Gravity Rush 2 Review
Gravity Rush 2 is an Action-RPG and is a sequel to the first game, which originated on the PS Vita and was later remastered for the PS4. It’s an open world game with the unique twist of being able to control gravity for you and the objects around you. As the original game was designed for a handheld, it is an ambitious goal to make a full home console sequel that revolves around a single mechanic with a mission structure fitting for short bursts of play. Can Gravity Rush 2 deliver a fully fleshed out home console experience?
World + Atmosphere
After the events in the city “Hekseville” from the first game the main protagonist “Kat” is dragged into a gravity storm, during which she loses her consciousness. Afterwards, she is stranded in a new world without a way to get back and her cat Dusty, which gives her the gravity powers, missing. While figuring out what is going on, Kat is adopted by a group of miners. This acts as tutorial and sets up the characters. In our opinion, the story in the early parts of the game focuses too long on the miners and their problems. It feels a bit stretched out since your tasks, collecting ore or searching for something, is boring, while the story feels like it has very little meaning itself.
After a while, the new open world opens up for exploration, which offers a good environmental variety from rich to poor districts, military presence and so on. The world has warp points to discover for fast travel and gems to collect to power up abilities. Furthermore, the map is littered with persons to talk to, side quests, main quests and challenge missions. The world looks alive at first glance, however there are a lot of character models, which are used multiple times even in one scene. Additionally, Kat can only talk to certain NPCs in the world which are distinctly marked on the map.
A lot of the placed objects are destructible but the world, buildings and trees themselves are static. We feel that the world could have been used better, because there is little reason to explore it beyond the markers and the missions. For example, the NPCs could react more dynamically and be less generic or the gems could be placed in bulk in less obvious location to provoke exploration.
The game has a unique good looking cell-shaded art style with a ton of particle effects and physics calculations. However, this comes at the cost of 30 fps and the use of heavy motion blur to compensate for its fast paced gameplay and camera movements. We also noticed a lot of edge flickering and regular very obvious detail popping in. This part is a bit nitpicky though, because you can approach everything from every direction, making data streaming challenging.
Story + Missions
The Story gets told in well animated comics in main missions but features only gibberish as voice overs. The side missions, while mostly fetch quests, offer insights into characters and support their developments. They also allow you to learn more of the world. While the story takes time to get into, it really hooks you in its last chapter and also contains enough twists to keep things interesting, all the while satisfyingly answering questions left from the first game. There are also challenge missions that allow you to compete in various tasks against a clock or vs a ghost while earning gems.
The game further features asynchronous online multiplayer, which basically boils down to giving hints for treasures by taking a picture of a location and sharing it. You can also rate other people’s pictures and race against their ghosts in challenge missions. The approach to add multiplayer to the game is interesting but we feel it’s only of great value for competitive people and for explorers.
Controls + Combat
In Gravity Rush you can use gravity energy, which fills over time, to control your own gravity and the gravity of objects around you, including smaller enemies. This allows you to travel effectively by falling, levitating and sliding.
Additionally, it allows you to collect/throw objects and to perform various sorts of gravity enhanced kicks. The game involves a lot of fast paced combat versus humans, machines and nevi, which are a strange monster race with red glowing eyes. There are further special attacks which are extra powerful that use a second energy that fills up by landing hits or by collecting certain items during combat. The combat is all about hitting the enemy’s weak points while managing your gravity energy and avoiding enemy attacks.
The enemy variety could be better but the game contains several epic bosses, which can be quite gigantic. The basic gameplay is very similar to the first game, but a bit further into your adventure you will learn shifting between styles, which deepens the combat experience. By changing between them fluently you can adapt to a situation. This keeps the combat fresh hours into the game, while it also differentiates it from the original game. The styles swap up how your character behaves and changes Kat’s move set. The lunar style for example makes you lighter and gives you a faster attack set at the cost of attack power.
The game offers motion controls by tilting the controller, but we turned them off and preferred the more stable control with the joystick. The controls are good outside of minor problems with imprecise sliding, sometimes getting stuck on edges and occasional minor targeting and camera issues.
Free post launch DLC – Raven’s choice
Earlier this year Sony published free DLC for this game and since it just adds to the game and we are reviewing it at this time, we will consider it for this review. It allows you to play a previous event from the series out of the perspective of the important character “Raven”. While it gives you a good insight into Raven’s character and her backstory, we feel that the DLC has little new things to offer and that the level design could be better. For example it has a tedious stealth section, enemy wave spawns and escort mechanics which limit your freedom. Further, the overarching story, which it evolves around, could make more sense. There is little to complain about it, considering that 2h of content were added for free. We would still recommend playing through it if you are interested in Raven after finishing the game, even though it is a weaker part of it.
While you can rush through the story in probably a bit less than 20 hours, the array of challenge missions and side quests plus the DLC boosts its playtime easily up to about 40h. However, due to the slightly repetitive nature of the game and the gameplay itself we are unable recommend this game at the full value even with the added free DLC. Further, we still stumbled across bugs, out of which one forced us to reload the game and one even to restart the console. We feel that the game could have used a little more polish and some more work on the story especially during the early game. Additionally, it’s still very similar to the first game in many ways and has only mainly changed with the different gravity styles for combat. Therefore we give it a value of 40 Dollars. To any newcomer to the series we would first recommend to play the original game of the series. It is a lot shorter and will still surprise you for a way cheaper price nowadays. Further, it sets up the main characters for the sequel and effectively allows you to demo it at a reasonable price point and then to decide for yourself if you want more.
While Gravity Rush 2 could have improved much more outside of the combat compared to the first game of the series, it successfully expands on the formula by adding a lot more content. It is a great deal for any fan that just wants more of the game and we can definitely recommend it for those. However, due to its very unique gameplay we recommend to pick up the original game first and play through its main missions if you are new to the series. We found the unique gameplay and combat with controlling gravity, including levitating and flying on demand very fun and compelling. While the story could be more tense and interesting especially in the early game, it picks up later and answers open questions. Additionally, the game stands out with its unique art style and we think that it was overall worth our time.
(out of 100)
While Gravity Rush 2 could have improved much more compared to the first game of the series, it successfully expands on the formula by adding a lot more content. It is a great deal for any fan that just wants more of the original.
Rate our Review: