Tag Archives: Keiichiro Toyama

The MoeGamer Awards: Game of the Year 2017

The MoeGamer Awards are a series of made-up prizes that give me an excuse to celebrate games, concepts and communities I’ve particularly appreciated over the course of 2017. Find out more here, but you’re out of time to leave me suggestions, I’m afraid!

Well, here we are on the last day of 2017, and I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling something of a sense of anti-climax after what has been an extremely chaotic and interesting year in many ways. Still, what better way to see out the old year than with a completely arbitrary declaration of what the “best” game of 2017 was?

This was an extremely tough decision, particularly as I’ve always said these awards were based on what I played in 2017, not necessarily what was released in 2017. But, as it happened, the two front-runners happened to both come out in 2017, so that all works out pretty nicely, doesn’t it? So which one did I pick? I’m sure you’re on the edge of your seats.

And the winner is…

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The MoeGamer Awards: The Second Chance Award

The MoeGamer Awards are a series of made-up prizes that give me an excuse to celebrate games, concepts and communities I’ve particularly appreciated over the course of 2017. Find out more and suggest some categories here!

Today’s award is pretty simple: it reflects a game I gave a second chance to, and ended up being extremely glad that I did.

It’s often worth revisiting things that you bounced off some time ago, as you may well find that changes in your outlook and tolerance for certain things may change over time. Of course, in this digital age, there’s also the possibility that games might be patched and improved over time, too — and, as in the case of today’s game, there may also be superior ports down the road to improve the overall experience, too.

And the winner is…

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Gravity Rush 2: Bigger, Better, Bolder

In making the jump from the handheld PlayStation Vita to the much more powerful PlayStation 4, Gravity Rush 2 ups the ante from the original considerably in terms of scale, scope and ambition.

While the first game, in some ways, felt somewhat like a proof of concept — admittedly an enormously enjoyable, playable and compelling proof of concept — it’s Gravity Rush 2 where it truly feels like the series has truly hit its stride, both in terms of mechanics and narrative.

What’s rather impressive about it more than anything else, though, is that despite releasing five years after its predecessor, it’s clear that there has been a solid plan in place from the very beginning, making this sequel not only an excellent game in its own right, but a fantastic follow-up that is immensely satisfying for fans of the original who wanted answers to its unresolved questions.

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Gravity Rush: The Franco-Belgian Tradition, via Japan

One of the most distinctive aspects of the Gravity Rush series is its aesthetic.

As we noted last time, director Keiichiro Toyama’s desire was to create a game that, while still recognisably Japanese, incorporated elements from other locales in order to create something that, in theory, would be universally appealing across the world. The Western influences he chose to focus on were the Franco-Belgian artists of the bandes dessinées tradition.

The Franco-Belgian influence is particularly apparent in the first installment, while the second, in keeping with its much larger scope, draws more broadly on influences from across Europe. Let’s take a look at the specifics of how Gravity Rush got its distinctive look and feel, starting with a bit of background on Toyama’s main influence from Franco-Belgian comic books: an artist named Jean Giraud, better known to some as Mœbius or Gir.

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Gravity Rush: Introduction and History

Gravity Rush is an interesting series. Originally intended as something of a flagship title for Sony’s Vita handheld, its first installment was well-received but passed a lot of people by.

Fortunately, it managed to get a second chance at success thanks to an enhanced port for PlayStation 4 by Bluepoint Games, the company previously responsible for the PS3 versions of God of War and Team Ico’s classics Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. And, from there, it did well enough to spawn a true sequel, this time specifically designed for the PlayStation 4.

The two games are both excellent, but both suffered somewhat from poor release timing and, in the case of the first game, the somewhat niche-interest status of the Vita as a platform in the West. Consequently, they haven’t had nearly as much love as they deserve from the general public.

What better reason to take a closer look at where this series came from and why you should check it out, then?

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