Gravity Rush 2 Review (PS4)

Defy laws of physics and gravitate toward fun times with Gravity Rush 2. A charming and lighthearted package that doubles down on the good but also on the bad of the first game.

Gravity Rush 2 Review (PS4).

Introduction

The original Gravity Rush was a fun little game, but it was held back by the platform it was initially released on, the Playstation Vita. It was later remastered for the PlayStation 4 but although it was given a visual facelift and brought up to constant 60fps it was still limited in scope by its Vita roots. Now with Gravity Rush 2 being developed for the Playstation 4 from the get go it really shows as it keeps the feel and charm of the first game while expanding and improving it in every way. The game is full of surprises, quirky characters, and funny missions. It feels indie in its concept, but AAA in its quality.

Gravity Rush 2 is available for purchase on the Playstation Store for $59,99.

STORY

The story of the game picks up right after the first one. The protagonist, Kat is sucked into a gravity storm that transports her into another world of floating islands where the majority of the game takes place, although you spend a fair amount of time in Hekseville, the city from the first Gravity Rush. The story is pretty confusing to follow unless you played the first game, as many characters return and many past events are referenced. Even if you did play the first game, you will still have a hard time following the story as it is mostly presented through comic book text panels followed by quiet gasps, grunts and Sims like sounds.

Gravity Rush 2 Review (PS4). Display of power

The game tries to be too many things at once, it is lighthearted and not serious for the most part, but then it tries to tackle serious issues like class inequality and it falls flat due to a bland presentation and shallow and forgettable characters. As previously mentioned, many characters return from the first game and you will remember them only because you will spend a lot of time with them (read: they will give you missions) as they don't actually do or say anything interesting. Kat is by far the most interesting character and you will probably enjoy playing with her and sometimes even giggle at her naive, helping and goofy nature. Raven is a supporting character with similar gravity skill set as Kat and is maybe the only standout character beside her, even getting her own DLC later in march.

Overall, the story is split into three chapters, first one dealing with finding your way in a strange new world and tackling society inequality, the second one brings most of the supporting characters from the first game and reunites them, and third one tries to wrap up most of the dangling plot threads and delves into Kat's past and origin. The story serves its purpose and the ending is pretty satisfying but it is still forgettable and it only exaggerates the feeling that the game would benefit greatly had the story been presented with real voice overs and animated cutscenes.

GAMEPLAY

As is its namesake, the game revolves around the mechanic of gravity control. The protagonist can control her own gravity and that of the objects around her. So when she is flying, she's not actually flying but falling. Falling up into the sky. It is difficult to translate into words but it works very well and it feels satisfying to control. Falling instead of flying is what makes a hop to a nearby store fun and challenging at the same time as you will need to get used to the system and even when you do, you will still sometimes go all over the place. Good thing is, when that happens it rarely feels frustrating as it can lead to an even more, satisfying display of your traversal abilities.

It's surprising on the developers part that they decided to start the game with Kat without her powers as it is the first thing you want to play with when starting the game. After you get your powers the world opens up and you can tackle many many story and side activities which are fun for the most part but exist only as an excuse for Kat to use her powers. The world seems tailored for people with control over gravity and it doesn't really make sense for regular citizens. Their quality of life must have improved when the Kat popped into the place to solve their problems. And solve their problems you will as side missions consist of helping to stop gangs, transport people, find missing children, organize parties for rich people, sell ice cream, pop balloons and other. Mini-stories contained in these side missions are often predictable, but also funny and more interesting than the story missions as they make more creative use of different Kat's abilities and play into her clueless personality.

Gravity Rush 2 Review (PS4). Big wonderous world
New abilities and moves are introduced at a good pace and just as you get used to one power, a new one will be introduced to mix up the game and keep you on your toes. Throughout the story and some side missions, the main enemies of the game are the Nevi, a monstrous tentacled race that came back from the first game. You will also fight your fair share of human opponents. Neither of these is very challenging as the Nevi conveniently have big bright, red orbs on them that serve as their weak spots. You hit those a couple times and you win. Later stages of the game add armored, flying, and many other Nevi variations and even huge bosses so you don't feel overpowered as more of your powers are unlocked.

That being said, despite the games best effort to spice up the combat, it still feels repetitive as you will mostly smash into the enemy weak points. It can feel great when you get a good rhythm of defeating them one after another, but miss one too many times and the pace of the combat slows down to a crawl and they drag out more than they should. There are also stealth segments which I found unnecessary as they ground you and effectively kill the best thing about the game – movement and freedom. It is without a doubt the most fun you will have in Gravity Rush, moving around and exploring the world with Kat feels great. You will praise the missions that give you context to move and traverse the world in new and exciting ways. Outside of missions, you will spend many hours collecting gems scattered all over the world that you use to upgrade Kat's powers. This is extremely fun and addicting as they really are everywhere and to find them you will have to think in all directions and really search every nook and cranny to get them all.

GRAPHICS AND SoUND

Charming is the word I would best use to describe the way Gravity Rush looks, the cell shaded cartoon like graphics really look great. The textures are sharp and detailed, framerate is stable and the floating islands offer a sense of wonder and amazement as great care was given to making them feel populated, purposeful and social class oriented which plays into the game's story. What is there isn't very interactive but this game isn't about environment interactivity but more about the look and feel and it absolutely nails it in that regard.
Gravity Rush 2 Review (PS4). Kat and Raven 

As I already mentioned, the sound in regard to characters and story presentation leaves much to be desired. Characters sound like Sims, and you can interact with them using simple gestures that only makes them Sim out on you even more. In any other game this would be a huge negative, but here, it kinda grows on you after a while and adds to the overall charm but I can't shake the feeling that at least the important story segments could have been voiced or turned into fully animated cutscenes. The music contributes to the lighthearted feel of the game but it is nothing that will make you buy the soundtrack and listen to it on your mp3. 

CONCLUSION

Gravity Rush 2 deserved a sequel, and it got one with a higher budget and on a more powerful system and it really shows. With that being said, the game is a mixed bag. It has many great qualities and a unique concept that elevates it above other rehashed franchises. In that concept lies its greatest strength and its greatest weakness. If you don't buy into the whole falling to fly and controlling gravity, there isn't much else to look at as the game builds itself on top of that mechanic.
 If you do like the concept, you will find that the game still has many issues but where in other games they would mean a deal breaker, here somehow, they simply add to the charm of the game world. I'm sure Gravity Rush 2, like its predecessor, will go over many people's heads, since to the uninformed it will look like a simple indie title not worth your time. I know this because I went into it with this kind of expectations and instead found a fun game filled with surprises and a fresh idea that kept me entertained for a long time.
PROSCONS
+ Fun and addicting movement– Uninspired combat
+ Lots of missions and activities– Confusing and poorly presented story
+ Charming graphics
– Forgettable supporting characters
+ Main character
8
Great

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