Joker Reviews: Gravity Rush 2 - A PT look. (Experimental Format)
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Joker: Today we took a crack at a hidden gem, the Gravity Rush series.
Ryuji: I told you that you you should have taken notes on the first game
Ann: Isn't that why he said he wasn't going to review the first one?
Yusuke: But he can't just ignore the first one! The beauty of the art! The concepts! Those magnificant shades of vivid color!
Futaba: He also can't ignore the core differences in the leveling eeeitttherrr~~~!
Haru: But you know the ambiance is from the music, right?
Makoto: I told you having them get involved in your reviews may not have been a good idea
Morgana: Guys, let him finish talking.
Joker: *cough* As I was saying, we took a crack at Gravity Rush, and I have a few notes to point out. The crew loved what I was doing and decided that we needed to have a group opinion, as some of my previous reviews were a tad.... harsh.
Makoto: You mean how it seems like you hated mosted of the games you tried?
Ann: He has his reasons, from Asthetics, to how they worked.
Morgana: I should have reminded you to sleep while typing this...
Joker: The review itself will be flittered with non-story spoilers, but there will be segments talking about areas that you can't get into outside of progression, and we will not be talking about the overall plot points, but how we get from point A to Z. Read on if you don't care about that all that jazz, but you have been warned.
It's Show Time.
Joker: Immediatly starting up the game, you get graced to what appears to be a deep sea diver. They are decending down into the depths in a cage like elevator. All around the scuba guys are breaking apart green growths from the ground.
You are given control of the character, and you start treking through the wayward, until you yourself need to start working on the green growth. During a short duration of issues, the Scuba suit comes off due to damage, and it's revealed that you're playing as Kat, the series protagonist, and her partner is Syd, a police detective from the first game.
You quickly learn that there was an issue in your hometown that resulted in you, Raven, and Syd to be transported to another location.
Makoto: We found that in order to fully understand what is going on, you can't just finish the first game. You have to sit through two animated shows, read some online material, and play the Raven DLC to fully get what happened from the first game till now.
Morgana: That sounds rough, almost like they didn't want to tell you what you really needed to do, and expected you to cash out on extra material
Makoto: The Raven DLC was free, so there's that.
It does not take you long to get your powers back. For unspecified in-game reasons (Raven's DLC) your power source, a galaxy-esque cat, has been missing for two years. When you finally get them back, you find your outfit from the first game repaired and you get to move on to some tutorial.
Ann: The outfit itself is a nice little black design with gold wire wraps. This is a nice design that blends well, but the downfall to this is it almost looks like a trash bag being held on by the gold wraps due to how baggy it is on her. This is a shame since her first outfit, a whit top and short shorts, look *sooo cute* on her!~
Ryuji: What, no cat puns, Morgana? You're oddly silent during Kat's description
Morgana: I only have eyes for one feline in my life *swoons in Ann's direction*
Morgana: The Tutorial itself isn't all that bad, but it does drag on a bit. For a game that is designed from the ground up to assume you know what is going on, and how to play the game, it really tries to hammer home how to play as if you've never even heard of the series before.
It took Joker around 15 minutes of flying back and fourth between landing points just trying to hit specific spots so the game would trigger the next tutorial. And this won't be the last tutorial it throws at you.
The other tutorials includ~
Yusuke: Enough Morgana, I've waited long enough! The dreary landscape surrounding this occult like mining facility is a sight to behold, as the cosmic greys of how dark and damp the surrounding is fit vividly with the floating architecture of the wooden base case!
Makoto: Which realistically doens't make sense. How are they even flying around like that? The Crystals on the bottom seem fantasy enough to hand wave, but there's not even a control mechinism to dictate direction
Futaba: Because it's a video game you book worm. Don't over analyze it.
Yusuke: The surrounding enviornment is a raging storm of reds and purples symbolizing danger! It's fantastic to watch as if you get too close, it will cover you in a hatred cloud and transport you back to saftey, as if to tell you where your boundries are. The game's landscape speaks to you in it's own way so you know where to go, and where to avoid! It speaks to the soul!
Futaba: Can it already, Inari!
Haru: It does help when the background music isn't too loud, but it really does compliment the scenery of where you're going, and how majestic it is to "Fly" through the sky.
Morgana: You mean fall?
Haru: Oh...um... yes. Fall through the sky, right. It's a gental tune in the background that really highlights what it's like to move through the sky, and helps set the mood for cutscenes.
They really help keep you invested, without drowning out what's happening on the first of the screen.
