Gravity Rush 2 Review – Impossible to Put Down (PS4)
Gravity Rush was one of the premier PlayStation Vita exclusives and happened to be rather groundbreaking for the time. The next chapter in Kat’s story is here, and it sadly will not drop on to the Vita. The series has gravitated toward the PS4, and it fits on the big screen quite well. The screen-size isn’t the only element to Gravity Rush 2 that was enlarged; the game maps, side missions, and overall scope grew as well. With so much packed in to this sequel, the developer risks overcompensating for any past issues. Then again, devs are often damned if they don’t change enough or damned if they change too much. Question is, however, with all of these adjustments, does Gravity Rush 2 soar to the sky or plummet like a rock?
New People to Save, Same Gravity Problems
Kat may have saved Hekseville from their plight during the gravity storms, but these storms aren’t done with Kat and her friends yet. A gravity storm sucks up Kat, Syd, Dusty, and Raven and deposits them on the other side of the world. Kat and Syd wake up in Banga, a floating mining village. If they want to stay with the miners, they have to work and mine the dangerous world below for ore. The rule of Banga is if you don’t pull your weight, you lose weight, something Kat has been learning all too well. Since she’s lost Dusty, and thus, her powers, Kat is working harder than she has in a very long time.
Of course, Kat does reunite with Dusty, and of course she finds Raven and goes on a quest to save the Council-oppressed peoples of this part of the world. Unfortunately, the story is mostly your typical haves pushing the have-nots into the lower recesses of the world and forcing them to lick the scraps from their boots. This theme is heavily prevalent in anime and numerous Japanese games to the point it’s almost as overdone as zombies.
These new people and places, though, all suffer from the same issue Kat faced in Hekseville: the gravity storms. Everyone still relies upon grav-energy to keep afloat above the perilous storms ravaging the earth below. The higher the islands sit in the atmosphere, the wealthier the inhabitants. They can afford the air ships to travel and escape the storms, whereas the slums far below beg for any way to work to get the food and fuel needed to survive.
This Is Heavy, Doc
In order to help the downtrodden, Kat has to use every trick in her book thanks to Dusty to fend off the Council’s forces. Players of the original game will feel right at home with her float-and-fly method of travel, her ground combos, the Gravity Kicks, and the Gravity Throws. This time around, the Gravity Throws got the lift they really needed to be formidable. I rarely used this ability in the first game, but this became my main go-to with attacking virtually everything.
The camera is, once again, just awful when it comes to flying around, which is another reason why I’m grateful for the Gravity Throw improvements. While Kat flails in the air–it’s still so jarring to watch–the camera still has difficulty locking in place. It’s not so bad when you’re simply exploring an area, but while fighting numerous soldiers, it becomes vertigo-inducing. Since there’s no lock-on option for targets, Kat also suffered quite a bit from hurling a Gravity Kick toward God knows what. If I had to fight, I preferred to stay on the ground with kicks and Gravity Throws. I would only leap in the air if I really had to or if it was time to launch a special attack. With Kat airborne, I yelled more often than not, “Where are you going?” as she would fling herself in the direction I most certainly didn’t want her to go.
Think of that, with the poor camera, and then mix in stealth missions. Thank goodness the AI was so dumb with those missions, or I never would have finished a single one.
Later in the game, Kat learns two new methods to shift gravity: Lunar and Jupiter. With the Lunar style, Kat can make the gravity even lighter than before, enabling higher jumps and new versions of Gravity Kick and Gravity Throw. Conversely, Jupiter style makes the gravity even heavier. Kat will walk like she’s trudging through molasses in January with ten-pound shackles on her ankles, but her attacks deal far more damage. Both styles have their uses, depending upon if you need speed or heavy blows, and it’s fun to experiment with them, particularly with boss fights.
Gravitating Toward Extras
If one played through all of the extras in the first Gravity Rush, the average play time was anywhere between 14 and 18 hours. With all of the extras crammed in the sequel, it will easily consume 40-plus hours. The number of side missions has vastly increased, but there are now mining activities, treasure hunts, online races, and challenge missions, just to name a few. I found the side missions to mostly be rather worthless in terms of gaining experience and gems to enhance abilities. The side missions were mainly for bonding with the rest of the cast of characters and learning more about them. I found the side missions useful early on as great ways to practice Kat’s abilities, but they weren’t useful for much else.
Instead, it’s the challenge missions, treasure hunts, and mining trips that really paid off the extra time spent. With these extras, Kat could earn tidy sums of precious gems and really level up. The mining trips are also the best ways to find rare talismans to equip for enhanced abilities.
The largest extra in Gravity Rush is also the newest, and that’s the presence of online missions. There is no multiplayer, but players can still interact with one another with treasure hunts, photo mode, and ghost races. When photo mode unlocks, players can take photos wherever they wish. These photos will be uploaded to the game’s servers, and then they might appear in other players’ worlds. If another player finds one of your photos (left at the spot where you took the snapshot), they can review it for Dusty Tokens. If you receive a good mark on your photo, then you’ll receive Dusty Tokens.
Photo mode is also used in treasure hunts, which are another online feature. When a player finds a treasure, they can take a photo as a clue and upload it. The photo will randomly be distributed to other players, and if a player uses your photo to find the treasure, you’ll receive more Dusty Tokens. Dusty Tokens are also rewards in the ghost races, where players will race ghosts of other players. These precious Dusty Tokens are currency for various rewards that can only be bought with Dusty Tokens.
Gravity Rush 2 lacks quite a bit in the story department, even with the side missions, but the improved combat and series-unique exploration make it difficult to put the game down. Even when Kat’s flailings are incredibly annoying and detrimental, and even with the awful stealth missions, it’s even more difficult to not have fun this adventure. Previous experience isn’t required either, as Kat basically has to learn everything all over from the beginning anyway. If Gravity Rush was always a game you meant to get into, there’s no better place to start than Gravity Rush 2.
Gravity Rush 2 review code provided by publisher. For more information on scoring please see our Review Policy here.