Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Gravity Rush 2 Review


PS4 Pro on Ben-Q 2560x1440 monitor

This is a very difficult review to write since I would automatically say 10/10 it's KAT, masterpiece!!! Same goes for the upcoming Kingdom Hearts 3, because of SORA, yes 10/10 no question without even playing it, and Ni No Kuni 2 due to my love of the first one!

Indeed, along with Aloy, Sora and Kat are my favorite video game characters to date. This explains the procrastination as Gravity Rush 2 is the first game released in 2017 I played. However, we need to break this down as objectively as possible.

I don't feel one needs to play the original to enjoy Gravity Rush 2, as it expands on the same themes, and in all aspects, improves upon the original, which fortunately has been remastered for the PS4 and available digitally. Apparently, it is hard to find a physical copy of Gravity Rush 1.

It was wonderful to find out about Kat's back story in this sequel, which completely explains why she is so heroic and altruistic. Further, Kat has a lovable self-effacing nature, lack of confidence, and almost always is under-appreciated (this is a running joke) compared to other gravity shifters, such as Raven (in Gravity Rush 1), and, in this sequel, Kali Angel, who are both portrayed as being "cooler" than Kat, with the ever elusive "star power".

I can see Raven having this celebrity status (she is extremely charismatic), but Kali Angel is rather cheesy. I believe this characterization of Kali was intentional, as she represents a grotesque parody of Raven. In this sequel, we have the added bonus of playing as Raven in one sequence, and is it just me, but she is rather overpowered (that health bar!), so I can see why Kat was intimidated by her in the original. At any rate, despite the overwhelming odds and lack of confidence, Kat never loses hope and enthusiasm, always rising to the challenge.

The gameplay continues to have the wonderful feeling of controlling gravity and the rush that comes from falling at high speeds with tight controls in traversal--yes, the game is aptly titled. Additionally, Kat has three different powers that she gains over the course of the game--these different forms have different feels of controlling gravity and different attack styles, which gives an added dimension to the gameplay compared to the first one. It is wonderful controlling Kat especially with what feels like 60 FPS on the pro (because of the fast, fluid pacing), but is actually a solid 30 FPS. She certainly controls better than the original as they are more precise.

The graphics are incredible--I cannot see aliasing and the world is very detailed and textured, with destructible elements. Each town is very different from the other. The art-style is glorious and colorful, except for one part of the world which was intentionally gloomy and dark. The visuals are a treat for the eyes. I have found a lot of the NPC characters rather humorous so I enjoyed talking to quite a few to get a representative feel of the culture of a particular town.

The story is intriguing and compels you forward to find out the mysteries of a gravitational disturbance. I never felt bored as there is always something new to discover in the main and side quests, as well as talking to the NPCs. Due to the ending, I believe the developers are planning on a sequel depending on the sales of this game.

One of the issues (which nevertheless was improved compared to the first) is that at times, I was fighting the camera angles, but this is relieved almost 100% of the time by clicking the R3 button which resets the camera. This was improved compared to the predecessor. Attacking trash mobs is rather addictive and fun; I love the sounds of glass breaking and crunching as you attack and break their weak spots. However, I found the boss fights a bit clunky and hard to control, but certainly improved in this sequel.

I enjoy the side missions as they often expand on character development and story elements, though some are tedious in nature. As the game is open world, you do not have to do any side missions, but I'm hoping if Gravity Rush 3 is being developed, that they will have more varied quests. I have not even touched upon the challenge missions since I'm awful at timed trials, and the gravity slide is hard for me to control in this game.

Certainly, my experience in the original is that you have to be pretty precise to get the best times, which despite many tries, I was not able to achieve. However, I do appreciate the game in that you're not forced to do the side or challenge missions due to the good balancing--you can level up enough just doing the main quests, so it is indeed refreshing that there is not much grinding to complete the game comfortably.

Even so, if there weren't so many great games that happened to come out within a few months of each other, and my ever growing back log, I would have definitely completed all the side missions and even tackle some of the challenge missions. However, Nioh came out almost immediately after. For some reason, 2017 is the year of so many great games being published back to back!

I must be the world's slowest player as I racked up nearly 100 hours to complete the game including some side missions, and unearthing a hidden chapter mission--this was very surprising to me, because it didn't feel like I spent a lot of time. I believe a lot of the hours spent is due to the fun of the traversal, and finding experience and status-enhancing gems. To be more realistic, according to How Long To Beat, the average is 20 hours for the main campaign only, and a rather significant 70 hours for completionist, so I would say you will definitely get your money's worth.

If you don't have a large backlog, I would recommend playing the first Gravity Rush before this game, but again, this is not necessary.

Due to my love for the character of Kat and supporting characters, the world/lore, and the artstyle/graphics, it is my own personal masterpiece, but objectively, I see it as a great game.

If there were to be a Gravity Rush 3, I can see it being a masterpiece as the developers are certainly extremely talented and can provide more interesting side quests, better controls of different attack styles, and improved camera angles.

Rating: A-, great to almost superb.

The How of Happiness Review

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