Gravity Rush 2 Review

If you’ve played Half Life 2 all the way to the end, you probably have fond memories of using the upgraded gravity gun to pick up enemies and launch them across the room. It was an absurdly fun, criminally short section that highlighted how much fun wielding that kind of godlike power can be in games. Gravity Rush 2 taps into this very same feeling of power, giving you the ability to pick up soldiers and use them as ammo. Need to take out a mech surrounded by soldiers? No problem—use your gravity powers to pick up the soldiers and then launch them at the mech’s weak spots, at which point shrapnel will come off that you can pick up and use as further ammo until it finally explodes. This isn’t the kind of thing you can do throughout the entirety of Gravity Rush 2, of course, but it’s certainly an example of the kind of thing that makes it truly special. That’s not to say that it’s without flaws, though, because many of the first game’s problems that ruined the experience for me are still present (even if they’ve been somewhat remedied in many cases); the game’s good moments are just so good that they more than make up for its many infuriating problems.

The characters are enjoyable, but the story very much isn’t

The first Gravity Rush was so enamored with its vagueness that it managed to reveal almost nothing to the player by the time the credits rolled around. At the time, I suspected that this was intended as sequel bait, with the developers teasing a bunch of mysteries to coerce players into buying the sequel. After finishing Gravity Rush 2, however, I realized that the writers simply don’t know how to tell a coherent story that builds up in a natural way. Characters crucial to the plot appear at the very end for the first time in the series without any work being put into hinting at their existence, being used as convenient devices that often turn the game’s explanations for why things happen into “because magic” nonsense. That doesn’t mean that nothing is resolved, because a couple of the questions I had about the first game were definitely answered (but often in such a roundabout way that I only realized the connection once I went back through all of my screenshots from the first game), but it rarely feels natural, and the last few chapters are a huge info dump. This is made disappointing by the fact that a lot of what happens in the middle of the game is completely superfluous; Gravity Rush 2 is technically broken into four chapters, and almost everything that happens in the first three chapters is filler with no importance other than introducing new characters.

Running around Jirga Para Lhao and destroying stuff while
civilians panic is incredibly entertaining.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, mind you, because the characters in this game are much more enjoyable than those in the first. Kat in particular is a much stronger character for much of the game, and Raven’s intensity from the first game has been dialed back a bit in order to make her a believable friend/ally/second hero character. The new characters bring out the best in them, as well, with new characters like Lisa and Cecie offering up intensity and emotion that the old characters can then undermine with humor and awkwardness. All of the new characters are possible because of something that happened in the animation (turn on subtitles if you want to actually understand what’s happening) that bridges the gap between the first and second games, but isn’t in the game itself or explained beyond a simple screen of explanation, weirdly enough. Basically, all of the important characters—Kat, Raven, and Syd—are teleported to a different world after being caught in a gravity storm.

The strange thing about the writing is that despite being initially set up in a way that allows it to reintroduce the important characters while bringing in new characters in a newcomer-friendly way, later on the game requires knowledge of the first game and its events if you want to have the slightest chance of following the story. The enjoyable first half doesn’t require much (if any) previous knowledge to grasp, but the second half sends everyone back to Hekseville as characters from the first game begin to pop up in the main plot without explanation, with the relationships between everyone only making sense if you played the first game. The first game’s DLC (which comes with the Remastered PS4 version I played) might even be necessary to understand little things like why Kat is called “Sea Cat” by a certain character. I played the first game and all of its DLC and still had a great deal of trouble following the plot, so I can’t even begin to imagine someone new to the series being able to follow along. Part of what made it so difficult to follow (for me, at least) is that important details are revealed in seemingly throwaway lines of dialogue that don’t appear important at the time, such as when the random event that sends you back to Hekseville is eventually tied to the third chapter’s villain. A lot of this is because Gravity Rush 2 is terrible at creating convincing villains with believable or remotely understandable reasons, and the thing that happens doesn’t seem connected to their evil plan in an intuitive way beyond it being convenient plot magic. Really, I can’t think of a believable villain in the series to date, and I very much believe that the same bouncy tone that makes the main characters so likable is what keeps the villains from ever being truly menacing. They simply seem like ordinary characters until the plot demands a great feat of villainy, at which point they become mustache-twirlingly evil caricatures out of nowhere.

