“Fresh, But Flawed:” Gravity Rush 2 Review

Posted in Kulturecade by - February 19, 2017

Gravity Rush 2 may be a sequel, but it’s still one of the most unique open world games I’ve played in years. Falling in every which direction as the wind rushes past you is a sensation that loses little of its appeal over the course of the game, and Gravity Rush 2 is at its best when narrative takes a backseat and players are free to plummet through the sky in search of collectable gems and new locations to visit. Unfortunately, the narrative does have to show up from time to time, and therein lies the game’s biggest problem, but far from its only problem.

    Full disclosure: I never played the first Gravity Rush, but in anticipation of the sequel, I made use of a couple of recap videos and Wikipedia in order to brush up on the story so far. I thought I was well enough prepared, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. It wasn’t until I was almost seven hours in (and the game is quite lengthy; it takes 15-17 hours or so to complete the main story alone, and numerous side missions extend the experience significantly) that I discovered that there was also an anime prequel to Gravity Rush 2 that explains some important events that are only alluded to in the game itself.

Even after all this, however, the story still made little sense. Characters enter and exit the plot abruptly and seemingly without purpose, and events don’t logically proceed so much as several different plotlines interrupt each other from time to time. Luckily, main character Kat is an endearing protagonist, and most of the secondary characters have interesting personalities, so even when the plot falters, character driven moments help keep the player engaged.

    The gameplay in Gravity Rush 2 is also a mixed bag. Shifting gravity to fall, slide, and sometimes break through the environment is always fun, and the massive, colorful world has a nice sense of verticality. Since movement is the foundation of any video game, Gravity Rush 2 should be commended for making it the highlight of the experience. Unfortunately, combat isn’t of the same caliber. Kat only has the most basic of attack and dodge options, and while light and heavy gravity styles and upgradable skills mix things up a bit, they can’t save the combat from becoming tedious. Gravity Rush 2 also throws in some boss fights from time to time, and while methodical fights against enemies that dwarf Kat in size are tolerable enough, occasionally the game asks you to fight small, lithe enemies. This is where the experience devolves into frustration; gravity shifting can be very imprecise, and while that makes traversal feel fluid and fun, it makes reacquiring a lock on a fast-moving enemy every few seconds a chore.

    Gravity Rush 2 is a game of contradictions. For every ponderous stretch of combat against garden variety enemies and irritating bosses, you’re treated to a unique side mission. For every story beat that makes no sense, there’s a beautiful view from a strange angle of a floating city to find. The plot of Gravity Rush 2 is mostly drivel but the characters are often extremely likeable, the combat grows tiresome but the simple act of traversal is a pleasure. It has to be noted, however, that Gravity Rush 2 just feels different from most of the games coming out this season. Its differences are sometimes positive, sometimes not, but they contribute to a unique experience that will stay with you for a while after you put down the controller. You won’t remember the plot (or lack thereof), and you’ll want to forget some of the more frustrating missions, but you’ll probably remember the first time you plummeted from the underside of a city far into the clouds above, and maybe quite a few of the times after that.

 

Final Score: 3/5

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