Wow. This… this took a bit of a turn.
I wrote a brain dump about my experience with Gravity Rush Remastered up through Chapter 8 a little while ago. The short version is that I liked the game but there were a couple things that I hoped would be fleshed out.
This was during the first third of the game. I had no idea how unpolished the last third would be.
I mentioned having a problem with the protagonist not just talking to her rival about what the hell her problem was, etc. That factors into the last 2/3rds of the game pretty heavily. If people had spent some of the first third of the game talking, about the political environment, their goals, phenomenon that have been occurring around the city, and so on, the story would have felt smoother and more contiguous. Maybe some of this was addressed in the side missions and challenges, but that’s not an effective way to convey main story beats to the player. Similarly, having a one year time skip prior to the last four-ish chapters only serves to make the whole thing feel jumbled and jarring.
A plethora of storylines all come out of the woodwork, and absolutely none of them are resolved by the end of the game. Questions that the game begins with are not addressed, beyond ‘I wish I knew the answer to x‘. Characters are introduced briefly and the game tries really hard to make you invested in them, particularly during the final boss fight and it doesn’t work because you’ve spent next to zero time with them. Why should I care about the crazy robot girl who tried to shoot-and-skewer me a few minutes ago who was ‘just following orders’? Eff that.
From Chapter 10 onward, there are several gameplay flaws that make it feel rushed. At least two chapters are spent on run around ‘busy work’ missions. “Climb up, no wait, go back down. Now, head back up again.” Your gravity shifting powers are either taken away or hampered in five of the remaining eleven chapters. And it is very clear that in the chapters where your powers are impeded, they would be over much faster with your usual power set. Of these chapters, only one of them really makes this change interesting. The rest are either ‘falling missions’ or simply frustrating.
Combat-wise, things get a bit stale and cheap. Enemies are recycled and given stone armor to cover their weak points, making them into damage sponges rather than adding any depth. Damage output from enemies spikes a bit as well. This hurt a lot since I hadn’t invested in health very much earlier in the game. This damage increase led to around 20 deaths, all occurring post chapter 10. Most of these deaths occurred during non-boss fights. Two boss fights also recycle cut scenes between phases, including the last boss.
This change is pretty jarring from the first half, and more than a little disappointing. It feels like the game as a whole should have been broken up into several smaller episodic games, or been given more time to expand on the core plot lines and leaving more for the subsequent games
Final thoughts: Despite what I’ve said, I really want to stress that I don’t hate the game, but it feels rushed and unfulfilling in the end. I had a lot fun in the early half of the game, throwing Kat around the city and learning how to utilize the powerset. It was an interesting concept for a game and the gravity mechanic is fun when you have enough meter to mess around with it. I do intend to play the second game when I am done with a few other things on my plate. It is my hope that they have improved upon these pacing issues and combat hiccups.
If asked for a recommendation on whether to play this game, I would still urge people to try it, but to brace themselves for some underdeveloped plotlines and to take the time to grind out more gems for health upgrades.
After I posted the review, the fact that I hadn’t played more of the side missions was stuck in my craw. So I went back and hopped back into Gravity Rush to check some stuff.
The challenge missions have no story tied to them other than some very generic flavor text. The side missions are how the alternate costumes are unlocked. I didn’t mention this in the review, but I had done one of them accidentally. The first maid outfit side mission was very frustrating for me and only resulted in… a maid outfit.
The mission set I went and checked out after was the military ones, which do give a little more background on Yunica, the jet pack & mega-buster cyborg girl from the last two missions of the main storyline. But even with that, there isn’t much development. Kat gets a military outfit, Yunica hates you for not being serious-business military or following orders all the time, etc.
There is also a dodge mechanic while floating or falling during a gravity shift, by swiping the touch pad. I only realized this by accidentally touching the swipe pad, and having Kat nearly dodge off a ledge. This said, the dodge mechanic requires being updated to have more ‘charges’ to be able to dodge in succession. Which again, I didn’t upgrade so…it isn’t very helpful.
Even with these updates, my stance stays the same on Gravity Rush. It’s an interesting game idea, but feels weirdly rushed in places, primarily in the story department.