Is a story defined by what happens, or who it happens to?

It’s not a stretch to say that Gravity Rush 2 has an awful story, then. Important things are connected in tenuous and contrived ways, crucial characters never receive the fleshing out their roles demand, and not only are numerous questions from the first game never answered (I still don’t have the slightest idea what Nevi actually are) and several new questions are left dangling, but opportunities that could have tied things together have been squandered in favor of putting together three chapters of mostly-unrelated stories before hastily tying Kat’s story up in the final one using random info dumps. When I finished the game, it occurred to me that the entire third chapter’s contribution to the ending was introducing a single character’s new ability, one which doesn’t even work against the final boss. I loved the first two chapters and its focus on a new city and the brewing conflict between classes, but even that didn’t have much to do with anything. The third chapter was the one that really bothered me, though, because the villain is obsessed with time and a huge opportunity was missed here; the first game was filled with a mysterious couple who were trapped in time thanks to an experiment that went awry, so this character could have replaced the random new villain for the third chapter. This would not only make much more sense in the series and tie up a loose end that was completely forgotten about in the second game (there’s no resolution to the mysterious couple’s story, I’m afraid), but connect the games and give the villain a more convincing and established reason for doing what they’re doing that players can empathize with. It just feels sloppily structured the way things are.

Despite all of my problems with the story and storytelling, though, I found myself weirdly affected by the emotion at the very end of the game. Things had finally worked out in a stupid and contrived way, as problems so often do in the Gravity Rush universe, and yet underneath my irritation I found that I was actually attached to the characters. This game may have a scattered story with various annoying wrinkles, but it had effectively drawn me in enough to cause me to care about the fates of various figures. Not the old ones from Hekseville (the game really loses its sense of fun around that time, and the non-important characters from the first game are terrible and mean and not entertaining at all like the new ones introduced in the first half), but the new ones. Even little things like the game’s near-constant comma splices began to become endearing in their own weird way because of how involved I ended up being with the characters. The story may be a mess, but the characters hold it up well enough that it didn’t bother me as much as it probably should have, and when you think about it, that’s a remarkable accomplishment.

The mechanics are familiar, but definitely improved

Gravity Rush 1 was a game that you beat by doing gravity kicks until you were able to pull off a special attack (using the wrong one half the time because of the awkward way you would select the specific one you need) that rarely worked. The midair ballet of kicking your way toward enemies’ glowing weak spots was mildly entertaining at first, but quickly became repetitive filler, not to mention annoying when quicker enemies would dodge you at the last second, forcing you to line up another kick. Despite what I expected, though, gravity kicks aren’t the ideal way of approaching most of Gravity Rush 2. Instead, this game is the stasis field gun show. The first game’s stasis field was pretty much worthless in combat since there was little you could actually pick up, using it automatically sent you into the air (making you vulnerable), and targeting was incredibly awkward. Now there are a ton of things you can pick up and throw at enemies, you can grab them while remaining on the ground, and you can upgrade it to hold more things at once so that the occasionally awkward targeting is mitigated by the fact that you can throw 4-6 things at an enemy and know that at least one will connect.

The times the game lets you pick up civilians or enemy soldiers are a blast.

