Gravity Rush 2 Review - Falling with Style

Why does this girl not have powers if she was in the first game? Why are her shorts two inches long? What's with the "Galaxy Cat"? Why did I not play Gravity Rush 1 before 2? So many questions that need answering.

Gravity Rush 2 (or as it's known in Japan 'Gravity Daze 2') is an action/adventure role-playing game developed and published by SIE (Sony Interactive Entertainment) Japan Studio and is the sequel to the 2012 PS Vita exclusive title Gravity Rush
Gravity Rush 2 sees the return of Kat, Dusty (the trusty, power giving gravity cat pictured below and above), Syd and Raven, a once antagonist towards Kat, however throughout the first game the two girls became close friends and fighting partners. After saving the aerial city of Hekseville in the first game, Kat was dubbed the Gravity Princess by the people of Hekseville. In Gravity Rush 2 Kat ends up in a floating gravity mining village with seemingly little memory of her past. No Dusty, no Raven and only the ever so frustrating and lazy Syd to keep her company.

One day while farming gravity in their protective outfits that can only be described as a spin on a 1930's atmospheric diving suit, Kat and Syd along with their fellow miners are attacked by an enemy known as the Nevi. Nevi are primary black sludge like creatures with a mostly Red main crystal sort of eye. Some Nevi are larger with multiple crystals throughout their body and you must destroy all of their crystals to destroy that Nevi. After losing your dive suits, saving the day and returning to your unforgiving boss of the miners, Kat, through chance stumbles back upon Dusty the cat and regains her powers, once again becoming the heroine among her community.

The story of GR: 2 is a little hard to follow. It starts with Kat overcoming social inequality, moves into a continuation of the first games story then delves into uncovering some of Kat's unknown past. I have read somewhere that even if you have played GR: 1 AND watched the two part Anime feature released some time last year, you still won't entirely get the story of GR: 2. So for now I'm just enjoying it for the fun.
The art style of GR:2 at first didn't sit so well with me, I'm caught up in the world of "this is 2017, why don't these characters look real?". But once I pulled my cranium out of my own gravity vortex, I started to enjoy it. It combines quite a realistic design of the gaming world where wood looks like wood, bricks look detailed and coloured to look realistic with a cartoon style modelling for the characters, enemies and almost anything that actually moves or is able to be interacted with. The contrast is certainly there and I'm not sure if I do agree with the style completely, but I'm no game designer and I'm just happy to be playing someone's expression of art in video game form.

Fun is what this game is all about for me. The challenge of controlling a character whose power is essentially based on the movement and the force of gravity can become a real trial. There is no directional control during flight, you must face where you want to "fall" then to re-align yourself, stop falling, re-position, then commence falling through gravity again. Considering this game is a Japanese project, the difficulty is no surprise and I would describe it as being unforgiving if the player gets distracted. Combat has a few different cool elements too. You've got your classic button mash kicking on the ground type combat, then you also have your gravity based attacks. From speeding up your "fall" for a powerful kick at high speed, to lifting objects and hurling them at your foe, the combat does make for a good time. There are two styles of moves for Kat. One is a lighter and much faster way of fighting, where the second is quite slow but packs a much larger punch when disposing of the bad guys. The special attack and finishers is where I get the most joy. Your first special attack sees Kat at a very high speed darting through each foe, wiping them out before shooting quickly towards the next and can be chained together to take out a fairly substantial group of enemies. Then there's the finisher. Once a boss or larger foe has been damaged enough, you can initiate the finisher move which doesn't take any real concentration. Maybe a button press or two during the finisher, however there's a cool power up cut-scene and a pleasing cinematic finish to the enemy that just makes the victory a little sweeter.
Three to four years ago I'd have totally overlooked a game such as this, but I find as I get older my mind slowly gets more and more open to the idea of trying new things and "giving it a crack" as some would say. The gamer in me is more than happy I've given GR: 2 a crack and in doing so I've come across a bit of a hidden gem I'd say. Millions have undoubtedly bought and played GR: 1 and 2, however in the shadows of Pro consoles, Nintendo releases, huge game releases with 4K, female protagonists and open worlds, it's nice to see games like Gravity Rush holding their own and living in their niche genre quite comfortably.

For me, when I get tired of hunting robots, tired of bringing down cartels and tired of throwing Bananas, GR: 2 will be there, offering a thrilling, high reflex, high intensity "fall" through city streets and strange worlds, where the plants can be used as projectile weapons, the story is told in a comic book-esque way and the foes are like someone took The Dark Crystal and jammed it in Hexus from Fern Gully's face.

All in all this game surprised me, as a once not huge fan of Japanese games (simply for their style and sometimes slow storytelling) I am finding myself playing more and more JRPG's and other games I'd never even have looked at in the past and it's thanks to games like Gravity Rush that have been constantly changing my ways and bringing me closer to the light. If you're looking for something outside the mainstream but something that more than holds its own on the big stage of the gaming world, then wrap your hands around a Dualshock 4 and feel the Gravity Rush!

Gravity Rush 2 is out now only on PS4

Aussie Gamers Express
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