By Quentin H. / June 21st, 2016
During E3, both Quentin and Benny were fortunate enough to play Gravity Rush 2 on the show-floor. This article contains both their impressions of Sony’s upcoming successor to the Vita classic.
The Gravity Rush 2 demo picks up not long after Gravity Rush, where Kat, Dusty and Syd are trying to return to Haskeville. After a quick tutorial, I was turned loose in a new city to complete a quest before it climaxed into a spectacular boss battle.
If you’ve played the PlayStation Vita version of Gravity Rush, then you will be pleased to know that the demo of Gravity Rush 2 plays as a better, more refined version of the original game. The way that Kat manipulates gravity, even with the camera flipping around constantly to adjust for whatever direction Kat’s personal gravity is oriented towards, works nearly perfectly with the R Stick. Furthermore, I had only played the Playstation Vita version of the game originally and I quickly mastered the controls for this new title during just the demo session alone.
The combat system was amazing, as well. Aside from the standard punching-and-kicking on the ground, Kat can once again attack from the air with her gravity kicks. There are also two new forms of gravity manipulation that Kat can use: Lunar and Jupiter. Lunar mode makes Kat lighter, and she can warp to enemies and strike them repeatedly. Jupiter mode makes Kat heavier, and she will charge up her attack before unleashing heavy devastation on her foes. Both modes played extremely well, and I found myself liberally mixing the two play styles into Kat’s regular gravity mode by the time I was fighting the demo’s boss.
Just a few more things: the new world is more vibrant and colorful than before, the game still tells its storyline through goofy comic book panel-style cutscenes that highlight the character’s personalities, and Kat’s personal gravity field picks up and surrounds herself with so much of the destructible environment around her (that she can then use as projectiles) that she really does feel like an all-powerful mistress of gravity. The people of this new city react to Kat and her activities and the game still retains all of its predecessor’s original charm.
While I am definitely sad that Gravity Rush 2 is not making its way to the Vita (Related: E3 2016 OPINION: Vita’s Decline in the West Has Never Been More Obvious), this is a title that will definitely find itself a proper home on the PlayStation 4 when it is released later this year.
What little I know of Gravity Rush comes from editing our own review of Gravity Rush Remastered. While I was aware that it was a title released early in the Vita’s life and used gravity mechanics, I really didn’t know what to expect. So, upon seeing the game sitting there in Sony’s area of E3 with a minimal line, I figured, “Sure, why not?” What I played was actually quite impressive.
I ended up selecting the beginner’s course, which is basically the tutorial. After arriving at a city via a flying ship, I set out as Kat, our main heroine, to explore the city. The gravity controls were actually very simple. You would press a button to essentially negate gravity and float in place. This would also cause a reticle to appear in the center of the screen. After aiming the reticle at wherever you want to go, you would then press the button again and fall towards that spot, even if it’s directly in front of you and towards a wall. If that sounds a little weird, it’s because it’s hard to put into exact words how the mechanics look. However, it does feel like Kat is falling, rather than gliding or even just moving towards the reticle. After playing with this mechanic a little more, I was then sent on a mission that involved combat.
This is where I can really talk about the gravity mechanic and why it’s not only fun, but works really well. One of the really neat aspects of the mechanic is the fact you can switch directions in mid-fall. So, if you’re trying to get to a particular place and overshoot it, you can merely stop your fall with another press of the gravity button and adjust your aim. While you do have a meter that is draining while you’re in midair, it refills as soon as you touch a surface. So the mechanic feels forgiving and pretty balanced. I suspect, however, there could be some tricky puzzles in the full game that will push your mastery of this to the limit. In regards to combat, your aiming becomes crucial as Kat’s “Gravity Kick” (basically a Rider Kick) is one of her primary forms of attack. The move doesn’t require pinpoint accuracy, but you do need to have the enemy in the reticle to some degree. Another of Kat’s moves is to create a gravity well around her to suck in boxes and other items, then throw up to five of them at an enemy. Utilizing both of these is what I used to take on most of the enemies. Kat, however, has one final move.
Kat’s last attack is basically her special move. Once your special gauge is full and you activate it, Kat will perform a spiral gravity kick that homes in on all nearby enemies automatically. It’s a very good area clearer and is probably meant for emergencies or to quickly clear an area if you’re going for a speedrun. The demo ended after I took out a giant enemy (essentially a boss) which didn’t put up much of a fight, though, to be fair, it was the tutorial stage. So, if the demo was so simple, why am I impressed?
The reason I really liked this demo was because I can see the potential. Gravity mechanics, in general, are very finicky. If you’re just doing a simple reversal of gravity, then it can be seen more as a gimmick than a core mechanic. However, Gravity Rush 2 (and, by extension, Gravity Rush, I assume) actually take this a step further with the ability to repel gravity and “fall” in any direction you want and at any time. The amount of development resources spent on polishing this up must have been staggering. If you’re going to make it your main mechanic, though, it needs to work, and that’s the best part of this; it does. Remember, I had never touched the previous Vita title or its remake before this. Yet within five minutes, I had a good handle on the controls and any mistakes I made I truly felt were my own fault, not the controls’. I never felt like I was fighting the game — it all flowed smoothly.
While I’m still not sure if I’m going to pick up the title, it at least has me interested in the original, which I will probably grab once it goes on sale. If you’re in the same boat, then be sure to read our review of Gravity Rush Remastered and see if maybe the game is to your liking. Otherwise, if you’re a fan of the original, I think this title is shaping up to be a great sequel. Be sure to keep an eye on it and let us know if you’d like to see us review it.
E3E3 2016Gravity Rush 2Hands-OnImpressionsPlayStation 4Sony