Keeping the Old with the New
The upcoming sequel of Gravity Rush takes us back on an adventure with Kat. This time, we’re in a new location with new abilities and new enemies. The game is set to release on the 20th of January 2017. The demo release gives a taste of what the new game will offer. And it is a demo worth playing through twice.
The demo itself is not very long. It does contain two different versions. Each Course will provide some basic details – first being that the city you’ll be exploring now is Jirga Para Lhao. How did our heroine travel to this new city? Well, She and Syd were sucked into a gravity hole that sent them far away from their home, and the setting of the first game, Hekseville. Now they’re looking to find their way back to home.
The Beginner Course gives a clear tutorial for how to use Kat’s basic abilities. Different techniques and gameplay are added on as you go in deeper. At the start, an obstacle course will be used to help teach the basic movement of the gravity abilities. The control of them is just how it worked in the first game. Use R1 to Float and then aim in the direction of the destination with the camera and hit R1 again. The course starts with basics of moving onto walls and landing on surfaces. It also instructs how to reset the gravity with L1 when it is time to stand on normal ground again.
Later there will be a small combat portion when Nevi appear in the town. Here, the basic attack and Stasis attacks will be taught again. The basic attacks will take out the ground enemies. After they disappear, flying enemies will emerge that will need to be taken down with Stasis. The update to the stasis ability is one of the best things that I noticed. Stasis, activated by holding the circle button, will be catch surrounding objects in Kat’s gravitational sphere. The objects can then be thrown at enemies. In the previous game when using this ability, it would also send Kat into a float. This made it harder to maneuver, and it was one ability that I never used unless it was forced upon me. In this demo of 2, Kat remains standing firm on the ground. Another update inclusion is the center marker that tells where and what the attack is aiming towards and shows small dots around the circle- a representation of the “ammo” there is to use in the attack.
Once the battle concludes, it follows with another traversal stage that involves chasing a bird. Once that ends, you’ll be introduced to Vogo. It doesn’t give much detail to who he is. Kat did help him with his work, presumably he helped them get to the city in return for it. He’s having issues with a shipment of goods; some of the crates are missing. As he’s telling Kat about the issue, the thief comes zooming past, leading to a short chase and ending with a larger battle, where the Rush Kick and Special Technique is introduced. The Rush Kick requires the attack button while floating, and Kat will drive toward an enemy and deliver a powerful kick to them. The Special Attack, the Spiraling Claw from the first game, is used by pressing triangle and sending Kat into a spiral, drilling into the enemy’s weak points and hitting multiple targets.
The second, Experienced Course, allows all the basic abilities of the previous game (and the first course) will be open to use from the start. The tutorials included in this course will teach the newer abilities- or rather modes: Luna and Jupiter. In this course, there is no major traversal section. You simply jump in and get quickly into the first fight. The fight will be the same and will lead to Vogo and then the thief. And in what was the final fight of the Beginner course, instead of learning the Special Attack, it will teach the Luna Mode. It is activated by flicking up on the Touch Pad and allows for combo attacks in the air, not single strikes like the Rush Kick. The Luna Mode is visually indicated by blue accents that appear on Kat’s person. It seems to have good use for strong enemies that need multiple hits before being defeated, compared to others that will be done in with one Rush Kick. To get out of the mode is easy, requiring a tap to the touch pad.
Unlike the first course, the story will continue on. And in the next big fight, Kat will be up against soldiers. This stood out to me since fighting actual people was a rare occurrence in Gravity Rush, limited to certain boss fights. But these were normal human enemies. Now you’ll also know the second mode, Jupiter Mode. This mode has a usage for taking out multiple ground enemies. It is activated by swiping down the Touch Pad with yellow accents appearing on Kat, raising into the air, and then holding Square. Once released, Kat will plunge toward the ground and do an area attack that will take out multiple enemies. This mode is removed the same way as Luna Mode by tapping the Touch Pad.
If now being equipped with two new modes and new techniques weren’t enough help, Raven appears during this sequence. She’ll help in taking out the soldiers. After they’re dealt with, a massive robotic enemy will appear. It requires hitting the generators on the legs to open a larger weak point on the back that will actually damage it when hit. At the end of the fight, a dual attack with Kat and Raven is activated by pressing the Touch Pad.
Overall, the demo was enjoyable and a good refresher for before the game actually drops. Visually, it kept with the style of the previous game: slightly more detailed, colorful, and refined, but it still holds the same charm. The new modes that were introduced feel useful to be utilized in different types of battles and situations, including the use of the Touch Pad to activate these modes. The update to Stasis made using the ability much smoother and more friendly. It made me all the more eager to get into the new adventure they introduced to us. The demo gave bits and pieces of information as to not spoil the Main Game, but I expect and hope at least for some of the information to be fleshed out to give us more answers. With luck, it will also build upon the previous game’s unresolved conflicts.