'Gravity Rush 2' is exciting, demanding, fun to play

 Kat and cat, Dusty

Kat and cat, Dusty

“Gravity Rush 2” is a new release, PS4 exclusive title. It takes on some pretty heavy topics while remaining as light as air with Kat’s amazing gravity powers and fun exploration missions.

The ability to control the direction of gravity for brief amounts of time is an exciting power, and Kat is an absolute powerhouse when it comes to gravity-based combat. However, the game starts without any powers as a way to introduce the characters and story to players in a more grounded setting.

I never played “Gravity Rush,” so I felt like I was slightly behind the story at the beginning of the game. The background did get revealed as the game progressed, so I felt caught up to what happened before in the original title fairly quickly.

The side missions and targeted conversations helped fill in the gaps. They also provided information about the current storyline without making them seem necessary.

I did have a couple of issues with the story where characters would do something unique or unusual, a situation would occur, and Kat and her friends would just go back to treating those characters as normal without addressing the plot device.

The world is open and anything other than the story missions can be done in any order. Skill trials let players hone their combat and powers, while the side missions showcase how those powers can be used in non-combative ways.

The story is heavily based on class divisions, and Kat acts as a catalyst for change. The issues are strong commentary about the haves and have nots and the trappings of power. However, revolution takes a backseat when the entire community is faced with an outside danger, creating more division over who should be saved and who should be left behind.

While Kat’s gravity powers, thanks to Dusty, the cosmic cat, are awesome, they do get a bit of a bump with two styles, Lunar and Jupiter. Lunar style creates a floating experience, allowing Kat to jump great distances and glide across surfaces that would normally break under her weight. Jupiter is the opposite, creating a heavier Kat for more damage during combat.

The styles never mesh, but they are quickly interchangeable with the flick of the DualShock controller’s touchpad. But neither really addresses the biggest problem with combat, the camera.

Auto-targeting allows Kat to pick off enemies with ease. However, stronger enemies need a few more hits, and that’s where the camera tries to thwart your best efforts. During many lengthy combat situations, I wasn’t sure what I was looking at or where I was facing while attacking with gravity powers.

I felt like the only way to get control of the situation was to abandon Kat’s powers briefly and try to re-center myself before resuming the attack. Don’t get me wrong. The boss battles were challenging and rewarding when I completed them, but I felt disconnected at times because I couldn’t see where I needed to go and had to drop back down to the ground.

The imprecise nature of Kat’s powers during flight can feel frustrating at times. But it is good to remember that her powers are based on gravity, which is a linear force, rather than any bending of gravity. There will be lots of course corrections during flights.

The cities are fun and alive. The people feel like they have their own lives to live, rather than just being background filling. Some of the more “alien” environments were creepy. Seriously, two translucent hands and forearms, showing veins and arteries, to indicate which direction to go? Initially, I thought they were just going to grab Kat and throw her to the next location.

The side missions help in the exploration of the areas. They varied in length, and some of the longer ones felt too long away from the story line, but they all let Kat do different things and meet new people.

There are also pop-up missions, called treasure hunts, where a photo is shown, and you need to use your detective skills to figure out where a chest is hidden. It is a nice reward and highlights how the designers wanted to use the entire world at their disposal.

Since this was my first experience with Kat, I initially thought she was going to be a naïve girl who used her gravity powers to benefit those who told her what to do. I was pleased to discover she has her own set of morals and goals. She recognizes right from wrong and wants to do what is best for all, rather than use her powers selfishly.

When she meets up with her friend, Raven, who will get her own story in a DLC later this year, the two work in concert in combat and in their desire to help those around them. They never hesitate to put themselves in harm’s way to rescue others, and they are always working toward the common good, even when it might seem like all they want to do is just eat and sleep.

Overall, “Gravity Rush 2” has an exciting open world to explore, a lead character that grows as the game progresses, and powers that are exciting to use. The camera and some story issues do create a few hiccups in the title, but it is a fun adventure and a game that is a joy to play.

Because who doesn’t like soaring through the sky like a superhero?