Ann: That said, the rest of the characters in the mining area give a very good impression that they live in a dirty enviornment where being clean is a luxury. The outfits they were are a series of stitched together cloths, belts, and light leathers they found for their mining sources.
Ryuji: What the eff guys, are we getting a bit out of had for the first few minutes of the game? It feels like this review has already derailed
Futaba: It's because there's a lot of information to be had all at once. They don't just visually info dump you with controls, guide points, and scenery, but verbally as well. The beginning of this game really is quite slow.
Makoto: The Gravity powers in this game allow you to change your center of gravity, so you can stand on any surface, or any place you'd like for a limited time. By time you finally get your cat back, you really do feel like you're super human, since you go from running and trying your best to get from point to point, but just cruzing over to them without much of an issue.
Joker: Guys, tone it down. I know you're all excited to get a word in, but I need to focus the review.
Joker: When you finally get past the first part of the game, and you get past a chunk of the story involving your new boss Lisa, her daughter, and moving on to minining, you're giving the chance to show people what you've got by heading into mining escapades with your gravity powers.
Morgana: This is another glorified tutorial zone. At first they let you float around and experiment with your powers, flying into orbs, drop kicking, and the like, for about a good 10 minutes, until a seemingly pointless tutorial drops on you, and then proceeds to tell you how to use the attacks that you've already figured out
Yusuke: The placement of the green mining orbs is rather quite drab. It gives you less of a sense that you're mining a peice of history, but more like you're cleaning up a gross infestation that has spread across the world. It really gives a visual feel of how the life of everyone has degrated over time!
Futaba: The gameplay at this point is kinda hit or miss based on your tasts. The way it works is you have to float in the air, aim your cursor, then hit the attack button. From here, you will divebomb the enemy or ore, and drop kick them using the "Gravity Kick".
For the most part this is okay, and gets the job done, but the game seems to over adjust and you tend to go flying past everyone and off into the ether half the time.
The kick tends to insta KO monsters, sometimes taking 2 or 3 hits for the harder ones, but some times it's better to land and go kung-fu happy on them with basic ground attacks just because it's faster to not miss multiple times, make yourself re-adjust, and orient yourself so you know where you are vs the placement of enemies. Due to the camera constantly floating and moving, it's easy to end up upside down, and get confused as the players as to where you are positionally.
Ann: The enemies themselfs are this gross looking little black creatures. Some of them look like tadpoles, some look like flowers, but they all have black and deep red bodies with a red eyeball looking at you. These are called the cores, and are the enemies weakpoints. Hitting them multiple times will cause the core to either break, which kills your enemy, or shift to deeper red colors letting you know you're atleast getting somewhere.
Joker: As the game moves along, it does introduce a new re-occuring feature that I actually had some annoyance with: Stone Tablets.
The first time it's introduced, it seemed like it was going to be a fun little side quest, the "Forbidden lands" where you read a tabel, do the challenege, get rewards.
What I didn't expect is for these tablets to be the primary driving force for the entire game.
Joker: It's story recycling the above features until you finally get to move along to the new zone.
It's the primary place you'll be for a large chunk of the story. The game introduces quite a few new characters for you to keep track off, and an open world style place for fetch quests.
Makoto: It's a large scale city, much like you'd expet to see in places like New York City, except they are on individual islands, and these islands are floating on the clouds.
Yusuke: The sudden change is breathtaking, as the last area was made of swirls of Red and Purples, but now you are set free in a blue sky field of freedom! You are now soaring through the skies~
Yusuke: *cough* *SOARING* through the skies as you traverse from building to building!
Futaba: As you move between places, you notice the world is littered in red crystal. It's designed to allow you to get a feel for where everything is, but also giving you material so you can level up your skill categories giving you further enhancments to your power.
Morgana: At this point, Joker actually gave up on side quests, as you are quired to move from one side of the map, to another, just to do more side quests that requires either backgracking, or power sliding up buildings and the game glitching out because you hit a window seal.
Makoto: It's easy to see why. It can take 5 minutes to go from one side of the map to another, only to find out that was the first half of the map as the second half of the city was hiding under the clouds below. The map size really is a tad silly for what they're asking for you to do.
Morgana: But there are manholes! There was no tutorial telling you how to fast travel between each one, but if you stumble upon one, you can quickly go to different manholes
Futuaba: Meh. That would be useful most of the time it would take you just as much time to travel to a manhole, as it did to get to your destination.
This was a pretty lame way to mess up on side quests, as the game made it so you level up by finishing challenges and side stories, which incrase your health and Gravity Gauge so you can float longer.
