My story with Gravity Rush 2 began on a dreary note. I honestly never had the impulse to play it. It just sat there sitting in my game library. Even after reading reviews from across the internet (most of which probably didn’t finish the game), it still wasn’t enough to propel my enthusiasm. But one fateful night, with nothing to play, I decided to jump into it and see what kind of world it offers. From then on, I was blown away.
Gravity Rush 2 is a Sony PS4-exclusive game. The first Gravity Rush started as one of the prized titles for the PS Vita last 2012. Seeing that the franchise is best done on a more powerful medium, the execs and devs decided to bring a remastered Gravity Rush and consequently followed it up with a sequel.
I never did have the opportunity to try the first one. I did plan on buying it but I instead chose to get Persona 4: Golden instead. So this is my first foray into the franchise, having no background of the happenings of the previous game.
Going to different places with flight!
Gravity Rush 2 is set in a fictional world wherein flying is the main method of transportation. It follows the events after Gravity Rush, the story of which is told in tidbits. The player assumes the control of Kat, a “Gravity Shifter” that’s been blown away from her hometown, Hekseville, after a freak gravity storm. As a Gravity Shifter, Kat can manipulate gravity, enabling her to “fly”, pick heavy objects without effort, and stand toe to toe against hardy foes.
The cities are very vibrant and Gravity Rush 2 spares nothing to populate them with vehicles and inhabitants.
The game begins in the strange mining village of Banga. Here, the townspeople took care of Kat and her friend Syd after being recovered from a storm. After doing some mundane tasks, and subsequently recovering her powers, Kat begins her journey as the “Gravity Queen”, tackling problems across two floating cities.
Conversations in Gravity Rush 2 are told in comic book art style.
I can say that there’s no worry of missing out if you haven’t played the first game. Gravity Rush 2 is already a contained story on its own with limited influences from the prequel. However, there are some moments where-in characters from the first one are introduced and integrated into the main storyline. No biggie.
Gravity Rush 2 is as open-world as an open-world game could get. The islands presented in the cities all have distinct districts. From top to bottom, the player can use Kat to explore them and unveil their secrets. In Gravity Rush 2, the player is not limited to roads or wide open spaces. Kat’s small build helps her to glide across the spires and the alleyways. But then that’s also the problem.
More Gems, more power. The blue circle in the middle points to where the “shifting” of the gravity would be.
Instead of making things easy, the game uses “gravity shifting” and not actually “flying”. See, the player must target a point in which gravity would shift and pull. Afterwards, Kat’s vicinity, together with some objects or some ill-fated human, would then be propelled towards that point. This mechanic makes it a bit difficult compared to some free-fly games. Doing a curve or bending towards an objective isn’t as easy as turning your joystick towards that position. The player must stop mid-air and re-shift to execute a bend. It starts as an annoying way of going around, but after getting used to it, the problem then becomes the camera (more on this later).
The game certainly doesn’t lack large monstrosities and large air battles.
The game also features combat with dark entities called Nevi, and occasionally, human and robotic opponents. Pretty basic here we have a single button to dish out combos, a button for finishers, and dodge. Kat can also combine these moves while flying, making every encounter a 3D arena. Enemies also come in different varieties: some fly, some have armor, and some are just plain cannon fodder.
Some enemies have multiple “cores” that the player must destroy
To eliminate one, specific points have to be targeted, requiring a pinch of tactics and maneuvering in each fight.
Scattered across the game world are red gems which can be collected to acquire new abilities and skills. Eliminating enemies don’t reward the player with points and instead, the game encourages exploration for rewards. Also, there’s a limited equipment system that allows players to make use of three talismans to improve Kat’s attributes.
Falling from the sky (in this video game) is a breathtaking experience
Gravity Rush 2 may sound like a very basic game. It was the first impression that it gave me during the first couple of hours. Sure, zooming across the cityscape was fun but the combat was limited. After playing more, I found it to be engaging and the story developing faster than what I was expecting. It also did have some surprising shoves that made the game all the more better.
But first, the bad stuff. The camera is incredibly wonky in narrow corridors. It’s pretty obvious that limiting a game about flying would not fare well in constricted spaces. In one level, I became nauseous as it became hard to determine which is the ground, and the camera wasn’t quite very cooperative. Some missions are also quite repetitive, especially the challenge ones. While I get that they’re there to test the player’s new found abilities and act as tutorials, constantly repeating them all over the game makes them appear like forced chores.
Now to the good. What does the game give after playing it? For me, it’s the music and art, the story, and the ending. The music and art does blend well and while Gravity Rush 2 isn’t a champion when it comes to mind-blowing vistas, the color and style makes it memorable. Music, well, let’s just say that it appeared to be like a masterwork from Disney or Studio Ghibli.
Even until the end, falling and seeing the sights doesn’t get old.
The story isn’t as heavy as one would think. It’s light but also doesn’t shy away by pulling punches. Gravity Rush 2 is full of surprises. I’ll just leave it at that.
One other thing, Gravity Rush 2 is one of the games that made me remember old games that unlock the true ending. I liked it when the game subtly told the player that there’s another ending, albeit, with more difficulty. It’s one of the games that really tested the player’s ability and in the end, caps everything with a well-done closure.
Finally, it is without a doubt, that Gravity Rush 2 is the first great 2017 game for me. The good parts sum up together, making a finished product that’s whole, interesting, and complete. If you have a Sony PS4, it’s best to try this out and enjoy. It’s a light-hearted story that is heavy with content, emotions, and things to do.
With all that said, Gravity Rush 2 deserves a meaty seal of approval. Hopefully, this could be the start of a good year for the video game industry.