When Gravity Rush released back in 2012, it was one of the best titles available on the Vita. Nearly four years later and that still rings true. While that’s all well and good, it doesn’t mean as much without people actually knowing it exists–which is the unfortunate plight that most Vita exclusives face. The truth of the matter is that most people don’t own the handheld–not because it’s a terrible system, but because Sony has done such a poor job of marketing it. That being said, when the Japanese giant revealed that they’d be bringing an HD remaster of the title to the PS4 ahead of the sequel’s launch, it was music to my ears.
Fellow Vita-exclusive Tearaway made a similar genesis back in September, releasing under the new title Tearaway Unfolded. But, unlike Tearaway, Gravity Rush Remastered doesn’t actually bring any new content, and is, instead, a straight port of the original–albeit with upgraded graphics and tweaked controls. Because of that, those who’ve played it before don’t necessarily need to pick it up, unless they want to run through it again to refresh their memory or go trophy hunting. But, for those who’ve yet to experience this hidden gem, Gravity Rush Remastered is the perfect opportunity to get acquainted with Sony’s gravity-bending heroine, Kat, before Gravity Rush 2 makes its debut.
As I’ve already mentioned, the story hasn’t changed since we last saw it. For those out of the loop, the game follows Kat, who has lost her memory since waking up in Hekseville. After encountering a cat named Dusty, she discovers that she has the ability to manipulate gravity in a variety of different ways. As the mystery unfolds, Kat grasps the truth of her past self and learns to hone her abilities. Since nothing has been changed, the story’s abrupt ending still remains an issue. But, aside from that, the gravity shifter is as endearing as ever.
In addition to her charming demeanor, one of the things I’ve always loved about Kat is how unique she is. Her super power in particular is what sticks out the most. Sure we’ve seen super heroes fly through the air before, but there’s something special about seeing Kat plummet from a high altitude and dive kick a nevi. Having such an original character in their stable is a good thing for Sony. If marketed correctly, I forsee Kat soaring to the top of the list of the best PlayStation protagonists–especially with Nathan Drake’s story coming to an end this year.
A lot of that has to do with how well the game’s mechanics work. Originally designed for the touch-screen/gyroscope enabled Vita, the control scheme transfers rather well to the Dual Shock 4 (which has both a touch pad and an internal gyroscope). Though aiming Kat around the world via tilting the controller is disorienting, there is an option to turn the feature off, which serves as a relief. Simply using the right stick to change direction made traversal far less of a headache.
As for the touch pad, although you can swipe to dodge (like the Vita), you can also hit R2 (a button not available on the Vita) to nail the same move. Similarly, the gravity slide–which was previously activated by touching the Vita’s screen–is now mapped to L2 and R2. After shifting from one area to the next, holding down both triggers to slide is a simple and accurate way to control the protagonist through the beautiful world.
Speaking of the world, it’s absolutely stunning on the PS4. It runs at a gorgeous 1080p at 60 FPS. During my playthrough, I didn’t experience any glitches or graphical issues. It also helps that the game’s comic book/Miyazaki-esque art style ages extremely well. The scenery really benefits from the upgrade and is more vibrant than ever before. When coupled with the spectacular soundtrack and the fun mechanics, traversing Hekseville is a true delight. Bluepoint has definitely done a spectacular job porting the game.
There are three add-on packs available with the game, but to be perfectly honest, they’re nothing to write home about. Though they’ll keep you busy for a decent amount of time and score you some sweet new costumes, they get boring after a while. Most of them end up being time-consuming fetch quests. But, since the gameplay is so entertaining, this becomes a non-issue.
The bottom line here is that Gravity Rush Remastered is the way you want to experience Kat’s origin story. Though the lack of additional content may deter someone who’s already played it from picking it up again, it has a lot to offer for folks who are new to the franchise. Not only does it look better, but the controls have been tightened up and tweaked for the better. While most of the issues that were present in the original launch haven’t been eliminated, the exhilarating gameplay is sure to reel in a bigger audience ahead of Kat’s return in Gravity Rush 2.
Rating: 4 out of 5 burritos
- The art-style has aged well. It looks gorgeous in 1080p, 60fps
- Mechanics work better on the Dual Shock 4
- A wider audience has been introduced to one of PlayStation’s best characters
- Since it hasn’t changed much, any issues you previously had are probably still present
- Content is the same
This review was completed using a PS4 copy of Gravity Rush Remastered provided by Sony. The game is set to release on the PS4 February 2, 2016.