If it weren't for the word "remastered" in its name, you wouldn't think that Gravity Rush Remastered is an updated, high definition version of the 2012 open-world PS Vita action-adventure game as the two games look worlds apart. The original release of on Sony's second handheld was beautiful in its own right, limited by the platform's limitations. On the PlayStation 4 however, it looks good enough to be mistaken for a game natively developed for it.
Gravity Rush has you in the role of Kat, who is a "gravity shifter". As the name implies, Kat specialises in turning Newtonian laws upside down. It's an intriguing concept, so we were a little disappointed that the game used the well worn amnesiac hero trope; Kat has lost her memory, and doesn't know how she ended up in the floating city of Heskeville.
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Over the course of the game, you will re-discover who you are, while slaying monsters and foiling a grand conspiracy. Although the premise is a little tired, there's enough going on to keep you invested till the very end. The missions are broken into chapters and are bookended by comic book panels, which offer a pleasing change from the usual in-game cut-scenes.
The comic panels go well with the rest of the game, which is steeped in anime-art stylings that translate well onto the bigger screen. Gravity Rush Remastered feels like something out of a wacky Japanese anime and sports pastel-laced environs that are a treat for the eyes. It might not have the visual complexity of games such as The Witcher 3, which are replete with non-playable characters going about their workaday lives, but the visual fidelity and enjoyable gameplay more than makes up for it.
Traversal in Gravity Rush involves traipsing through levels with wanton disregard for the laws of physics. Ever so often you'll find yourself walking on building walls, floating towards roof tops or sliding across vast expanses of air.
On the Vita, executing these moves were painful at times due to the control scheme forcing you to use every input option available on the Vita. It didn't help matters that sliding, a rather crucial move as the game progresses, required you to make use of the Vita's accelerometer. With Gravity Rush Remastered, a press of the triggers on the Dual Shock 4 controller will suffice, and makes for a much more engaging experience.
Sliding isn't the only move that's made easier with this remaster. Dodging, which demanded you swipe your Vita's screen, is mapped to the controller trackpad, or simply tapping R2 and flicking the analog stick in the direction of your choice. Thanks to a conventional control scheme, Gravity Rush Remastered controls a lot more accurately now than it did the first time around.
Combat benefits from this as well. From split-second dodges to precise gravity-powered kicks, there's very little you can't accomplish. There's no bigger proof of this than the many challenges and scenarios you face as the game progresses. Levels that required seemingly infinite tries on the Vita were easy to overcome on the PS4. Any potential frustration was negated by the sheer responsiveness of the controls. At the same time, if you're curious to know how the game controlled on the Vita, you can make use of the Dual Shock 4's gyroscope for motion controls. We'd recommend sticking with the new PS4 controls because the Vita style controls can get quite frustrating.
Apart from this, the game maintains a solid 60 frames per second even in its busiest sections, and the loading times are blisteringly fast, which is a much smoother experience than the original release. You also get all of Gravity Rush's downloadable content in the form of challenges, missions, and costumes as well as a gallery that lets you view all of its comic illustrations, all bundled together with Gravity Rush Remastered.
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All of this works to amplify what was already, despite some issues, a solid game. Traversal never gets old thanks to Kat's abilities - something we're surprised that other games haven't copied yet. And combat, while simple, is actually a whole lot more fun this time around.
Our only grouse is the lack of a photo mode - a feature that lets you pause the game and take photos of its breathtaking environments. It's been a staple of Sony remasters including God of War III, The Last of Us, and Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection all having it.
Nonetheless, Gravity Rush Remastered is an endearing piece of digital goodness that warrants your attention. You'll want to spend as much time as possible in Heskeville long after you're done with the main plot line. Sony might have laid it on a little thick with remasters to prop up a seemingly threadbare lineup of exclusives, but Gravity Rush on the PS4 is exemplary. There simply is no reason for you to miss out on it this time around.
Rating (out of 10): 9
We played an import copy of Gravity Rush Remastered for the PS4. The game will be available from February 3 in India on the PS4 for Rs. 2,497.