I played the first game of this series back when it was a PSVita exclusive and, even today, I still consider it one of the best games on that system. It’s the polar opposite of what you’d call a generic game. It may not go as far as to invent a new genre but it does create its own world, its own style and its own unique mechanics to build an experience that distinguishes itself from any other games.
I value that quite a bit in video games and, since I had such a pleasant experience with the first title, I just had to support this charming little franchise and acquire the second. Here’s my review on it.
The first title was born as a Vita exclusive but then ported (or remastered) for PS4. This second one skips the release in any handheld option and is just a PS4 exclusive. That “controversial” decision is good and bad. The bad part is that I would have certainly appreciated the chance to play this title on the platform where it was initally born. On the other hand, letting go of Vita’s hardware limitations, this game can grow in scope and scale and it certainly did.
The game’s story is pretty much twice as long, there’s way more side missions which are indeed more varied gameplay-wise, the city (or should I say cities) are bigger and now they can be fully explored without any loading times. All in all, this game almost feels like it could have been called Gravity Rush2 in the way of how much more “meat” you can find in here compared to the original.
Mechanics-wise, the combat has seen some additions as well mostly in the shape of new fighting styles. They add variants to the regular gravity kicks, slides and stasis fields. In the lunar style you’ll feel more light and agile but also weaker while the Jupiter style is just the other way around. Your kicks will indeed be more powerful but you’ll lose some precision to your moves.
Other additions include a camera which will provide a pretty cool photo mode and that has plenty of use during some of the most “original” side-missions.
The game’s story still follows Kat, a young lady with the ability to switch gravity thanks to the powers granted by its magic feline companion “Dusty”. The game takes place right after the events of the original game.
If you could certainly compare the story on a game like Uncharted 4 to a blockbuster movie, when talking about Gravity Rush 2 the comparison would be to an anime tv show. Case in point, the main missions in the story are actually called episodes. Also, the game’s main four chapters do feel like separate seasons from some show. Each one has its own story arc, you get to know new characters and face different antagonists… it does really feel like playing through an anime.
Has to be said however that the game almost takes for granted that whoever plays this must have played the first game in the series. Returning characters and themes from the previous game are barely explained for any newcomers so, if you’re new to Gravity Rush, I would advice to check the first game before sinking into this or, at least, read the wiki. For those who are already fan of the previous title though will be happy to know that the game’s established lore is expanded further in Gravity Rush 2.
The game’s graphics aren’t what you’d call the most impressive within PS4’s library. They are gorgeous however. The game has a certain cel-shaded look that, with the colorful artstyle of the environment you’ll live in, makes for quite a beautiful painting to play through. The map is big in extension but what really drew me in was the magnific and exotic architecture that the creators built for this world.
The game’s performance framerate-wise, even though I’m certainly not a trained eye, looks quite stable. It has to be said however, that the game does feature some popping when flying around between the isles. Nothing game-breaking but something you’d still wish it wasn’t there.
In a very Japanese style and, like in the previous game, most of the game’s story is told in a comic-book fashion. With hand-drawn portraits talking back and forth. The characters are voiced but they’re talking a made up language anyway so you’ll have to read subtitles no matter which country you may be from.
Then there’s the soundtrack which is a masterpiece. It’s fully orchestrated and it has that charming “studio ghibli” whimsical approach to its compositions. Some of the tunes for the overworld locations can be quite catchy and it’ll be a while before I can get the Lei Colmosna BGM out of my mind.
Things I liked
- World: Not just the literal world which is indeed quite amazing but also the characters that live in it. I love Kat’s innocent personality myself. The lore inside the different places you visit. It’s really a world that you’ll want to immerse in it.
- Meaty: This is a long game and if you try and see it all it will take you a while. The main story is long enough but then there’s all those side-missions, challenges, online treasure hunts… It’s a good bang for your buck.
- Empowering: Because she has powers, get it? The thing is, using gravity powers is fun and it does make you feel quite powerful. Lifting the junk off the ground and then throwing it at your enemies. Having entire fights have place in the air, dive-kicking the life out of the navi… also, with the addition of the two new styles and how easy is to swap between them on the fly, the combat feels more dynamic than ever.
- Soundtrack: What more can I say? I loved the soundtrack. Like the game itself, it’s charming and cute but it can also be dark and, overall, it’s very well made.
Things I didn’t
- Disorienting: I guess it’s a given in a game where you can alter gravity at your will but it’s still annoying. During the more chaotic fights you’ll get disoriented trying to find your enemies and the camera can also make your work harder than needed.
Things that eh…
- Some side-missions: The side missions you’ll encounter throughout the game are quite varied and I have the give the creators props for that but, at the same time, some of the missions are fun while others feel like a chore. Completionists beware.
Who’d like this?
If you’re a fan of the first game, picking this one up is a no-brainer. It’s just how a sequel should be. Bigger and better, it has all the good of the first and then some.
If you’re new to the series I’d recommend you to play the original title before diving in this one because of some story plot points you might miss (and because it’s an awesome game). But if you don’t want to, have fun anyway. Gravity Rush 2 is loads of fun.
The only people I wouldn’t recommend this game would be anime haters. Because of the themes of the game, the way the story is told, the overall look of the game… those things might rub them the wrong way.
<You can check this game in motion here>