Released in 2012, “Gravity Rush” gave PlayStation Vita owners something to boast about, and made everyone else a wee bit jealous. The PS Vita finally had an original IP that was built around the system’s strengths. Critical reception was positive and the game developed a devout fan base, which only expanded after the release of a remastered edition on the PlayStation 4 in 2016. With a sequel scheduled to release on the PS4 later this year, let’s take a moment to reflect on what Gravity Rush 2 needs to improve upon, now that it’s on the big stage.
Better Use of Gravity Powers
The main draw of “Gravity Rush” is that it gives the player the power to manipulate gravity. Your primary means of traversal is flying through the air by controlling which direction gravity comes from. It’s not revolutionary, but it feels so satisfying. As the foundation for all your other moves, the game would be a clunky mess if they didn’t nail the feel. In short, I haven’t had this much fun navigating an environment since Grow Home.
The problem is there’s not enough to do with your gravitational powers. The game teases you by occasionally introducing minor challenges and obstacles in missions, but they feel under-developed.Gravity Rush 2 needs to design missions around all of your gravity defying moves, and force you to alternate between multiple abilities and think before you execute.
Delve deeper into the Lore
There were brief moments in “Gravity Rush” where backstory was explored and the history of the city was touched upon, but it was all purposely vague, as the whole game had a dreamy surreal atmosphere.
It’s time to pull the curtain up—there’s just too many interesting loose threads that need to be tied up and characters that need to be defined. Being that “Gravity Rush 2” takes place in a new exotic city, the air of mystique that surrounded its predecessor will still remain as there will be new rabbit holes to jump down in.
Flesh out the combat
The combat in Gravity Rush was relatively simple, yet acceptable, but after a few hours in, a single ability called the “gravity kick” overshadowed everything else, reducing most fights to spamming “Gravity kick” over and over again. The limited scope is understandable given that the game was an originally developed for the PS Vita, with its limited control scheme and hardware capability, however, Gravity Rush 2 is being developed exclusively for the PS4, so it’d be inexcusable if Sony doesn’t expand the combat.
The Gravity slide ability needs to be reworked, too—it was far more cumbersome than useful. Floating away mid-way through a slide became the norm; I could never get it to work properly. To top it off, I didn’t even know you could use it as an attack until the end of the game.
Breathe life in the city
While the mission design never encourages you to be creative with your gravity powers, the city of Hekseville does. Hekseville is broken up into four separate districts, each with its own distinct architecture and personality. The expertly crafted buildings, alley-ways, staircases, and even undersides, provide playgrounds that make hunting for collectibles a joy.
As beautiful as Hekseville is, I never got a sense of the people who inhabited it—the city didn’t feel alive. Only occasionally would side missions offer a glimpse of the lives of its citizens. The DLC mission packs did a better job, but once again only offered a surface level look at them—both literally and figuratively. I want to be able to explore the interiors of their homes, the city’s public buildings, and even the sewer systems.
Continue the Trend of Strong Female characters
“Gravity Rush” is one of those rare games that features a strong female cast without ever shoving their gender down your throat. Kat is a refreshing protagonist; witty, assertive, strong, and for a change, makes advances on the men she encounters. She’s genuinely funny and her interactions with other characters produce some great banter.
Every character in “Gravity Rush” is given just enough depth to make you care about the story. Visually, they all ooze a distinct Persian steampunk sense of style. This creative character design needs to be developed even more in “Gravity Rush 2.”