Gravity Rush has managed to become a cult classic on the Playstation Vita that despite having the means for a sequel many never expected it. On its own merit Gravity Rush was a great starting point for a franchise that managed to introduce us to memorable characters, and an interesting setting, but it also left enough mystery that the story could continue. Gravity Rush 2 takes this and continues to help the franchise rise to new heights, exploring more of the past, as well as a gripping new narrative and world.
Gravity Rush 2 begins with Kat and Syd stuck in a small mining village after being sucked in by a Gravity Storm, she is powerless and is forced to mine in order to eat. This section of being powerless is held onto for a brief moment, but before long Dusty returns and you are free to soar through the skies. This then sets the stage to explore the brand new setting of Jirga Para Lhao, wherein Kat must navigate a world of class warfare while trying to find her way home and stop a corrupt government.
Japan Studio have once again managed to build a captivating world and story that keeps you invested, while dealing with many social and political issues that help to further flesh out some of the more realistic qualities of the set pieces. The overall journey of this game is also handled with a lot of care, further evolving the central characters, and creating many interesting moments including some unexpected twists.
Gravity Rush 2 manages to go bigger and better than its predecessor, in harnessing the capabilities of Sony’s major console over their underperforming handheld, the game winds up going above and beyond in creating a vastly superior world. The games newest setting is both more lively then Hekseville but also manages to be a whole lot brighter and an often more interesting world to navigate. Seeing how the game manages to define class by where people live in the world builds a certain sympathy towards those less fortunate.
Jirga Para Lhao is a huge city that expands across many different layers, the less fortunate are lost beneath the clouds while the rich live high up on stunning islands. Traveling between such places even takes a lengthy amount of time which really highlighted some of the interesting points of the worlds design. The size of this particular playground even provided a greater amount of room to truly play with Kat’s gravity powers as you travelled the expansive world.
Beyond the expanse of the world Gravity Rush 2 has seen many other improvements which greatly help to improve the experience. The main story missions act as only a minor part of the games overall length, Gravity Rush 2 manages to run for over fifteen hours, with most of the games length being made up by a wide variety of Side Quests. Comparably to the last game where side activities were practically non-existent if you did not want to do challenges, now the entire world is covered in varying activities to do between story missions.
Side Quests range in many varying ways often lending themselves well as training activities for some key story missions. Often however these make for nice distractions to tell deep stories or use some of the games smaller mechanics, there is one for instance where you must help a young boy find several locations based off an old photograph. Or another where you need to take photos of beautiful women for an old man, attempt to deliver an odorous package, or a wide variety of stealth missions. There is often a good amount within these missions to keep you busy and offer a more unique style, and some of the smaller stories within them are often well thought out or just funny.
This game is at its best when its side quests work more towards telling an important story which presents evolution for the characters involved, these moments help to highlight the strengths of the game. Even in some of the lesser quests the stories told help to further build the world and show how Kat’s involvement helps to build better characters, such as with a rich father trying to stop his daughter marrying a poor man because he thinks the poor man is after his money. The resolution to this particular quest is memorable and ties in well with the games exploration of social and political issues. There are many quests that are truly captivating by the importance of their narrative and how it affects each character.
For every really good activity there are often a selection of really annoying tasks to complete, there is one where you need to escort a dog to find its toy and then proceed to make it happy by playing with it with broken physics. You also get to race a seagull which was tiresome, and one instance where you need to dress up as a new hero to promote an ice cream store. These are still good distractions that help with world building and tell other characters stories but they are never fun to actually play.
Despite the original Gravity Rush being a relatively enjoyable experience, one of the big problems that existed within it was the mostly shallow combat system. Most of the game was dulled down to a simple system of kicks whether on the ground or with gravity. It certainly worked but quickly grew tiresome, thankfully Gravity Rush 2 manages to create a more advanced and varied battle system that makes things a lot more enjoyable.
Combat is now more than a one note aspect of the game offering many new abilities that manage to improve the experience. Kat’s stasis field abilities have seen a vast improvement as more than an over glorified taxi service, you can now launch items off the ground at enemies to achieve massive damage, this is also often the only way to hit enemies effectively such as some of the flying opponents.
In addition the game also adds form changes which offer Kat unique abilities based around different weight types. Lunar Style lightens Kat’s body allowing her to jump much higher and offer quicker although lighter attacks. This transitions many of her attacks into new forms such as a wormhole kick which makes it easier to get to enemies but it is also weaker meaning you have to think carefully about using it.
There is also the Jupiter Style which makes Kat heavier and allows you to perform much more devastating attacks. The simple Gravity Kick is transformed into a charge attack which when performed right is often explosive on impact, this particular style leaves you exposed for a while but works well when performed.
The improved combat brings a level of strategy to the game, once all the powers have been received you can play an interesting juggling act that tasks you with figuring out which skill works best with each enemy encounter. Each style can be changed at will and really forces you to consider the best option to proceed, whether you rely on light, heavy, or standard attacks all offers different effects and are effective on different types of foes. You are always asked to observe carefully and decide which style will help in that moment.
For all the good that Japan Studio managed to put into this sequel, there was a major problem which ruins a portion of this games story. While most of the game manages to continue key points from the original, there was one major arc that failed to be even mentioned that was critical to the first game. Gravity Rush left this major story arc unfinished which was quite disappointing but luckily doesn’t manage to impact the key points in this game, although it would have been nice to be given the important information which was alluded to at the end of the original.
Japan Studio has managed to create an outstanding sequel for a beloved cult classic that ticks nearly all the boxes and corrects the most common complaints with the original. With more interesting set pieces, evolved characters, a stunning world, enhanced gameplay and further developments on crucial plot points, Gravity Rush 2 manages to be a fantastic sequel which will hopefully bring a bigger name to this franchise.