There are more than a couple of things that you need to know about Gravity Rush. The first one is obvious. It’s one of the best games available on the PlayStation Vita. The second is its cel-shaded visuals, something that game director Keiichiro Toyama touted as being the stand out difference when one compares it to the western trend of using high-end graphics technology. It goes without saying that Gravity Rush was one of the few titles back then that somehow achieved the correct balance between realism and line drawing visuals, whilst not compromising the creative gameplay freedom the developers had envisioned.
Released on the PlayStation Vita back in 2012, Gravity Rush focuses on using gravity to traverse the open world, take down enemies, acquire new abilities and carry out impressive gravity strikes. One of the game’s major selling point was its fantastic art style which was critically praised by several publications and players alike.
Implementing a line drawing methodology, the level design allowed the players to sense where they need to traverse, something that can get confusing given the game’s emphasis on the verticality of a living background. Project Siren, the developers behind the original PS Vita version had ensured that the backgrounds are actually a part of the game, interwoven with the unique gameplay mechanics the game offers. Players can literally feel the environments and in my opinion, the game’s art expression could be overwhelming at times, but in a good way.
Head to head comparison between the PS4 and PS Vita versions of Gravity Rush. Select 1080p and 60fps for best possible playback quality.
Overall, while the development team pushed for an open world setting, they did not compromised the level of freedom that the gameplay needed to offer. The development team strived over and over again to overcome the technical limitations offered by the PlayStation Vita and ensured that their gravity defying vision was not lost.
And that is definitely not lost in this impressive remastered port for the PlayStation 4. Honestly speaking, anything coming from BluePoint Games is nothing short of spectacular these days. Be it the amazing Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection on the PS4 or Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection on last gen consoles, the Texas based company knows what they are doing. Their legacy of developing and enhancing older gen ports to make them standout on current gen consoles continues with Gravity Rush Remastered for the PlayStation 4. Most of the company’s work has been on consoles so bringing a handheld title such as Gravity Rush on a reasonably modern console is not an easy job to do.
Adapting something to a larger screen that is meant to be played on a smaller device is an intimidating challenge and the developer has handled this transition with grace. The PlayStation 4 version runs at a glorious 1080p resolution compared to the measly resolution on the PlayStation Vita. Come to think of it, this is a substantial resolution improvement, specially given how much of the game’s core assets were targeted for Sony’s handheld.
The bump in the resolution and image quality are not the only enhancements you will observe. The PS4 version now runs at an almost locked 60 frames per second compared to the 30fps on the PS Vita. This is obviously down to the fact that the PS4 is a much more powerful device than the PS Vita but hey, we have seen several remasters in the past that don’t actually run at 60fps. The improvements in performance bring a massive boost to gameplay mechanics. The gameplay feels much smoother and slicker and this is in someways is a game changer.
The game now uses a custom post processing anti-aliasing solution, something that is completely absent in the PS Vita version along with anisotropic filtering compared to the lower quality filtering solution found in the handheld version. The latter results into sharper textures on ground surfaces and the characters’ dark outlines look more prominent than ever. As is the case with most remasters from BluePoint Games, the core assets have been upgraded to bring them closer to the technical standards of today.
The texture has been reworked and have their details improved resulting into better geometry overall. High Dynamic Range lighting has been employed in several places and shadows are much cripser than the bland ones found on the PS Vita.
What’s more? The PS Vita specific controls have been translated well to the PS4 and you won’t face any troubles getting accustomed to them. Better looking characters, detailed foliage, updated textures and improved level of detail are just a few of the many improvements that BluePoint Games have brought to this fantastic console port.
In many ways, the work done on Gravity Rush Remastered is somewhat similar to what Square Enix did for Final Fantasy Type-0 HD for the PS4 and Xbox One. The latter featured improved resolution, better post processing effects, screen space reflections but the lack of 60 fps was a little disappointing. Gravity Rush Remastered does all of that along with a solid 60 frames per second performance which positively impacts the game in many different ways.
This may surprise many, but Gravity Rush Remastered might very well be BluePoint Games’ best remastered product. Yes, the developer managed to outshine our expectations with the exceptional Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection on the PS4 and Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection before that but bringing this amount of detail and fidelity in a PlayStation Vita title is something out of the ordinary. BluePoint Games could have simply taken the easy path by upgrading the rendering resolution and updating a few post processing effects here and there and labeled it as a remaster. But no, they went beyond with this port, delivering one of the best remasters in recent years.
This makes us very hopeful for Gravity Rush 2 for the PlayStation 4 which already looks to be a step ahead of the original. The game reportedly runs at 1080p and Team Gravity, the developers behind Gravity Rush 2, are targeting a solid 60fps. It will be interesting to see whether they will be able to achieve that but the series has gotten off to a good start on the PlayStation 4 with Gravity Rush Remastered.