Gravity Rush 2 is bigger and better than its predecessor, but frustrating stealth sections and a wonky camera keep it from taking the series to the next level.
The original Gravity Rush began life as one of the PlayStation Vita’s highest profile exclusive games. Hardware limitations made it difficult to properly control protagonist Kat and her various gravity-based powers on the Vita, but the remastered Gravity Rush on PS4 showed how its unique gameplay mechanics could shine with a standard controller. Building off the work it did bringing the original Gravity Rush to PS4, Sony Japan has crafted Gravity Rush 2, which ups the scope and gives Kat even more gravity powers to play with.
In Gravity Rush 2, Kat has three distinct gravity-based combat styles to choose from, unlocked over the course of the game. Combat in the first game was tedious at times, but these new styles keep things fresh and fast-paced, with players able to swap between them quickly using the touchpad. Gravity Rush 2‘s combat also has an added layer of strategy not present in the first game thanks to the introduction of more enemy types, like gun-wielding soldiers and giant robots, that challenge players to do more than just spam the Gravity Kick attack.
In addition to new foes, players still fight the Nevi creatures from the first game, as well as take part in an assortment of adrenaline-pumping boss battles. Boss battles were a highlight of the original Gravity Rush, and the same can be said about Gravity Rush 2, which has a number of memorable boss encounters that will challenge players, while still feeling fair and balanced.
What doesn’t feel fair and balanced are the stealth sections. Perhaps to artificially lengthen the game, Sony Japan has shoehorned in stealth sections that do little besides keep players from the more interesting bits of the gameplay. Easily the worst parts of the game, the stealth missions in Gravity Rush 2 include cliches like tailing missions, where players have to refrain from using the game’s fun gravity mechanics to slowly follow NPCs around as they talk to other NPCs.
Other stealth missions require players to use trial-and-error to figure out a specific path the game wants them to take to avoid being spotted by enemies. If players are spotted once, they are forced to start back over and try again from the beginning. A lack of checkpoints makes the stealth missions in Gravity Rush 2 far more frustrating than fun, but thankfully they only make up a small number of the missions in the game.
Those that are able to forgive Gravity Rush 2‘s ill-conceived stealth levels may find themselves frustrated by something else that weighs the game down: the camera. With characters and objects flying all over the screen on a regular basis, it’s important for a game like Gravity Rush 2 to have a coherent camera system in place to keep players from losing track of the action. In all honesty, Gravity Rush 2‘s camera may be as coherent as possible considering the gameplay mechanics, but even so, there are times when it will leave players high and dry, getting stuck inside buildings in the midst of chaotic battles.
Kat herself may also get stuck in a building from time to time. There was one instance when Kat glitched inside of a wall and was trapped during a long boss fight near the end of the game. None of Kat’s gravity powers could save her from the wall, which forced a full restart of the battle.
Glitches like these are annoying, but they don’t mean Gravity Rush 2 has a lack of polish. Luckily, glitches and other technical issues are few and far between, with the game running smooth, minus some slowdown during especially busy fights.
Despite these occasional issues, Gravity Rush 2 generally plays well. The camera could be less jerky during gravity slides and the stealth missions are a drag, but otherwise it’s a solid experience from start to finish, with a lot of variety in the missions and interesting plot developments that keep the story moving forward at a brisk pace.
The story benefits from having a cast of charming characters, which includes new faces and returning favorites alike. These characters populate a story that is surprisingly political in nature, dealing with issues like wealth inequality and the debate of security versus privacy. Gravity Rush 2 handles this weighty material about as well as a game hugely inspired by Shonen-style anime can be expected to, which is to say it presents some interesting talking points, but any social statements it tries to make are overshadowed by the visual spectacle of seeing super-powered people fight monsters and robots.
And make no mistake, Gravity Rush 2 is a visual spectacle. Since it’s built from the ground-up for PS4, Gravity Rush 2 is much more ambitious than the original from a graphical standpoint, with destructible environments, large scale battles, and gorgeous animation that evokes the anime that inspired it. There are times when the added visual touches hurt performance, but players won’t have to deal with it too much.
Having sharp visuals is always nice, but they don’t mean much if there’s not enough content to justify the price of admission. As it turns out, Gravity Rush 2 is stuffed with content, with over 20 story missions, plenty of side missions, challenges, and more for players to tackle. If all of that weren’t enough, Gravity Rush 2 allows players to partake in online events, and there’s even free DLC in the works that will focus on Kat’s AI partner Raven. Assuming Sony Japan keeps its promises, Gravity Rush 2 should give fans plenty of reasons to keep it in their disc tray for quite some time, even long after the main story is conquered.
Gravity Rush 2‘s post-launch support and top notch visual presentation combined with its engaging combat and engrossing story ensure fans of the original or Gravity Rush Remastered will find plenty to love about the sequel. It’s held back by poorly designed stealth missions that serve little purpose other than keeping players away from the better parts of the game and a wonky camera that can be downright disorienting at times, but otherwise Gravity Rush 2 is bigger and better than the first game.
Gravity Rush 2 will be available on January 20th, exclusively for PlayStation 4. Game Rant was provided a PS4 code for this review.