Gravity Rush is a series that can get rather complicated. It’s a game that can require both precision and quick reflexes. You need to be adaptable as Kat, ready to deal with hordes of Nevi that could appear. With Gravity Rush 2, we aren’t dropped in and forced to rise to the occasion on our own. Instead, it offers a comprehensive tutorial in Banga Village that pulls you in. It lifts you up with objectives that help you understand the gravity of the situation, but aren’t holding you down.
Okay, now that we’ve gotten that wordplay out of the way, let’s go over the ups and downs of Gravity Rush 2’s introduction. (Sorry.)
With Gravity Rush 2, we learn to walk before we learn to fly. Kat and Syd are the low people on the totem pole in town. They were picked up by Lisa and the people of Banga Village after a gravity storm deposited them in a gravel put near the floating fleet. Since then, they’ve been working as miners to earn their keep. But, as Kat prepares to knock off for the day, she’s tasked with acting as a messenger. This portion is teaching you how to get around town. This is a multi-layer community, one where Kat can still jump and reach to new sections without her gravity-altering abilities. We learn how to gather information, to find where people are, and even how doing something like approaching boxes or raise portion of a platform could cause Kat to begin climbing. It helps us get settled, with our feet on the ground.
After learning how to explore and go from one objective to the next, the real fun in Gravity Rush 2 begins. Kat returns to her former glory upon reuniting with Dusty, her feline friend that lets her bend the laws of physics. Reuniting introduces us to some very rudimentary combat and a finishing move, but it’s what happens next that really shows how much care goes into make sure we know exactly how to rise to every occasion and delve into every depth.
Immediately after getting Dusty back, Gravity Rush 2 has us learning how to use her abilities. But, it does so in a way where it isn’t exactly frustrating. Banga Village is essentially one big tutorial. We’re constantly learning what to do and how to do it, but it’s only the initial gravity testing sections that feel like we’re being walked through things. We need to fly to and fro, hitting specific sections to get view of the city, before being tasked with finding Syd without any assistance. The gravel pit comes up again, thanks to geography that offers all sorts of twists and turns. We learn about endurance, using angles to our advantages, and navigating spaces fraught with obstacles. It even lets you choose to repeat the segment, which I recommend. This is a game that eventually demands accuracy, and having this elaborate space has timeless lessons.
The follow-up sections even allow you opportunities to better yourself, all under the guise of Kat helping the people of Banga Village. The entire mining and Forbidden Lands sections are teaching you how to defend yourself in safe spaces that are filled with projectiles and health restoring crystals. The enemies are never sent out in overwhelming mobs, but instead appear in groups that are easily defeated. You easily acquire crystals to purchase some power-ups for Kat. Even the spacing of platforms are arranged in a way that ensures you can fly to every location without running out of power. Even when the steps of each episode seem a little repetitive, they’re just different enough to focus on different gameplay elements. The boss fight in each space acts as a test, to prove you’re able to use all of the skills you learned.
But, my favorite portion of the Banga Village section is the final showdown. It’s organized in such a way that these tests don’t feel like an extension of the tutorial. It feels like a genuine competition between Kat and Fi. It’s almost like you’re being given an opportunity to meet objectives on your own for the first time, but have helpful repetition reinforcing the decisions you’re making. You can see what you’re doing right in fast-paced, aerial races and one-on-one matches, again in a way that makes sure you know what you’re doing without feeling like a hand is being held. It’s clever.
All told, the Gravity Rush 2 initial area might take you about two hours to complete. Maybe more, if you decide to take on the side quests or repeat the gravel pit lesson to make sure you understand the laws of gravity. While this might seem long for what could be a series of tutorial missions, Banga Village doesn’t feel as restrictive as it actually is. The game does a good job of slipping in these informative opportunities to learn, or relearn, how to survive in such a topsy-turvy world. I appreciated it, and suspect I won’t be the only one.
Gravity Rush 2 will appear on the PlayStation 4 in Europe on January 18, 2017, in Japan on January 19, 2017, and in North America on January 20, 2017.