Ever had one of those dreams where you’re endlessly falling from an unknown space to the ground, ever-falling but never landing? Well, the latest adventure game from Sony’s in-house studio lets you relive those ephemeral fantasies, all in a unique French comic-influenced universe with a cheery upbeat protagonist and a colourful cast of characters.
But most importantly, its gravity-shifting premise is its main hook that keeps you invested. Our protagonist Kat has the power to change up her center of gravity, meaning that she can float mid-air, walk on ceilings and walls, and dash fast via a Gravity Slide maneuver. And when needed, she can revert back to normal gravity and free-fall her way down fast.
There’s a really great sense of rhythm to the controls; almost like riding a bike for the first time. You will stumble and fall, but you’ll get the hang of it in a few hours and be a gravity-shifting boss in no time. While all of that was in the first Gravity Rush game, its potential to go beyond was limited. With Gravity Rush 2, however, it breaks that barrier.
The Best Kind Of Fall Guy (Or Girl In This Case)
A bit of context in case you missed the first game: our gravity-shifting protagonist Kat started out as an amnesiac and eventually became the heroine of the city of Hekseville. She also befriended a rival named Raven, who also wields gravity powers. Together, they protect Hekseville from the threat of the Nevi, an alien race of bulbous blob things that have red jewel weak spots. During the events of the Gravity Rush Overture animated short, Kat and Raven uncover a nefarious plot which led them to getting sucked through a gravity vortex. And their former cop buddy Syd gets caught in the crossfire too.
Gravity Rush 2 picks off from those series of events: Kat and Syd, separated from Raven and her gravity power-giving cat Dusty, are stuck doing mining duty in a floating mining colony. And no, you won’t be gravity-shiftless for long; have patience. All the important bits of the story are told in lovely-drawn and presented comic form. We do hope that a collection of these can be found in the game’s official art book for us to view over and over again.
Eventually, you’ll end up in a new bright town called Jirga Para Lhao where social issues are plaguing it from within. The story goes into gradual and expected twist and turns through three acts. The epic plot deals with class divide and eventual warfare, robots and police states, corrupt politicians, and even Kat’s origins – a story point most-requested by the first game’s fans. Every loose end is tied up here, in case you’re scared that the story might end up with an anti-climax like the last game.
What also hit the story out of the ball park is its characters. My personal favourite tidbit is how Kat and Raven get along as a pair. Like the best duos of pop culture entertainment such as Murtaugh/Riggs in Lethal Weapon and Faith/Buffy in Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Kat’s chippy attitude and black-and-white outlook balances out Raven’s stoicness and rational thinking.
It’s not just the story that’s jam-packed. As Gravity Rush 2 is an open world game, you’ll most likely be gravity shifting and “flying” around Jirga Para Lhao, take on sidequests and just collect red jewels scattered around. Yes, the main story is there to complete at your leisure, and it’s imperative to finish most of it to get Kat’s new Gravity Style powers.
But there’s a lot of bonus content like stat-boosting and ability-granting talismans, as well as entertaining side stories that flesh out the town’s districts and culture. Your missions are variable, ranging from being a stuntwoman for a dodgy film company to taking picures for a dirty old man. There’s even a bit where you infiltrate a military base at one point, then end up being a jazz singer in what could be the game’s charming standout moment. While there are a few duds, most of the missions are fun and entertaining, and makes you want to stay in the world.
If you rather take a break from free-falling around the city, there are those lovely, shiny red jewels to gather that’s scattered throughout and even under the city. You’ll need those jewels to power up Kat’s abilities, ranging from more combos for her kick attacks to having a longer-lasting special attack. There’s also an online mode where you can attempt in-game challenges like Treasure Hunts from other PSN users for extra rewards, which in turn you can pass on to. If they complete your challenges, you also get a bonus reward too. It’s a neat little ecosystem that encourages people to play along and also boost some life into the game after you’re done with the main story.
Daze Gone By
Speaking of styles, Kat can shift between three styles of Gravity powers: Normal, Lunar, and Jupiter. Normal lets you do the usual tracking Gravity kick and makes you move at an agile pace. Lunar makes you glide and float as though you’re on the moon. You can jump & dash super high without expending Gravity energy but you float and drop real slow when gravity shifting. Jupiter style heightens your gravity to the extreme. You accelerate really REALLY fast when gravity shifting but move really slow on the ground.
The latter two styles are what makes the game too. You’ll have to switch between styles to better suit the situation. Too many armored Nevis and machines? Switch to Jupiter style to do area-of-effect Gravity Kicks and summon a black hole as a coup de grace. Fast enemies with tracking projectiles getting you down? Switch to Lunar style and warp kick your way to victory. Many of Gravity Rush 2’s story missions lock you to a style as a test; they’re really fun to play through as a result as well as teach you a thing or two about the style.
Great examples include gravity-shifting on glass panels while in Jupiter style, and the many aerial boss fights that require you to switch styles and know when to gravity shift. You even fight one enemy who grounds you quick if you even so much get up in the air, so you have to kick, dodge, and Stasis Field throw your way out of it. And seeing those finishers from Kat and Raven whenever the bosses are close to dead never get old: it’s like a hyper-stylized tag-team version of a magical girl anime finishing strike.
No Rush For Fun
Not everything is rosey and colorful as Kat’s disposition and surroundings. In this day and age where stealth missions have evolved thanks to the contributions of the Metal Gear series, it’s disheartening to know that a fraction of Gravity Rush 2’s stealth sections feel a bit outdated. You don’t have much of an indicator whether you fail or not, and you have no idea how to ace it until multiple fails and playthroughs; it’s trial and error for these stages.
Because Kat has a lot of tools at her disposal, combat can get a little easy especially if you know which power-ups to get and exploit (hint: Stasis Field for the win). While the aforementioned boss fights are gratifying and challenging, most of the time you won’t find that many roadblocks with the regular Nevis and enemies.
Some technical issues also crop up like environment building textures and objects occasionally loading up a tad slow when Kat gets to a new district. And when you’re fighting in tight spaces, especially in one story mission where you get one of your Gravity Styles, the camera goes all over the place to the point where it’s nausea-inducing.
These are minor blemishes in an otherwise fascinating and endearing adventure experience. The fact remains that Gravity Rush 2 is a tremendous improvement over its predecessor. It’s epic in scope, coupled with colorful aesthetics and pleasing soundscape. Plus, the gravity shifting mechanics make it stand out above the rest.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
Sony starts strong with its first major release of 2017. Awkward camerawork and odd stealth stages can’t tarnish our delightful jaunt into Jirga Para Lhao and beyond.
Gameplay - 8/10
Story - 10/10
Presentation - 9/10
Value - 8/10
User Review( votes)
Jonathan is an avid self-proclaimed connoisseur of films, video games, music & comics. Prefers screwdrivers over martinis. Fears oblivion.