Not only is the stasis field absurdly entertaining and much more comfortable to use now, but focusing on it causes many of the game’s quests and sidequests to be easier. One sidequest forces you to run around a military ship stealthily (I’ll get to the stealth in a bit) while grabbing supplies and throwing them off the ship, and this is made quite a bit easier when you can pick up more supplies at a time. There were countless sidequests like this where I was glad to have invested in stasis field upgrades early, and it even made large fights much more enjoyable than they would have been if I had instead focused on gravity kick ballet. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the stasis field was responsible for the greatest moments in the entire game; whereas you could only pick up limited things in the first game, now you can grab enemy soldiers and throw them off a floating island or use them as ammo. In what ended up being my favorite sidequest/challenge mission (there’s some overlap between the two where a sidequest introduces a new gameplay twist and a challenge map then opens up to challenge you to do even better at it without the story justification), you pick up as many civilians as possible before flinging them at a business. Your sidequest flinging isn’t limited to the normally stasis field-resistant civilians, either—an early sidequest has you machine-gunning newspapers at targets in tall buildings. It’s a bizarre development given how awkward the stasis field used to be, but they really did fix it up and make it amazing.

That’s not the only thing they fixed up, either. While the game occasionally requires you to play without using your powers (usually because you’re being stealthy and gravity abnormalities can apparently be tracked), it’s never as annoying as the section in the first game that strips you of your powers, mostly because the camera is much friendlier in this game. Where before it would behave erratically when you’d start to fall, making it difficult to tell where you’re going to land, here it’s much more consistent and manageable. It still gets stuck and goes crazy occasionally, but pressing R3 reorients the camera and can help center you when you lose track of which way is up. The first game also allowed you to do this, but it works much better in Gravity Rush 2 because it rights itself faster and more consistently. Other improvements include special attacks (now tied to the different styles, which I’ll get into in a second) being much easier to select and use, enemies no longer getting stuck trying to attack you through walls, the gravity slide no longer automatically attacking enemies, and there being a much greater amount of sidequest variation. Pretty much everything has been improved in some way to be noticeably better and more user-friendly, with two major exceptions: the platforming physics are awkward and don’t lend themselves to the precise platforming required in some sidequests, and the gravity slide has been changed to require only L2 instead of the combination of L2 and R2 (removing your ability to drift).

Styles, talismans, and upgrades

One of the more interesting features added to Gravity Rush 2 are the styles. These are different takes on your default gravity powers, basically, and the two that you’re given each have their own pros and cons. Lunar style makes you light enough to jump high, wall jump, and fall slowly, and while it gives you more control of your gravity slide when turning, that comes at the cost of the slide being slower than in other styles. Attacking in Lunar style is also floaty and a bit difficult to control, but its version of the gravity kick includes teleportation that can allow you to connect with even the most frustratingly quick of Nevi. It also comes with a special attack that flings every throwable object nearby in a straight line, effectively machine-gunning anything nearby at whatever you target, and you can even charge the objects in your stasis field to paralyze enemies for a short time when they connect. Then there’s Jupiter style, which is the opposite: you become incredibly heavy, fall fast, and your gravity slide is sped up greatly, but this comes at the cost of control. Trying to maneuver in tight spaces in Jupiter style is a bit of a “bull in a china shop” scenario right down to the destructibility, as you’re able to crash through light posts and certain types of walls and floors. The gravity kick in this style becomes a slow kick that you aim manually, charge, and that then does area-of-effect damage to all enemies near the impact site. The Jupiter stasis field collects all of the objects nearby and smashes them together into a single powerful projectile, and this can be charged to have a black hole effect on top of that, which ties into the fact that Jupiter style also includes the micro black hole special attack that damages everything in a certain radius. Styles are selected by swiping at the weird middle black thing on the PS4 controller, with an upward swipe changing to Lunar style, a downward swipe changing to Jupiter style, and a tap (but not a click) changing back to Kat’s default style. It seems like a lot to remember, but you gain these powers slowly over the course of the story, so you have time to become familiar with how everything works before something new comes your way.

