Developer: Japan Studio
What works on a handheld isn't always what works on a console. I don't think this is a particularly controversial assertion to make. After all, what's graphically impressive on the Vita or the Nintendo 3DS (or the PSP, or the DS, and so on) isn't nearly as much so on a home console. Likewise, you generally want different gameplay on the go than you do sitting in your couch. Just think back to the first handheld hit, Tetris: it's hard to imagine it would've been as much a cultural phenomenon, at least here in the West, had it not arrived on the Gameboy.
Unfortunately, this point is entirely reinforced by Gravity Rush, re-branded as Gravity Rush Remastered now that it's made the jump from Vita to PS4. What looked insanely good on the Vita’s small screen is a little less visually impressive when you compare it to what's out there on Sony's home console. By no means, of course, is it an ugly game, but the its whole anime-meets-comic book aesthetic doesn't look as exceptional when you blow it up to many times its original size.
Likewise, the same could be said for Gravity Rush’s world: it felt enormous on the Vita, in no small part because it was — and still is — one of the most ambitious games available on the handheld. Again, there's still a decent-sized world here to explore, but compared to the likes of any of the PS4’s open world games, Hekseville feels a little cramped, claustrophobic and repetitive.
And speaking of cramped: the missions and objectives themselves. They feel more limited in nature here, more like — surprise, surprise — they were meant to be completed during a commute, or in bite-sized bursts. That's not to say you can't string together a bunch of missions, but you may get annoyed by the way it seems to stop and start with so much regularity.
All that said, Gravity Rush Remastered isn’t a total loss. Traversing the world feels a little bit easier here than it did on the Vita; with more screen real estate, you can get a better sense of where you’re going and where you want to go. Not only that, whereas the original made use of the Vita’s gyroscope, here they’ve ditched that in favor of just letting you use the thumbsticks. For someone who’s never felt entirely comfortable with tilt controls, no matter how much I use them, that kind of change feels like a welcome upgrade.
If nothing else, then, Gravity Rush Remastered acts as a nice proof-of-concept for what may be possible when Gravity Rush 2 eventually arrives on the PS4. It’s by no means essential now — certainly not to the extent it is even now on the Vita — but it suggests that, at the very least, the sequel may be worth keeping an eye on.