Kat and Dusty are back.
Through gorgeous visuals, an infectious protagonist and an engaging combat system, Sony Interactive Entertainment’s Japan Studio have almost struck a winning chord with Gravity Rush 2. While the intermittently cumbersome gravity shifting may discourage some, every other facet shines bright and encompasses a worthy and welcoming sequel for action-adventure fans and loyal enthusiasts of the gravity shifting double act.
As a childhood fan of one of the most popular superhero anime series to date, Toei’s Sailor Moon, my first exposure to the Gravity Rush series had me intrigued. The likeness between Sailor Moons’ Serena (the protagonist), Luna (her feline sidekick) and the headlining dynamic duo of Gravity Rush is uncanny.
Gravity Rush 2 is built around an adolescent superhero known as Kat, who is awoken to the realisation that her charm, Dusty, is missing. As she is initially thrown around by a short-tempered, hot-headed leader known as Lisa, Kat is poised to find her sidekick, re-kindle her superpowers and abolish evil. As the title suggests, the power of Gravity and Force are your keys to success, which build your skillset and combat options. As you battle overwhelming hordes of the game’s main foe, the Nevi, the plot slowly unravels around you, but not without your own curiosity. Gravity Rush 2, in most cases throughout what I believe to be quite a wholesome campaign, the plot is not thrown in front of you and left me with a few unanswered questions. Whilst I hardly uncovered the many side missions and complimenting side-plots during my playthrough, I felt my direction was sometimes unclear. I plan to tackle the game once more in future, and when I do, I will undoubtedly pursue every side mission to fully grasp some small uncertainties in the game’s main story. Nevertheless, the story was engaging in most instances and left me hungry for town-gossip and acquaintances to my main goal.
The combat system and its evolution throughout the game both shines and frustrates, but is addictive enough to grasp your full attention and rarely loosen its grip. Having been a praising fan of the original title, suitably named Gravity Rush, the foray of attacks in Kat’s arsenal felt, for the most part, natural on the PlayStation Vita hardware, as your skills, most notably the Gravity Kick, were expressed with a gyro control scheme. While it felt clumsy and sometimes cumbersome, it never hindered gameplay and as I came to the prequel’s curtain call, the mechanic became second nature. While it works in such a similar way, this time on the PlayStation 4, my expression is also similar. The mechanic can sometimes feel inaccurate and leaves room for some tighter controls.
As you take down vicious and downright fearful bosses clearly monstrous in contrast to Kat’s nimble and pencil-thin frame, you are awarded new moves for you to unleash on unbeknownst grunts generated by the game’s dark underworld. Each move supplements a perfect strategy to each situation you face – while the gravity kick is deadly and pinpoint accurate, the spiral kick, powered by the gravity-shifting Dusty, wallops crowds of enemies in a single blow. Each attack made me grin as the front to my mischievous persona the game moulds for you, every move feeling more satisfying than the next.
Graphics and Sound
The vibrant, toon-style visuals are a highlight and shape your experience as you float and explore the peculiar environment that surrounds you. As I explored each city at a graceful pace, picking up the collectibles on my way, they took me high above and urged me to take in the gorgeous scenery. Each city presents a clear, unique personality; each reflected by the populous at ground level. As the skies darken and clouds cramp you, the sense of fear is amplified by the townspeople and their exclamations as you approach them. Contrastingly, as the sun blares and lights up the charismatic village of Banga, a sudden feeling of relief and cheer overwhelm you. It’s the same feeling that engaged me in Gravity Rush Vita; emotional triggers and attachment through a visual channel, complimented second by plot. It’s a truly unique trait of the game and forms one of many reasons for my undeniable fondness of the series.
The meticulously crafted ambiance and music that forms around Gravity Rush 2 is near faultless. One Pieces’ musical maestro, Kohei Tanaka provides pieces in each area of the game that are quirky and downright strange in some stages (notably, the games’ faux-tutorial area, Forbidden Land), but contrastingly elegant and emotionally striking in others. It’s a beautiful blend of thoughtful strings and harshly appropriate chords and keys that form a bold and memorable soundtrack.
Gravity Rush 2 confines to its roots with little variation to its original formula. Whilst we would have gladly welcomed an improvement to the sometimes-clumsy mid-gravity controls, the game’s addictive combat system, quirky characters and gorgeous visuals that made its Vita-exclusive prequel a masterpiece forms one of the PlayStation 4’s finest action-adventure titles to date and an easy recommendation.
All hail the gravity queen.