Talismans are easily one of the most helpful parts of the game; doing sidequests, challenge missions, and mining for ore (the most boring of the options) can all net you equippable talismans that confer various bonuses. You have three slots of different shapes, and a talisman will only fit in a slot that shares its same shape, but you gain enough of them that you can mix and match bonuses to suit every situation without that feeling like a huge limitation. What makes talismans so powerful is how they can be used to mitigate the annoyance of many sections. For example, I often used a talisman that automatically picked up objects in a stasis field whenever I got near them, so fighting enemies didn’t require hunting down objects since I would automatically vacuum them up. This was also hilarious whenever I’d spawn in the city after a quest, because I’d always be near people hanging around the market, only for their little stalls to automatically rip from the ground and circle me as everyone ran around in a panic. There are talismans that increase the range of your stasis field, talismans that cause your gravity energy to refill faster when you’re not using it, talismans that cause gems to be drawn to you from farther away, talismans that upgrade the damage/radius of special moves or improve the homing ability of attacks, talismans that cause you to take less damage, and all kinds of others. Almost every time I found myself annoyed by a sidequest, a combination of talismans managed to make it more bearable.

Finally, there are the more traditional upgrades. These work just like they always have: collect gems, then use them to buy upgrades for your various skills. Some improve the duration of your special attacks, some allow you to attack manually during gravity slides, some improve the number of objects you can carry at a time in stasis fields, some cause you to do more damage with normal attacks, and some even make it easier to dodge and allow you to dodge more times in a row. There’s actually a lot of variation here, though I’d recommend focusing on the stasis field upgrades at first because of how incredible the game then becomes. The gravity kick definitely becomes worth powering up later in the game because of some annoying aerial fights toward the end, but for the first 11 or so episodes, the stasis field is king.

Jirga Para Lhao’s verticality is everything I wanted in a city

I hated Hekseville. I still do. It’s boring, flat, and its areas have little individuality beyond sporting different color schemes and slightly different architecture. There’s nothing remotely interesting about it, and so the new area that you spend a sizable chunk of the first half of the game in ended up being a huge relief. It’s incredible, a real joy to explore, and there are numerous reasons for this. For one, its areas have better music than any of the places making up Hekseville. It’s also incredibly colorful and populated, coming across as a fantasy take on Brazil. More than anything, though, it’s structured to make the most of your gravity powers; whereas Hekseville is flat and boring (and the first game would teleport you back to safety if you flew even moderately high or low), Jirga Para Lhao requires you to fly up to the homes filled with rich people and fall down to where the poor live. Being given that kind of freedom and finally being allowed to use your powers to fly around is an amazing feeling that the first game was entirely lacking, and it also allows the city to feel huge like an actual city would in addition to illustrating the disparity between the classes before the game starts playing with the idea. I only wish you were able to spend more time in the area; episode 11 continues into episode 12 before spiraling into episode 13, all without break, and you eventually find yourself stranded back in Hekseville for the second half of the game. It’s not until much, much later that you can return to Jirga Para Lhao, and while Hekseville has been rebuilt a bit to be better than in the first game (though it still lacks the same sense of verticality), I found myself missing my beautiful Fantasy Brazil.

Some missions are great, some are good, some are meh, and some are terrible

As in the first game, missions are broken into story missions, sidequests, and challenges. Story missions progress the plot, obviously, while sidequests occasionally unlock challenge missions and give you talismans/costumes/items to decorate Kat’s home with. Challenge missions also give you these things, though only if you get a gold medal in them (at least, as far as I can tell). That’s not a huge problem since the requirements for the gold medal are usually pretty accommodating, but I had some serious trouble with a few of the races. The most frustrating of these was one where you had to complete the entire race in Lunar style, which meant dealing with some floatiness. I had already completed one such race without problems, though, so I didn’t expect much trouble. The race itself isn’t a huge problem, but the final checkpoint is on top of a building and said floatiness can cause you to easily lose several important seconds trying to wrangle the camera into position to fly to it. It’s incredibly frustrating to be so close to the end with several seconds left, only to finish over the gold medal time by half a second because of camera problems or because you got caught up on the building, and that kind of frustration plagues certain sidequests. Not all of them, mind you, because some are really creative and a lot of fun, but they threw everything they had at the wall for this game and not all of it ended up being good. For example, there’s a sidequest that ends with you playing fetch with a dog, using your stasis field to throw the frisbee into a designated area. Every time you fail to get it there, the dog’s happiness decreases, and the sidequest only ends once the happiness meter is maxed out. The problem is that the frisbee isn’t thrown like a normal frisbee would be, but instead flung, at which point where and how far it goes is left to the game’s awkward physics. Most of the designated spots are fine, but there’s one that’s just far enough away that actually reaching that point is a serious hassle, and it’s not fun to try.

