Kat is back in Gravity Rush 2, and with more unpredictable physics than ever before! The sequel to the darling of the Vita hits the PS4, with some new powers, new environments and all the gravity-shifting you can throw a stick at.
Game: Gravity Rush 2
Developer: SIEJ/Project Siren
Reviewed on: PS4 (Review code provided)
Gravity Rush was undoubtedly for many the highlight of the PS Vita’s library, with its unique gravity shifting abilities proving to be a hit for people, along with its wonderful graphical style. A bit of a legacy, then, for Gravity Rush 2 to live up to. For the most part it holds its own, with a few caveats. Set during the aftermath of a huge gravitational storm, GR2 kicks off with the original game’s heroine Kat working for a mining company in a strange floating city. Surrounded by a crew of people and a boss who is as mysterious as she is harsh, Kat’s aim is to find out what happened to her friends, and eventually get back to the floating village of Hekesville.
I should state now that due to a number of factors, I’ve yet to finish the game. I fully intend on doing so, and will update this review accordingly when I have hit the credits. That said, I have really enjoyed the numerous hours that I’ve had with the game so far.
Mechanically, Gravity Rush 2 is one of the more dense games I’ve played. Having not been overly familiar with the first outing, it was a bit of a shock to see just how much there is to do within the game, but it was somewhat of a relief to see that the tutorialising that is done at the start doesn’t beat you over the head with everything, instead easing you into each new method that will be used to literally turn your world upside down. Kat’s abilities range from “straightforward” gravity shifting (for basic traversal as well as some incredible aerial attacks), to whirlwinds of devastation caused by sections of the environment being hurled at enemies thanks to Kat’s stasis fields. There is something remarkable about just how many ways there are to tackle each individual puzzle and battle within the game, even though some of the enemy types and patterns start to feel a little repetitive after a while.
That leads me on to the combat, and the sheer volume of upgrades and tweaks available to Kat throughout her story. There’s a huge amount of new moves, combos and abilities that are just a few (thousand) gems away, and that’s before you even get to the differing strengths of gravity available. Lunar gravity will make things lighter and more floaty, whilst Jupiter Mode will increase the gravity to a point where everything feels incredibly heavy. These also shift up your alternative attacks, with a personal favourite being the Jupiter modification to the Gravity Throw, producing an enormous ball of debris that hurtles toward your foes at astonishing speeds.
There is also a hell of a lot to do in and around the world map. With an area over twice the size of the original Gravity Rush, the world definitely appears more thriving and full of life. Unfortunately, some of the side missions don’t quite live up to their main storyline counterparts, with some of them reaching the “Extremely mundane” category (Fling newspapers at increasingly far away people, over and over again). There are some cool ideas hidden away in some of the side missions but they get a little bit bogged down in some mediocrity. In fact, there was one that made me feel a little uncomfortable, where an old man asked Kat to head round the town and take photos of (admittedly consenting) beautiful women to “help ward off evil spirits”. There’s a line that was very, very close to being crossed, particularly with the way that Kat is written as a character, coming across as naïve to the point of being taken advantage of by practically everyone she comes across. I’m hoping this isn’t the case towards the late game stages, as there’s a very interesting character that’s waiting to be fleshed out in some really great ways hiding behind somewhat frustrating dialogue.
I don’t want to delve too much into the story, for the sole reason that I have yet to finish it completely, as well as avoiding spoilers for the amount I have played. There are two comments I want to make though. The first is that there are some pacing issues with the main story. I spent a huge amount of time in one of the city areas looking for the next main story mission, but it only unlocked after completing one specific side mission. It would have been nice to have a pointer that this one would’ve pushed things forward in the narrative. The other is that the game handles things such as class divides and the inequality of wealth in ways that could be considered blunt at the best of times. It’s obviously played up for some comic effect, but I feel that a little more subtlety wouldn’t have gone amiss.
One thing that definitely isn’t subtle, however, is GR2’s art style. Its cel-shaded look is complemented brilliantly by the 3D art that’s all around you, and some of the effects on the powers look fantastic. The neon glow that surrounds Kat as she floats through the sky is as subtle as a brick through a window, and it’s a wonderful sight.
Gravity Rush 2 is a great neon-infused romp that, whilst not perfect, does everything right by fans of the original. Mechanically complex whilst never feeling overwhelming, the feeling of floating round the sky at high speed before landing a devastating combo on one of your enemies feels incredible, and whilst the story suffers from some pacing issues, it’s a game that’s as fun as it is fast and furious.