to create an unforgettable package. It is rare indeed that such an ambitious and original concept is executed so well, particularly as a launch window title on new hardware.
    While the game is not without its flaws and foibles, they rarely detract from the overall experience, and it is this ability to rise above its component parts that really sets Gravity Daze apart from its competitors.
    In the end, while Uncharted Golden Abyss is merely a good crossover of an excellent console game, Gravity Daze comes off as a beautifully executed masterpiece, creating a whole new world which can only be experienced on the Vita.
    Gravity Daze is one of those rare games that will be remembered and emulated long after the sunset of the PS Vita hardware. Whether you’re buying a Vita today, tomorrow, or ten years from now, Gravity Daze should undoubtedly be one of the first games you play.

    Overall Score 9.5/10
     
  2. MRU macrumors demi-god

    MRU

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    #2
    This is the type of game I want to see on the PS Vita, more so than your Call of Duty / Killzones / Resistance / Bioshock titles.
     
  3. Mr.C macrumors 601

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    London, UK.
    #3
    Great review and well written which pretty much sums up the game. Well done.

    Agreed.
     
  4. Certinfy macrumors 6502a

    Certinfy

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2011
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    London
    #4
    Great review. :)

    Can't wait for this, definitely the game I want the most for the Vita!

    Can you answer a few questions about it though? If so:
    - How long is the main story in general?
    - How big is the city to free roam?
     
  5. Malus120 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2002
    #5
    Hey, glad to know people are continuing to take an interest as the game's US release nears :)

    1) Looking back at my save file, the game took me roughly 19 hours to complete on my first time through. That said, I did a lot of side quests and more or less took my time enjoying the game so you can definitely finish it in less (my girlfriend finished it in just under 14). If you include the DLC and going for gold gold/silver medals on all of the side missions you'll definitely exceed 25 hours IMO.
    2) The city is fairly large with several distinct sections. This is easily the most expansive open world game I've ever seen on a portable. That said, while the free roam area is large it is somewhat sparse in terms of things to do when compared to something like GTA. I'd say its probably larger than InFamous 1, but again, inFamous probably has more things to do.

    Hope that answers your questions let me know if you have any more.
     
  6. Certinfy macrumors 6502a

    Certinfy

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    #6
    Thanks mate, all is looking good! Looks like I'll definitely be getting it, seems good lengthwise. :)
     
  7. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    Fighting to stay in the EU
    #7
    I threw down a preorder a few days ago. It looks amazing, really hope it delivers.
     
  8. MRU macrumors demi-god

    MRU

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    #8
    Meant to be a great game, but not the Vita Messiah some are hoping for. I'll settle for great.
     
  9. e²Studios macrumors 68020

    e²Studios

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    Apr 12, 2005
    #9
    Either way I look forward to your impending QQ'ing :p
     
  10. sikkinixx macrumors 68020

    sikkinixx

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    #10
    Excited to play this. Finally my Vita will be more than a Golf machine.
     
  11. 2nyRiggz macrumors 603

    2nyRiggz

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    Aug 20, 2005
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    Thank you Jah...I'm so Blessed
    #11
    I've played the demo so many times now...if you couldn't tell I really like it:p
    I need more games for this beast because it has my undivided attention. I play the vita more than any of my consoles these days and it goes everywhere with me...even on closed set(don't tell my boss)

    Great review by the way.


    Bless
     
  12. spaceballl macrumors 68030

    spaceballl

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    Nov 2, 2003
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #12
    I know i'm late to the party here. I pre-ordered this game a long time ago, but work has been too hectic to find time to play it. Today I had a flight from SFO to Boston, and I played Gravity Rush the ENTIRE way there. It really hooked me. It's so fun... It's really just a joy to play, and the best part is that I can say that I haven't played anything quite like this before. It's not just another FPS or platformer or something like that, but this whole gravity thing is REALLY cool.

    Anyhow, if you're on the fence, I really recommend it!!
     

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