The random respawn point you have to avoid (hitting it leaves you with too little
time to reach the missiles) made this section that would otherwise be easy the
worst part of the game by far. Just terribly designed in every way.

I’ve seen other reviews that complain about the stealth sections, but they’re honestly not as bad as you’d probably expect. They can sometimes be clunky, occasionally being set up more like a puzzle than an actual stealth section since there are moments where enemies can see you through walls if you think too far outside the box (don’t worry—this is incredibly rare) and you’re very obviously intended to take a specific route in many of them, but I also felt like a mad genius when I discovered that you can actually fly under some of these sections if you drop off at the right spot, bypassing large chunks of annoying stealth in their entirety. Even if you don’t do something like that, most of the stealth sections are relegated to the sidequests, with only a few ever showing up in the main story. It’s also worth mentioning that you’re given a camera as soon as you get to Fantasy Brazil, and while in camera mode you can summon photo items that you’ve earned from various sidequests. As it turns out, one of these photo items is a large box, and these can be stacked to create cover during stealth sections. Since you can spawn a ton of them, this opens up all kinds of interesting opportunities that can make stealth sections unexpectedly entertaining.

Missions of all types are at their best when they give you a goal and leave the how of it up to you. These are missions with parts like “get rid of all the guards,” which can mean kicking everyone repeatedly or merely picking them up and throwing them off whichever floating island you’re currently on. Things get quite a bit less enthralling when they’re scripted, such as one early mission where you compete in a contest that’s rigged. I had done so well that it took a full minute for the computer to catch up, though, and it wasn’t fun. This makes sense within the confines of the story, in fairness, but it really bothers me when an outcome is predetermined and you lose no matter how you play. At a certain point it might as well be put in a cutscene. The worst mission in the entire game involves missiles and suffers from this, with the next group/s of missiles spawning the second you’ve finished with the last of the current group. This puts you in a strange situation where the faster you get to the missiles, the farther you have to travel in the opposite direction to get to the new ones. You’re effectively being punished for being too fast because of how this section is scripted. Worse, this happens in the “no verticality or exploration allowed” area that is Hekseville, so I’d often hit an invisible spot on my way to the next missiles that caused the game to automatically respawn me. This happened around 15-20 times and started to remind me of the first game in all the wrong ways, mostly because the missiles continue to move while it loads your new position (more terrible design), so you spawn and they hit almost immediately after. You have no chance if you hit one of these invisible warp points, and they’re set up in nonsensical positions; you can fly directly toward the next missile and be very close to the central point you’re protecting, only to hit one out of nowhere and have to sit through a loading screen knowing that you’ll fail the mission seconds after it loads.

But for all the problems plaguing some of the missions, I can’t help but respect its attempts to keep things fresh. One quest may involve delivering something, while another tasks you with picking objects up and piling them into the back of a vehicle while paying attention to the order in order to fit it all in. Another sees you dress up as a movie star so that you can run past fans (taking care not to be caught by them) and lure them away from the real thing. There are stealth missions, stealth missions with additional requirements, a mission where you have to use bombs to blow up a bridge, races of various different types, missions where you have to do some light platforming, missions where you have to photograph various things, and a million other mission types. They even managed to fit a memory game into one of them. It doesn’t all succeed at being fun, but I played each and every one, and the amount of effort that must have gone into creating so many different types of quests is honestly really admirable.

