Tuesday, June 14, 2016

I Believe I Can Fly... With A Headache

This is a long overdue post (because clearly I am bad at this arcadexpoints thing) but hey, what better way to slither my way back into the blog than with a post about an old game in light of its sequel’s trailer being released at this year’s E3?

Basically: Gravity Rush.

Now, lemme first start with how I stumbled across Gravity Rush in the first place. For one, it was the very first PS Vita game I had ever heard of. Like several of my other video game ‘discoveries,’ I first heard about GR from a video game magazine. At the time, I was totally uninterested in the PS Vita and had no intentions of picking it up whatsoever. However, the premise of GR seemed like a great idea, especially since I’ve always been a sucker for anti-gravity/floating/flying/airy/you get it concepts.

Besides the fact that the game featured a female protagonist, what also stuck out to me was how the game would utilize the Vita’s motion sensor system. For a game centered around the concept of gravity manipulation, this seemed only fitting.

However, by the time I got sold on the idea of the PS Vita (thanks, Persona 4: Dancing All Night), picking up a copy of GR was the least of my priorities. Thankfully, one of my friends offered to give me his copy since he had already finished the game long before, and voila, Ina and Gravity Rush finally make contact with one another.

I didn’t have much to ride on when I went into the game as I had barely heard anything about it, seeing as I don’t have many friends who own a Vita. In fact, the aforementioned person who gave me his copy of GR is pretty much the only friend I know of who owns the handheld console.

The dynamics of the game are pretty cool. As I mentioned earlier, the game makes use of the Vita’s motion sensor features, though it isn’t actually mandatory to do so. (At least, I don’t remember this being the case?) It also makes use of the Vita’s touchscreen for certain features; doing the slide move actually makes use of both the touch screen and the motion sensor controls.

The game provides you with several different moves that you can upgrade throughout the game. Each of your foes have red “eyes” (balls???) that are essentially their weak points that you should target in order to defeat them. This, however, is what I hated the most about the game.

Gravity Rush a.k.a. TARGET PRACTICE???

Several boss fights took me AGES to finish because the controls seemed to be so particular with hitting the bullseye on the boss creatures. Often, when I thought I had locked on to the target, the creature -- called Nevi -- would move just when I commenced my attack, resulting in my nth miss for the battle. It was incredibly frustrating, especially for someone like me who has zero aim. Additionally, having to fly through the air, only to miss my target, became so dizzying that I ended up nursing a headache at times.

Gameplay aside, GR’s creative direction was spectacular. The music was great, and the fictional language — some kind of distorted speech that somewhat resembles French — was really interesting but still somewhat believable, if that makes sense. The worlds were pretty visual in themselves as well, looking very European with a touch of steampunk in the metro.

Look at that view. A+

Besides the inconsistent wonky-feeling controls, the only other aspect of GR that bothered me was its story — in particular, its length and ending. Despite having struggled to clear some boss battles due to my nonexistent aim, once I finished the game, I realized just how short the story was. As someone who recently realized that they play video games mostly for the story, finishing GR felt a little underwhelming, especially with how inconclusive the ending was.

Which brings me to news of Gravity Rush 2 — a sequel that was to be expected, given how the story still had some loose ends to tie up upon the first game's conclusion. While I don’t own a PS4 (… yet), I’m excited to see how GR 2 will play into a much larger console, though I know they’ve already made a remaster of the first game for the PS4. More than that, I’m looking forward to the story and how the sequel will tie in with the first game, as well as how it might give us some answers to some questions that left us hanging at the end of the first entry.

I’d totally recommend anyone with a Vita to pick up Gravity Rush. It feels like a PS Vita classic, in a way, and it’s one of the very few Vita games to make use of all of the handheld’s controls, from touch screen to D-pad to analog stick to motion sensors.

Everyone, meet Dusty.

Plus, I mean, the protagonist has a cat for a companion. A black, galaxy-looking trippy cat with equally impressive gravity manipulating abilities. How can you say no to that?

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