When I think back to all the games that should have gotten a sequel in Sony’s history but never did, I’m reminded of some amazing IPs that, sadly, we may never see again. Thankfully, with the release of Gravity Rush 2, we don’t have to add another to that list, and it casts hope on the future of the series.
After saving the floating village of Hekseville from a chaotic gravity storm, our protagonist Kat from the original game awakens in the strange mining settlement of Banga. Having lost the power to control gravity, and missing her space kitty partner Dusty, as well as fellow gravity shifter Raven, Kat comes to terms with living life as a miner in the Banga settlement with Syd. Taken in by Lisa and made to work, Kat and Syd live in the hope that they can get back to Hekseville; until Kat finds Dusty with the help of Cecie and her powers return. But the looming threat of the Nevi appearing from gravity storms again and Kat and Syd return to form to save the day.
Gravity Rush was quite a unique IP for the Playstation Vita when it was released. The ability to shift and control gravity was a strange and sometimes frustrating mechanic to master, but made for some interesting gameplay. Now making its way onto the PS4 (rest in peace Vita), Gravity Rush 2 takes everything that the first game did well and builds on it, leading to what is ultimately a much better experience.
With the increased processing power of the PS4, everything looks more vibrant and bright; the world feels fuller and there is more to explore. The major floating city of Jirga Para Lhao is a bustling hive of activity, and every aspect of it yearns to be explored – which presents a challenge, given that it is 2.5 times larger than the original. Add some great atmospheric music and sound effects, and you’ve got a guaranteed timewaster when not playing missions; Half of the time I spent playing just involved zooming across the city seeking out gems to upgrade and generally having fun exploring the different sections with Kat’s gravity powers.
Speaking of which, newer players may find Kat a bundle of chaos to control until you truly get the hang of her. The game does slowly introduce you to her powers (meaning less accidents than normal) but what it doesn’t warn you of is the fact that motion controls are active from the moment you start, meaning you will more than likely throw Kat in the wrong direction and accidentally down into the abyss. The controls are relatively simple enough and motion controls can be toned down in the menu meaning the game doesn’t read your control’s motion, which is a life saver.
Kat has a range of powers that are easy to control but difficult to truly master – from simple gravity control, to sliding across landscapes, throwing objects and kicking enemies in mid-air. Each power can be upgraded with gems found across the city (or in mining sidequests) which gives you better control over the powers and how you use them. Kat is given two additional play styles which help players – Luna Mode, which makes her lighter and easier to control for newcomers, and Jupiter Mode, which allows more skilled players to take control and add greater effect to her combat style.
One of the biggest issues I found in the game wasn’t the gravity controls (although many people will be totally thrown off by them) but the lack of waypoints or direction during certain missions; occasionally Kat will be tasked to find someone or something, and spend ages aimlessly wandering around without so much as a sentence to try and help you perform the task. This led to me being frustrated as even flying up and looking around with Kat’s gravity powers yielded nothing. The ability to set waypoints between missions is a useful tool but the fact that this disappears in missions is a real annoyance.
There’s quite a lot of online functionality in Gravity Rush 2. Firstly, the photo mode in the game allows you to take photos of Kat or your surroundings at any given time. You can upload these photos to gain Dusty Tokens, which can be used for a variety of rewards.
Treasure is hidden in apple shaped boxes around the town. You’ll be able to get hints to their whereabouts using photos provided by other games. Further to this, you can also take photos of the said treasure to help other players out. Doing so will also get you rewards.
Challenges were one of the best parts of Gravity Rush and they’ve been improved with Ghost Challenges in Gravity Rush 2. You can play against the ghosts of other players. Sure, it’s asynchronous but it’s still a ton of fun to put your skills to use.
You can also hunt various mines in Gravity Rush 2. Information provided by other players will let you know just how valuable these mines are. Mining will gain you Talismans. Talismans provide Kat with additional powers such as being able to deal more damage, ability to find more gems, auto-recover health among many other powers.
Gravity Rush has a compelling narrative and gameplay reminiscent of some of Sony’s best titles of years past, and some very intuitive character controls. Gravity Rush 2 is a return to form that I don’t think I’ve seen in games in a long time. It has heart and soul, and is genuinely fun to play. Gravity Rush 2 is not for the fainthearted gamer; the controls and gameplay will frustrate many people, but in the end the payoff is worth it.