There are some online elements here

Me and online gameplay don’t mesh well; I like to buy a game and know that what I have is what I have, so games with online functionality that will one day cease to exist simply grate at me and become difficult to appreciate. It doesn’t help any that I don’t have subscriptions for any of the consoles’ online services, so I’m very often locked out of multiplayer content entirely (this was the case with Bloodborne). Needless to say, I didn’t expect any of the multiplayer features here to work, much less be the kind of thing I could get into. It turns out that Playstation Plus isn’t required to use the online stuff in Gravity Rush 2, though, so I dabbled with it a little (mostly because online events would show up in my notifications and my OCD demanded doing whatever it took to make the number go away). Surprisingly enough, I didn’t hate how they were implemented here. Events show up in your notifications and shortly thereafter show up in a little bubble while you play, and these indicate that one of several events is available. There are mining abnormalities that signal the presence of a scythe-wielding Nevi boss who can be defeated for a special talisman. There are treasure hunts where an apple chest is placed in an area and you have to find it using a user-supplied photo of its location (and once you find it, you take a picture of its location that’s then sent to another random user). Then there are challenges, which are one of the stranger aspects; when you complete a challenge mission, you’re given the option to challenge another user to beat your score, and you can send these to someone specifically or do so randomly. They’re not actually playing against you, then, but a ghostly recorded version of you that they can see while they try to beat you. It’s an interesting little setup, but I didn’t really get into it as much as the treasure hunts.

Then there are the “photo checks,” which were the most confusing online feature because they simply didn’t work when I first stumbled across them. Back then, I found a bunch of ghostly versions of other players standing around like statues and interacted with them, at which point the game autosaved and the event was over without anything happening. It was only a day or two later when I found a couple more of these that interacting with them popped up a picture and asked me to rate it. I had been confused about submitting photos before that point, because while the game gives you the option of submitting pictures for review, there was no obvious place to see where these pictures were being uploaded. Turns out they’re randomly shot out to someone else who then has to interact with your statue-ghost to see your picture. If the picture is rated as “nice,” the picture-taker gets “dusty tokens” (which are also earned through other online events in various amounts). Dusty tokens are basically a side currency that unlocks bonus content, and it’s a soulless grind. Various bonuses like extra costumes and gestures only become available once you reach certain dusty token thresholds, and the highest bonus requires 6000 of them. To put that into perspective, I played for over 40 hours, did every mission in the game and every online event that popped up except for two or three challenges against other users, and still only ended up with 346 dusty tokens by the time I finished.

Bugs, glitches, and other annoying stuff

Starting with the smallest problem of the small, objects caught in the stasis field sometimes fly in front of the camera and block your view. I’d occasionally have a problem where my talisman that automatically grabs objects would grab a bunch of park benches that would then fly in front of the camera and obscure my view, and the more objects you upgrade your stasis ability to be able to hold at once, the more chaotic this field of random objects becomes. This can be worked around somewhat once you have the Jupiter style since all objects caught in the stasis field will be crushed down to a single projectile (and you can then switch back into your preferred style while maintaining the ball), but it’s still one of those minor little problems that can occasionally become a hassle to deal with. Sadly, though, there are much bigger problems than just that. For one, the game runs at a noticeably slower frame rate than Gravity Rush Remastered did. That’s not surprising given the fact that the first game was covered in fog that obscured a great deal and had far fewer objects lying around, not to mention almost no destructibility whatsoever, but there are a few rare moments where the frame rate in Gravity Rush 2 chugs all the way down to ~10 FPS. These occur mostly when the camera gets too close to particle effects (you can see this in the embedded missile video above at 7:55), though it also becomes a problem in a sidequest where you have to dress up as the movie star and lure a bunch of NPCs to a certain location. The more you get following you, the slower the game runs, and this became such a problem that I actually ended the mission with time left on the clock because I was worried that drawing any more NPCs would make the game chug and increase my chances of getting caught while the game stuttered.