Joker: Moving from the upper city, to the lower cities got very tedious, and it actually gave me the urge to pass up on extra levels just to move the story along.
And there are a lot of story in this game. At first I was under the impression this would be a 5 hour adventure, but the 5 hour park past before I even got to this floating city. Another 5 or so hours passed as I was working on progression, got Raven on my team, and ended up doing more tablet challenges.
You do eventually learn that the upper city is the "high class" with the lower city being the slums, and everyone is being oppressed because the counsil that oversees it all are A) Money hungry and B) Doing something with a rift to another dimension. They don't exactly clarfiy on this ever as to why.
Ryuji: Sounds like the perfect target to steal some hearts
Joker: Mining, overthrowing a government, and fighting a giant living city~
Makoto: You mean you fought something the size of a city?
An actual city came to fight. And this battle was the first time I got truly fustrated with this game.
You had to attack the cores on it's arms to break it, but because you're out in the ether, you don't have a good grasp as to where you are, where the camera is, or where the arms are, as they keep moving at the same time you kept moving.
If someone who legitametly had motion sickness tried this, they'd vomit atleast a half dozen times before it's done.
It got very problematic trying to break it's cores, while at the same time flying directly past th ecore because the targeting was bad, only to run out of gauge and end up dead falling in the sky because I had to give it a moment to recharge, only to run out of power again before I got to a core because the arms moved that far away.
Futaba: Spoooileeeeeer: This isn't the last time you'll hear this.
Joker: After a series of tablet challenges, and new "Forms" where you can equip a gold bracelet to make you heavy, or a light blue bracelet to make you super light, features I honestly tried not to use as they are neither useful in combat, nor make your life easier. I can see how some people can use this to really cause havoc on the battle field, but it really was not working for me.
Morgana: Their "Tutorial" for this is a series of challenge fights when you get them. You learn that the Lunar Style makes you floaty as all get out, so you tend to over shoot things worse than your standard gravity kick, while walking is a pain, and the Junipar Style, which makes you not walk fast, swing really slow, and makes it hard to hit anything, while also taking away your evasion.
Joker: This trend keeps going on through the game, where you meet people you think are good, when they are not, and constant plot twists that keep you progressing through the story. The next town you get put in recycles pretty much all of the above, including giant boss fights, but I ende dup having some series issues with it, due to the design of the boss.
Ann: The boss in question is a gross giant block of faces, it totally looks like chewed gum that was stuck to the side of the building!
Futaba: The mechanics of the figth are pretty aggrivating in a typical sense. Joker assumes part of the trouble he had was caused by the lack of side quest leveling, but after he did about a quarter of the available quests for levels, there was hardly any real noticable change in how long you can float, so it's probably safe to disregard this notion.
The fight itself consists of you having to Gravity Kick the eyesballs off each face of the block, while it screams at you. It can close it's eyes for however long it feels like, an dthen scream at you causing you to fly backwards. Joker ran out of energy quite a bit during this stage, and died quite a few times.
Haru: It's not often when Joker shows visible frustration with a boss, but he did have to take a few brakes due to how annoying it was.
Futaba: Kick the boss's face just in time for it to blink, or for you to overshoot the eyeball, miss entirely, get turned upside down, get screamed at, get tossed away, and then fall due to lack of energy.
There *are* some energy nodes floating around the city that you can try and use to stay floating, but for the most part they are equal distance away from the boss as from you, and you tend to burn most of your energy just trying to get to one, defeating the point.
Ryuji: What, no Yusuke comment of the color of the soul? The screams of the damned? The thing looks like a pink Legon persona.
Ann: We gave him some instant ramen. He' sin the corner eating quietly.
Joker: There's quite a bit more that happens between scenes, and there is one final chapter of the game, but I'll give a light summery as this review is stretching on long enough as is.
The final chapter clears up any questions you had with who's who, involving climbing to the top of the tree you're living on, Kat's past, and it inclues very long winded, very anti-climatic story telling by way of reliving memories, being tricked, and a final boss fight that was actually about as solid as when I fired off the Sinful Shell. If there was a boss fight that was actually interesting and felt meaningful, it was the final fight.
Overall, the game series itself is a hidden gem, but I vastly prefer the first game over the second, in terms of story telling, story progression, how powers are used, controls, and the like.
However, even though I had a significantly difficult time with some of the mechanics of the game, I still found myself having childlike fun using the Gravity Shifting powers, and seeing how the world was built up.
It's very recommended to try, even if I couldn't beat the DLC's final boss.