E3 2011: Gravity Vita

By Andrew Yoon, Jun 10, 2011 6:10pm PDT

QUICKTAKE: PlayStation Vita's lineup is mostly commanded by well-known, heavy-hitting IPs like Uncharted. But Gravity, a new game from Sony's Japan Studio, is one of the most original and exciting titles hitting the new handheld. The gorgeous visuals and gravity-bending gameplay make it an experience unique to the platform.

THE DEMO: The demo begins in a town square, with a girl simply walking around. It's incredibly breathtaking, with the vibrant cel-shaded visuals appearing to pop off the screen. Upon discovering a stray cat, you discover the uncanny ability to manipulate gravity. You begin to fall sideways, landing on the wall of a building. You slowly discover your ability to hover and shift the direction of gravity.

It's not long until monsters stop appearing, and you're able to use your newfound powers to fight them. Using the Vita's gyroscopes, you can aim for weak points in some dizzying battles.

DETAILS: Because of its high concept, Gravity is a relatively difficult game to explain effectively. Essentially, you are gifted the ability to change the direction of gravity. Hitting the R button and aiming at a location makes that the center of gravity, effectively letting you walk on walls, ceilings, and if you're not careful enough, fall upwards to the sky.

You can aim using the Vita's built-in gyroscope, which really augments the feeling of weightlessness you experience as you float around the environment. As you plummet to the side of a building, you can adjust your fall using tilt, making for quite a spectacular feeling of free-falling. If that sounds a bit too nauseating though, you can use the analog stick to aim as well.

Expanding this concept to combat opens up some exciting possibilities. In the demo, I was able to float in the air, target enemies and change gravity to thrust my body into them. As you kick off enemies, you'll be able to quickly aim at another enemy, starting a combo. You can melee the enemies, but some feature hard shields that need to be destroyed with a powerful gravity-attack. Because the demo took place in a very early portion of the game, the concept wasn't fully realized, but a Sony producer promised that later levels will get quite ambitious. I'm not entirely sure I'll be prepared for 360 degree gyroscopic-powered battles, but I look forward to it.

While the concept is immediately enticing, what sells the experience of Gravity are the visuals. Especially on the Vita's OLED screen, the graphics are incredibly sharp, and really work well with the whimsical nature of the gameplay. This is one of the finest looking cel-shaded games I've seen on any platform.

My time with Gravity was brief, but I'm definitely looking for more. You can expect Gravity to land on the PlayStation Vita around launch.

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