The physics are incredibly awkward when platforming, so the rare parts
that require platforming without gravity powers are awful.

There are also problems with the physics, especially on slopes, and while the game’s emphasis on gravity shifting keeps these from manifesting in an ugly way outside of a small number of sidequests that demand precision platforming, those sidequests are made so much more painful and irritating because of these problems. To illustrate how ugly this can get, there’s one series of sidequests in particular where you’re acting as a stunt double for a movie, and in one section of this you have to jump from flying vehicle to flying vehicle. The camera being improved means that this is much more viable than it would have been in the first game, but a new problem arises when you’re jumping from uneven ground and the physics think you’re in the air because the ground slopes downward somewhat, so instead of jumping to the first vehicle, the game instead ignores your attempt at a jump and causes you to fall and fail the quest mere seconds in.

I also had one sidequest around halfway in where a weird white line appeared out of nowhere along the screen. No other quests had anything like this happen during them, and yet this white line continued to appear when I angled the camera in a certain way during this one quest. That was panic-inducing until I realized it was a reproducible problem with the game rather than the system failing.

Finally, there are the things that weren’t bugs so much as terrible design decisions. The boss fights toward the end of the game would be an example of this, as they’re either giant and boring to fight, or nimble enemies who have to be fought in midair and that render your limited gravity gauge more of an irritation than it should be. On top of that, you’re suddenly given control of Raven out of nowhere, and she controls differently enough from Kat for this to feel incredibly awkward. Some of these bad design decisions circle back to being problems with the story, too, such as the fact that half of the “finishers” you perform in the game don’t actually finish off the boss, instead giving the game an opportunity to have them shrug it off to show off how super-duper powerful they are. Something like this can only be effectively used maybe once or twice, so by the end of the game it ceased to be a surprise anymore and completely lost its impact. It’s also kind of confusing at first how so many characters have identical portraits, so sidequests sometimes have to begin with Kat shouting out to whoever the quest involves to differentiate them from the other people who share the same portrait picture in dialogue. It’s crazy to think that they had time to waste time making Hekseville prettier, but didn’t bother giving certain characters their own unique looks.

Jirga Para Lhao is pretty and has good music

As with so much else in this game, everything about Jirga Para Lhao is graphically and musically pleasing, while everything about Hekseville is merely passable. Fantasy Brazil is gorgeous and colorful while Hekseville, despite its makeover, is still so bland and forgettable that its areas have to be differentiated with different color schemes. Its music seems to be reused from the first game without any changes, as well, and while those tracks are passable enough, they don’t even come close to the new stuff populating the first half of the game. There’s an early section where Kat ends up on stage through a bizarre series of events and sings out an impromptu song, and not only does this manage to tie into the story in a surprisingly relevant way, but the song itself is memorable enough that I’ve had it stuck in my head for the past couple days. If I had any criticism about the game’s art, it’d be that it uses far too much blur at times; it’s easy for fast-moving scenes to become absolutely coated in it far beyond what’s necessary, and I don’t doubt it would look better and run faster (even if only slightly) if it showed a bit more restraint. There’s also a significant amount of pop-in, and it’s not uncommon to fall to the ground in Jupiter style, only to sit around as the low-texture ground is replaced with the up-close version, the surrounding area is populated by NPCs who appear out of nowhere, and then trees and light posts suddenly appear around them. As for the music, though, I have zero complaints outside of the reused tracks. I was really impressed by how good it was this time around, especially since I was expecting more passable orchestral fluff and instead got a ton of variance.

Gravity Rush 2

Gravity Rush 2 Screenshots: Page 1

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Gravity Rush 2 Screenshots: Page 2

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