Gravity Rush 2 Review (PlayStation 4)
Gravity Rush 2 is a dizzying experience, both literally and figuratively. The idea of playing with gravity itself (in a way that’s more than simply flying) made me skeptical, especially having missed the first Gravity Rush game on the Vita, but as I dove deeper into the game I began to really enjoy Kat and Dusty’ special powers. I might not have known what was going on --- frankly I still don’t --- but Gravity Rush 2 was still a good time even for a new player.
I say I didn’t know what’s going on because Gravity Rush 2 did little to inform me on the events of the previous game. All I knew at the beginning of the game was that Kat got dropped off on some colony of flying boats, was bossed around by a woman named Lisa, and lost all of her gravity powers before she got there. Dusty was nowhere to be found, so Kat was stuck being an errand girl and earning her food for the time being. Eventually the story of GR2 fleshed itself out, and prior knowledge wasn’t as important, but at first I had no idea who these people were or if I should care. I would have liked the game to give a bit more background on the previous game, but luckily my lack of knowledge did not end up impacting my enjoyment.
The story takes place in both the small boat village I mentioned before and a sprawling city ripe for exploration, branching over three main chapters. The city is a massive playground for Kat’s powers, alive with NPCs to interact with and inconsequential things to do outside of the mission markers Gravity Rush 2 provided both main quest and side quest missions, but the side quests were tedium incarnate most of the time. The first one I had access to had me collecting ducks for one of the other boat village dwellers that tended the livestock, and all I had to do was walk or float around until Kat said, “I think I hear a duck,” the villager went to get it. They don’t get much more complicated than that, so don’t expect a major side storyline to unfold during the adventure; it’s simply not there.
The main crux of the game (once they’re unlocked after the brief tutorial levels) are Kat’s gravity manipulation powers, which allow her to perform some impressive feats. She can fling herself basically anywhere with two button presses, giving you limitless mobility from one end of the giant city map to the other. Kat is able to pick up objects and fling them at enemies with Stasis Field, lunge with a Gravity Kick while floating, and slide along the ground for a burst of speed. Outside of her cool gravity powers the game became an ordinary button-masher, as Kat’s melee combo attacks all come from pressing the Square button. They’re simple combos of kicks, nothing flashy like her gravity attacks, to the point where I preferred to be bouncing all over the place dropping Gravity Kicks from the sky. It’s obvious the developers wanted the gravity to be the focal point of the game, as the action is definitely lacking in other areas.
These powers were easy to perform (a single button for most of them), but they could get unwieldy when trying to chain moves together. The camera sometimes couldn’t keep up with Kat as she flew, disorienting me to the point of dizziness as it whipped in a full circle during one particular challenge. I wanted to be able to see all of Kat’s anti-grav acrobatics, but when she’s moving too fast all I saw was crossed eyes and queasiness. I’m not one to typically get motion sick either, so those prone to it should be doubly careful. I eventually could change Kat’s “weight” in gravity during flight, making her lighter for more speed or heavier for more power, but that didn't impact how movement affected me.
Gravity Rush 2 seems to offer mind-bending action with an unique set of powers via its heroine Kat, but the major fault of the game lies in a story that’s unclear and features outside of gravity powers that aren’t anything new or complex. When I was zipping around, kicking enemies from the sky and deftly avoiding their attacks, I felt invincible. As soon as the action slowed down everything felt ordinary again. There’s some fun to be had with Gravity Rush 2, but that freedom is weighed down by the rest of the game’s execution.
This review was completed with a digital download of Gravity Rush 2 provided by the publisher for PlayStation 4.