The original Gravity Rush was a real showcase title for the Playstation Vita, and after last year’s “remastered” edition it is now time for a proper sequel with Gravity Rush – this time a PS4 exclusive.
What made Gravity Rush so memorable on the Vita was not just that the game looked for a handheld title, it was also because of the title’s novel gameplay ideas in how it allowed you to manipulate gravity. To do this, you’d use your heroine’s special powers in tandem with the Vita’s special bag of tricks – most notably its gyroscope. Not having played the recent remaster, I was curious to see if a console version could capture that same kind of magic.
Gravity Rush 2 takes place after the events of the first game, even though it’s a standalone adventure that follows a similar rhythm and buildup as the first one does. Knowledge of the first game isn’t strictly required, though it helps a ton in being instantly familiar with what is going on. Returning characters include gravity shifters Kat and Raven as well as police officer Syd, and some of the original game’s bad guys also reappear. You’ll also recognize the city of Hekseville, but the total area you can explore in the sequel is about twice as big as what was available before.
Gameplay is very familiar as well, although a few new gameplay elements have been introduced. One of these is the ability to change Kat’s ‘gravity style’ to make her feel lighter (for speed and agility) or heavier (for power and impact). Changing can be done on the go by pressing left and right on the DualShock’s touch pad, and once you unlock/learn them it’s a nice way to play around with different styles without having to grind to unlock and upgrade abilities.
Unlocking and upgrading is still a major part of the game, and you pick up tons of gems along the way to do so. Aside from this, you can also tackle side missions and special challenges again, but this time around there are a lot more of them to be found. Where a map in the original Gravity Rush often only had one or two points of interest to head towards, the locales in the sequel feel far more alive and its NPCs are a lot more fleshed out as well.
The similarities to the Vita version unfortunately also echo in some of the game’s frustrations. The action can get disorienting when the camera loses track, and a few gravity skills are still notoriously hard to control – at least for me. I had almost forgotten how much I disliked “gravity sliding”…. thanks Gravity Rush 2.
Nevertheless, for the most part Gravity Rush 2 works very well and it’s still a lot of fun to zip around a virtual city, deliver gravity kicks and fling objects at enemies using your gravity powers. I would definitely argue that it’s perhaps a tad too familiar for those who played the Vita version (or remaster) already, but more of a good thing can’t be that bad. At the very least, it’s a more polished version of what the original game had to offer, with improvements in both the audiovisual sense and in the richness of the world that the game plays out in. Recommended, but if you’re not familiar with the first title then try to pick that up for a fraction of the price first. If you already have it and love it, then you’re safe here.