Welcome back, Gravity Queen!
If not indicative enough by the 2 in the this title, this is a sequel to the original Gravity Rush. The first game gave players an introduction to our protagonist and her gravity shifting abilities. It was her abilities that made the game play experience, the ability to traverse the world by going weightless and falling (not flying) through the air. It became a unique experience that captured hearts. So, with the sequel, I was very eager to get back to the game play that had been so memorable along with its lead protagonist, Kat.
Let’s get into the sequel, starting with the changes to the Gravity abilities. Most of the basics from the last game have stayed the same, the normal movement and gravity kicks. It was during the Demo prior to the release of this title that I experienced the update to the Stasis ability. This went from being my least used in the first title to the most used in this second title. It has great uses for when it is able to be used. The Stasis ability will grab nearby objects that can then be hurled into enemies. It is highly useful against flying enemies or ones that you might want to keep a distance from.
Along with the updates to the Gravity abilities that were known from the last game, there is a new section of abilities. Over the course of the game, Gravity Styles will be unlocked, the first being Lunar. In this style, Kat will be lighter. Jumps can go higher and for a greater distance. The Gravity Kick will now allow for combos and multiple hits. The Stasis objects once hurled will spin and continue to hit the enemy or multiple enemies. The other is Jupiter, where Kat will be heavy. She’ll move slower, but hit harder. Gravity Kicks can be charged in this mode to effect the area around the impact, useful for clusters enemies. Stasis will turn the gathered objects into a large sphere of debris to do a greater amount of damage.
I would not consider these introduced styles to be bad. They certainly are useful. The issue with them arises when they’re forced to be used. This will happen twice for each of them in the game, and that’s where I have a problem with it. The first time each is forced it is meant to be the learning tool for how to use it. At that point I can forgive the game restricting me, but doing it a second time felt unnecessary and just frustrating. I will admit that I personally did not use them regularly. There are a few times within the game that they are clearly useful and intended to be the easier and better choice to complete a section. I enjoyed those moments and wished that the second forced session had been done in that manner. Let players use them as a solution to the problem rather than making the style the problem.
There was also a change to the ability upgrade. Precious Gems that are gathered will still be the currency needed to purchase the upgrades. The upgrade system is divided into six sections: Evasion, Special Attacks, Fighting Skill, Gravity Kick, Stasis Field, and Gravity Slide. Each is a line that will progress to new tiers. The tiers will include upgrades for the Normal, Lunar, and Jupiter style. Health and Gravity Gauge will be increased upon the completion of missions. Another added feature to boost abilities are Talismans that can be equipped to add various boosts: increase attack power, refill rate of gauges, and boost draw power for gathering precious gems.
What will Kat be doing with these new powers? Her new journey consists of three major story arcs, the first taking place in the new location shown in trailers and the demo prior to this game’s release, Jirga Para Lhao. The city is separated into different sections similar to Hekseville, the difference being these sections have a tier system, not just by location. The wealthy citizens are at a higher altitude and the poor “lower” class are at the lowest altitude. The segregation of classes plays a significant role in the story, which is one thing that I will praise this game for having: a greater depth to their story this time around.
I do not want to give much else a way in terms of actual plot. I do believe the story overall is stronger. There is more meaning behind the story. The development for the new side characters makes them very memorable and engaging. The story pacing is another issue, however. The three arcs seem disconnected, especially the last one that comes out of nowhere after watching the first set of end credits. Still, in their own right, they are strong, connect back to one another, and, most importantly, to the open plot points of the first game. Some missions, specifically the stealth missions, have a tendency to slow the pace of the story.
Stealth is not a term I would ever thought to be associated with Gravity Rush. Why sneak around this object when I can lift it up and throw it, or walk over it? This game is not equipped for stealth. Just getting seen means needing to restart, either from the start or the last checkpoint. Another issue is the people you’re avoiding have no clear cone of vision and seem to be able to see for miles. I had gone high in the air to avoid detection in one mission, but a guard from down on the ground still pointed me out. From where I was I had no idea it was even a guard. The big gripe with these are the ones that are in the main story, it slows the pace and can be more frustrating than dealing with a boss. These type of missions would be best kept to the side missions. Still frustrating, but at least not blocking the path to the story.
Overall, this game is a solid sequel. I certainly commend the developers for trying new pieces in their game: the Gravity styles, online interactivity, Stealth missions, and deeper plot points, being some of the examples. However, not all of them worked in their favor of making the game a more enjoyable experience. If you enjoyed the first game then this sequel is worth playing. For anyone trying to jump into this game without the experiences of the first likely will not get the full experience of the story. There is plenty of content to explore with a lengthy story, over 30 side quests, challenge missions, mining expeditions, and the online treasure hunts. Even after the story concludes there will still be hours to pour into finishing anything that may have been missed, or even replaying some of the story missions that were enjoyable.