The original remains one of the very best titles ever released for PlayStation Vita, and it garnered plenty of fiercely loyal fans. Those fans were delighted to hear about the upcoming remastered version, coming our way this year, as well as the newly announced sequel. Gravity Rush 2 is slated to land on PlayStation 4 and Vita in North America some time in 2016, so the ultra-agile protagonist Kat is coming back for another wild adventure! Director Keiichiro Toyama is on record saying the art style is “dramatically more advanced,” which is a given considering it will come to Sony’s home console in addition to the handheld. And yes, they’ve been planning this project for a while; development began the instant the first game was out the door.
This is a true sequel, in that the story picks up after the events that unfolded in the first title. Kat isn’t the only returning character, either; her friend Raven returns as well and this time Raven will fight alongside Kat for an epic pairing of fast-paced assault. However, Raven will only participate when fighting particularly important battles, so it’s not like the developer has implemented a tandem gameplay mechanic for the entire game. The other important note is that we won’t be fighting in the same city; the action moves to a brand new location for the sequel and as you can see in the footage, it appears to be bigger and brighter. Kat may have to face down robots as well, which will test her skills to the max due to the robot’s apparently superior fighting ability. Damn robots always screw things up for everyone, you know?
But if you played the first game, you needn’t worry, because Kat is coming fully equipped with three gravity styles: The first, and most basic, style is similar to the original mechanic, while the Luna style makes Kat lighter and allows her to move a lot faster. Jupiter style has the opposite effect; our heroine becomes heavier and moves slower, but she’s capable of dealing a lot more direct damage when in this state. This is best reserved for the stronger enemies that require a lot of pounding to take down, and I like the flip side of the strategy coin. Basically, this means Luna style might work very well when facing opponents with fast, difficult attacks. And don’t forget that we’ll be able to manipulate the gravity of our environment and use it against our foes. Toss in those highly destructible backgrounds and this one’s gonna light up the screen!
Switching back and forth between styles will be a simple and streamlined affair. You enter Luna style by flicking up on the touch pad, the Jupiter style by flicking down, and doing nothing puts you in the default gravity style. Her abilities will be affected by the chosen style, too; as an example, the Gravity Kick morphs into Side Kick when in Jupiter style, and this style also enables something called Stasis Throw. If you’re wondering, yes, it does seem that you’ll be able to switch styles on the fly, thereby chaining together moves from different style skill sets. This might require some crazy reaction time and a lot of practice but undoubtedly, the results will be worth your diligence. My only concern with all of this is the camera: It absolutely has to be pinpoint perfect in order to keep up with this hectic, chaotic action.
One interesting element will be the civilians in the city. Before, they were little more than scenery but in the sequel, those people are evidently…well, real. Not sure how this will impact the gameplay, if at all, but it’s definitely worth noting. Will civilians bite the dust when that destructible environment starts to crumble in the wake of Kat’s high-flying antics? And if so, will that have any discernable effect? There’s also a photo mode and you have the ability to take selfies, an option probably best reserved for when you’re in the process of executing a devastating attack. Or maybe you just want to pose for the selfie after you’ve vanquished all enemies. Strike a victory pose…? These are quirkly little additions I’ve come to expect in most Japanese productions, and I suppose gamers will take advantage.
Lastly, in terms of length, the developers claim Gravity Rush 2 can take up to 40 hours, depending on how you play. There will be lots of side missions to tackle, including difficult time attack missions that might require lots of attempts. In fact, the team says to expect three times as many optional missions as the original adventure. Plus, the map will be a lot bigger as well; over two and a half times the size of the play world in the first title. In brief, this sounds like the epitome of “bigger and better” in every possible way and we can’t wait to see more. The sooner this one comes to PS4 and Vita, the better!
1/4/2016 Ben Dutka