On paper, Gravity Rush sounds like a concept that can be easily botched if it isn’t properly designed, and yet, JAPANStudio managed to pull it off. It’s a very niche game, it’s not terribly well-known, but it’s one of the Playstation Vita’s best games. It managed to do well enough to spawn a port to the Playstation 4, and a full-fledged sequel to be released in the following year. Gravity Rush 2 is finally out, taking everything the first game did well and doing it better, with some truly fantastic additions. Unfortunately, Gravity Rush 2 also inherits some problems from the first game, with a disjointed story, a monotonous third act, and a camera that occasionally tries to work against you. Still, Gravity Rush 2 is a really enjoyable time if you’re willing to get past its downfalls.
A Story of Two Shifters
Gravity Rush 2 takes place after the events of the first game, following protagonist Kat and her friend Syd trying to make a living in Jirga Para Lhao. I don’t want to go too in-depth about the context in order to avoid spoilers for the first game, because I highly recommend that you play through the original Gravity Rush before you play 2. Gravity Rush 2 doesn’t exactly follow one over-arching story line, it’s more multiple smaller arcs spread across 3 acts. This causes for the game to feel pretty disjointed at times, and while it’s easy to follow, I can’t help but feel it caused a few loose ends that weren’t properly concluded. It’s unfortunate, because the way Gravity Rush 2 handles it’s characters and storytelling is excellent, with likeable characters like Kat, Syd, Lisa, and Raven taking the limelight, and drawing you in with their varied personalities. Much like the first game, Gravity Rush 2 is told through an art style that’s most similar to manga. You read through comic panels, as the story unfolds page by page. It truly keeps Gravity Rush unique, and it’s done extremely well, making for a very charming way to flesh out the story and characters. It’s definitely not a terrible story, but much like the first game, it’s definitely not great either.
The Power of Gravity
Gravity Rush 2 is definitely at its strongest when you’re allowed to freely roam its beautiful world, and there’s always something to do. NPCs with side-quests and small talk are scattered across Jirga Para Lhao’s vertically arranged islands, and completing them and/or exploring is when Gravity Rush 2 is at its finest. It’s easy to get drawn in and lost into the world, and while the plots of the side-quests are small, the NPCs have enough personality and energy to make you care about them and what you’re doing, and I look forward to jumping back in to complete the rest. The main story on the other hand is a bit of a mixed bag, some is good, some is okay, and some is just straight up boring. Early on, the story missions are simple but enjoyable, and there are some truly wondrous environments you get the opportunity to explore. It starts showing signs of weakness in its early stealth missions, and while they aren’t overly frustrating, I found myself hoping I wouldn’t see them again. The third act of the game is easily the weakest in terms of gameplay, with one extremely monotonous stealth mission (sigh), and 2 very slow, boring boss fights which includes the final boss. Speaking of which, boss fights for the most part are handled very well, and they genuinely make for some good moments except for the few I mentioned earlier. Gravity shifting still works the same way it did in Gravity Rush, with a few new additions which greatly enhance the experience of having power over gravity. The controls are slick, and flying through Jirga Para Lhao at high speeds is as thrilling as it was travelling through Hekseville from the first game. Kat has the ability to create a stasis field, enabling her to throw objects at her enemies, human or otherwise, or if you want you can make use of her kick combos returning from the first game. Gravity Rush 2 never proved truly difficult until some of the latter missions, and even then all it took was one or two more attempts to finish it off. Gravity Rush 2’s single biggest change to game play comes in the form of Gravity Styles. Kat will slowly but surely unlock 3 different Gravity Styles she can use, all effecting how she shifts gravity, how she jumps and how she fights. They’re extremely well implemented, and after some practice, I found myself swapping between styles, both in and out of combat to best fit my current situation. All of them feel fleshed out, and they’re all very useful in their own ways. One other thing Gravity Rush 2 does very well is the design of its open world. As I mentioned earlier, Jirga Para Lhao is a very vertical map, with different floating islands to explore, further enhancing how good it feels to control gravity over the course of the game. While exploring, Precious Gems can be found scattered across Jirga Para Lhao, allowing you to further upgrade Kat’s abilities. It’s addicting to just explore the world and collect Gems, and trust me, there are plenty to collect.
The Sky’s the Limit
I played Gravity Rush 2 on the Playstation 4 Pro, and it was a gorgeous experience from start to finish. The game looks absolutely stunning in 4K, and there were a few moments where I had to stop myself and take in the environment. The colours pop, and the different islands make for unique and varied environments. While Gravity Rush 2 looks fantastic, it unfortunately runs at 30FPS, but it was a very consistent 30FPS, with no drops whatsoever throughout my 8 hour experience. What I did experience however, were camera issues, and while they were inconsistent, they got in the way and I found them to be very annoying. Finally, the game isn’t technically flawless either, I got stuck on a loading screen forever, and had to restart my game in order to start playing again, but that’s just one blemish on an otherwise technically sound game.
Gravity Rush 2, much like its predecessor, suffers from a slew of issues that undeniably bring the experience down, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad game. If anything, Gravity Rush 2 is a good game, and a vast improvement in terms of gameplay from the first. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Gravity Rush 2 when it was at its best, exploring the city, collecting precious gems, and helping people complete side quests. New additions to gameplay such as the new Gravity Styles and the fantastic design of the over-world also keep the game fun and entertaining. If you enjoyed the first game, I highly recommend Gravity Rush 2, and if you think you can look past its faults, there is a very enjoyable experience to be found gravity shifting across Jirga Para Lhao on the Playstation 4.
-Great characters and story telling
-Gravity Styles feel fleshed out and properly implemented
-Incredibly well designed open world
-Gravity Shifting is even better
-Stunning visuals and 4K
-Monotonous third act
-One infinite loading screen
Thanks for reading guys, over the next week I’ll be putting up a few articles on something relevant at the time, so keep an eye out for those! I also might do an article on the Switch pretty soon too. Thanks again, and have a good day.