The original Gravity Rush had a fairly clever conceit, that, with the press of a button, you could shift the personal gravity of your heroine to climb on walls, soar through the open world, slam-kick foes, and generally be the superhero video games never quite let you be, when it comes to flight. The sequel doesn’t really add much in the way of mechanics, but it’s a master class, in some ways, of how open world games should be.
Gravity Rush 2 (PS4 Exclusive)
While the graphics are pretty, and the soundtrack is generally quite good, the game falls down a bit on story and pacing. The first act of the game is essentially an extended tutorial, which to be fair is quite a bit of fun and has quite a bit to offer in its own right. Kat, the heroine of the first game, has lost her powers and is stuck mining gravity crystals for a floating village. Needless to say, something is afoot, Kat gets her powers back, and we’re off to the races. Once you get to the second act, though, well, hopefully you’ve played the first game or keep the wiki up on your phone, since this is a direct sequel with little explanation. It’s a fun story, but it’s paced badly, and could have used some editing.
This mostly refines the mechanics of the first game, using gravity and some beatdowns to crush gooey eldritch enemies, but that falls squarely into the category of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Mostly this game uses the PS4’s more advanced processing power to polish everything up and make it smoother, and it works.
In the gameplay, it’s a fairly straightforward open world action RPG. There are main quests to fulfill, sidequests to finish, secret bosses to find and beat on like Weebles and so on. What stands out, though, is how the game uses all this stuff to do not as a list of digital chores but as a way to expand the world you’re exploring. They are, in many cases, quite literally chores; a character in-game asks you to do some task for them. The reward, though, isn’t just experience points and an icon off the map. Gravity Rush 2 uses sidequests to fill in little personal details about the characters you interact with. They’ve got pets, annoyances, friends, feelings, and often you’ll find yourself far more invested in these side stories than you are in the main quest, although as you do side quests, the main quests start to gain a much more personal feel.
By the end, you’ll find yourself surprisingly attached to Kat, Raven, and their little world of gravity shifting and colorful characters. And that, honestly, is rare in any game, but especially an open world one.
If you focus you can probably burn through this game in ten to eleven hours, but honestly, you’ll likely spend time just exploring and finding new things to do.
Gravity Rush 2 definitely has some pacing problems, and if you haven’t played the first game, it might be worth picking up first. But, with its deep story and cheerful approach to open world gaming, in the playing it’s the first great game of 2017.