Gravity Rush 2 is a game with a lot of personality. These characters here, like Kat, Raven, and Syd, have character. It’s established so quickly, in all of their actions and interactions. But, it isn’t limited to people. Everything in this game is designed in such a way that it stands out. Things constantly demand your attention, due to the level of detail and interest every person and location encourages. It’s a wonderful thing.
It all starts with a strong story. I think Gravity Rush 2 works so well because it isn’t just building on established lore, but also acting as something of an origin story. For people who might have missed out on the original Gravity Rush, the first few chapters act as a proper reintroduction to Kat. They establish her intentions. In this very short space, we come to understand who not only she is, but also returning characters like Syd and Raven. By establishing her as the heroine of new towns and groups of people, we’re getting a second chance to get to know her. The episodes take place in these perfectly paced vignettes that let us see these people, particularly Kat, in a more natural way.
The relationships between Kat and Gravity Rush 2’s other heroines and heroes are what helps sell that story. Because really, we’ve seen heroes with mysterious origins who end up being the ones to save the downtrodden before. It’s the delightfully optimistic, sometimes snarky, and always heartfelt conversations between Kat and the other characters that sell her as a heroine and make everything feel more plausible. She and Raven sometimes feel like sisters, with their bonding moments and collaborating to do the right thing. Her criticisms of Syd lose their teeth when you see how much the two genuinely care for and do for each other. And now, with people like Lisa, Cecie, and Fi, we get to see entirely new dynamics form and grow. Seeing these virtual people open up and care about one another is a wonderful thing.
Even Gravity Rush 2’s NPCs are brimming with personality. These are characters you might only speak to a handful of times. You might only see them for information or a sidequest. They’re incidental. But, they have their own quirks. Sometimes, you’ll be lucky enough to encounter these same extras later in the game, after they’ve formed different opinions on events, things, and even Kat herself. It’s delightful. It makes you want to meet all of them.
Just as the multilayer towns and locations in Gravity Rush 2 invite you to explore all of them. These places are gorgeous. Even more dilapidated areas have these nuanced elements you want to see. The patchwork on buildings that are falling apart are just as interesting to look at as the pristine, multicolored compounds you’ll find in richer districts. I liked to wander down side roads, to see what the buildings looked like in certain areas, or soar to high peaks for views of the expanses below. And clearly, that’s what we’re supposed to do, because crystals will be scattered in such places, waiting for those patient and adventurous enough to find them.
The constant hum and buzz of these cities aid in immersion. The soundtrack is wonderful, with tracks that perfectly suit each situation. The original language developed for the game, and the way it rolls off of the tongues of each character, is musical in its own right. Gravity Rush set a standard, and Gravity Rush 2 both meets and exceeds it. Like everything else here, it’s flush with personality.
There is a downside to this. There are a few times when Gravity Rush 2 doesn’t just put the next story mission on the map. Instead, it will tell you to go wander around the city or look for specific things. At times, this is fine. When a location is on the small side, like Banga Village, it’s easy to deal with such a thing. Or, when the landmark you’re looking for is rather major, like a fountain, it’s no big deal to take to the skies for a search. Except, this can come up in larger locations where there are multiple landmasses with varying levels. You can tell it’s designed to force you to explore these intricate areas, but it’s more frustrating than anything.
The stealth missions in Gravity Rush 2 feel like they serve the same purpose. They’re meant to forcibly evoke a feeling. But, because Kat’s powers aren’t always geared toward sneakiness or precision, you’re instead left with a frustrating series of moments where you have to constantly skirt out of sight and hope for the best. It’s trying to make you feel like she’s edgier and sneakier than she really is, injecting more noir-inspired and thrilling moments.
Every time I play Gravity Rush 2, I’m struck by how personable and inviting it is. Even if there are occasionally gameplay elements that aren’t exactly welcoming, everything else does its best to be delightful. The towns that Kat gets to visit and explore, with their unique districts and areas. The people she meets, even the ones who are nameless NPCs. Those she trusts most, like Raven, Syd, Cecie, Lisa, and Fi, and the way they all play off of one another. Even the music and original language that helps establish her world and culture. It’s a wonderful thing.
Gravity Rush 2 will come to the PlayStation 4 in Europe on January 18, 2017, in Japan on January 19, 2017, and in North America on January 20, 2017.