Hello there everyone! It’s the end of another week, and Monday is looming. Boo, hiss. But after this week I have two weeks off from the day job, yaaaay!
The time off is something of a “staycation” while my wife goes off gallivanting to sunny Nottingham with her Final Fantasy XIV friends, so there will be plenty happening around here and over on YouTube during those weeks. I’m looking forward to getting well ahead of schedule on video series and having plenty of time to prep for all manner of written features on here.
Plus… I have a very special announcement, but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out what that is. Oooh, teaser. Anyway, let’s see what you might have missed this week.
Continue reading Around the Network
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.
Continue reading Gravity Rush 2: Bigger, Better, Bolder
Sega’s Mega Drive console — or the Genesis to those of you in the States — was a wonderful machine.
In many ways, it started the process of making gaming “cool”, and laid the groundwork for Sony’s solid efforts to make our whole form of entertainment a lot more mainstream with the first PlayStation. But more importantly, it played host to a wide variety of absolutely fantastic games.
One such title was Game Arts’ Alisia Dragoon, an unusual action game that combines elements of disparate genres to produce an extremely memorable, enjoyable and addictive game that still holds up well today.
Continue reading Mega Drive Essentials: Alisia Dragoon
The original Gravity Rush was an important release for Sony’s Vita handheld: it was a high-profile, first-party release, which the system has not, to date, seen all that many of, and is unlikely to see any more.
It was positively received at the time of its original release by press and public alike, but Sony’s consistently poor marketing of the platform — coupled with a general sense of apathy by the more “mainstream” parts of the gaming community — meant that it passed a lot of people by.
And that’s a great shame, as it was an excellent game. Thankfully, Bluepoint Games managed to give it a second chance on the much more popular and widespread PlayStation 4 in the form of enhanced port Gravity Rush Remastered, so a whole new audience can discover the joy of swooping around Hekseville.
Continue reading Gravity Rush: A Hero is Born
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.
Continue reading Gravity Rush: The Franco-Belgian Tradition, via Japan
We’re going retro this time around, with a classic from the early days of Sega’s 16-bit console, the Mega Drive.
The heyday of Techno Soft’s Thunder Force series was arguably around its visually spectacular third and fourth installments, both of which were often used by many proud Mega Drive owners as showcases of their system’s audio-visual capabilities, but the second installment — a launch title for the Genesis in the States — is an interesting game in its own right, mostly because it’s quite different from its better-known successors.
We may not have seen a new Thunder Force game since 2008’s PlayStation 2 release of Thunder Force VI, but the series as a whole remains extremely solid to this day, and one well worth checking out if you’re a dedicated shmup fan.
Continue reading Shmup Essentials: Thunder Force II
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?
Continue reading Gravity Rush: Introduction and History