I finally played Gravity Rush 2 and it's everything I wanted

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More gravity than a Steel Reserve

Gravity Rush was my favorite game of 2012. I listed the sequel among my most anticipated games of the year for three straight years. I waited in line for an hour and a half to play the PS4 remaster in Tokyo. Last night I complained about Sony leaving the newest trailer out of its otherwise-excellent press conference. Apparently LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a game: 1) we know about, 2) is coming to every single console in the world, 3) is out in two weeks, was more worth showing a trailer for. Days Gone got two spots!

Fine, fine, whatever.

I played the fucking thing (no line! America rules!) at E3 and got damn is it good.

First off, remember I am playing maimed, on account of the dislocated thumb on my right (dominant) hand. That made “aiming” the direction Kat “falls” when she shifts gravity a bit difficult. But I did every race and combat challenge in the Vita version and was able to complete the demo thanks to sheer skill, good looks, and beautiful eyes.

The demo opened up with Kat and Syd riding a huge airship into the South America-inspired port town of Jirga Para Lhao, the colorful marketplace-looking area that’s been shown in trailers. The dialogue is still text-based and includes motion comics you can rotate slightly with the PS4 controller. A quick prompt sends Kat into the market to handle some low-level enemies and get players acclimated, at which point I returned to the port to do a mission involving tracking down a thief who split with some precious cargo.

Kat can now switch between new styles: Lunar Style and Jupiter Style. Lunar Style gives her the equivalent of Earth’s moon’s physics. Her movement mimics good ‘ol Buzz Aldrin, with long, slow jumps and a skipping sort of walk. It also opens up the Wormhole Kick while Kat is floating. This extension of the original game’s flying kick has Kat teleport towards the enemy, kick, and allows you to do a few follow-up regular kicks. Jupiter Style slows her down (her regular movement becomes more like a walking speed) and while gravity is shifted, you can hold the attack button, charge up, and unleash a kick that does damage in a wide radius from where it lands.

You switch styles by swiping up and down on the PS4 touch pad, while clicking the pad will have Kat revert to the default style. I liked the skill-ceiling in the original game’s combat when you add unlocked moves and take full advantage of the gravity-disregarding acrobatics, but I know some people felt it was a bit repetitive, so adding a few inputs and strategic considerations is welcomed. Kat also starts with all the abilities from the original and builds from there. There was a progression element I didn’t get to see, wherein Kat can find and equip runes that have positive effects, but with some drawbacks.

Gravity Rush 2 also has some asynchronous multiplayer elements; for example, in the time trials, you can race against up to four instances of ghost data.

The core mechanic in Gravity Rush 2 is as amazing as ever. I’m not sure there’s a game I like moving around in more, falling through the sky, crashing into buildings with a satisfying thud, looking out across the world, and then flying around some more. The intro area is brimming with colorful life. There are even ducks walking about and children squealing at them in delight. The unrivaled art style was one of the original’s great strengths and the sequel is 2.5 times as big with similarly distinct districts. And while it’d be a rehash, I’m dying to see something similar to the first’s Pleasure Quarter.

Everything went out on a bang when I got into a fight with huge masses of soldiers down by the port. Raven came in to help, while the soldiers called upon some beefy mechs, culminating in a boss fight against a super mech that necessitated beating up weak spots to expose its core before Kat and Raven ended the fight with a gorgeous finishing move.

Given how jazzed I’ve been for this game, I’m glad that I walked away from my first hands-on absolutely content and ready for more. Now I just need this thumb to heal before Gravity Rush 2 comes out later this year.