Grav­ity Rush 2 PS4

Kei­ichiro Toyama’s vivid city has never looked bet­ter

EDGE - - GAMES SECTIONS -

The un­cer­e­mo­ni­ous exit of Hek­seville’s ne­far­i­ous, power-hun­gry mayor at the con­clu­sion of the first Grav­ity Rush ap­pears to have done won­ders for the on­cebe­sieged town. The cloud city’s dream­like lay­out, a chaotic jum­ble of ar­chi­tec­tural styles from Euro­pean town­houses and Mex­i­can fave­las to Ed­war­dian fronted man­sions and cramped sky­scrapers, is fa­mil­iar. But even in the PlaySta­tion 4 re­mas­ter of the Vita orig­i­nal, it never looked quite so bright, tex­tured and vivid as now. Hek­seville’s town square, for ex­am­ple, is freshly painted in a riot of colour with pea-green palm trees, vivid sun um­brel­las and cheery jug­glers. We’re a long way from Shibuya here (not to men­tion the foggy en­vi­rons of cre­ative di­rec­tor Kei­ichiro Toyama’s Silent Hill se­ries), but there’s some­thing of Jet Set Ra­dio about the newly ren­dered place. It’s ar­rest­ing. Not that pro­tag­o­nist Kat ap­pears to have ben­e­fited much from the over­haul – at least in hous­ing terms. She still lives in a squalid nest, housed within a rusty drainage pipe, deep be­low the city. At least now it can be can be cus­tomised and up­graded with col­lectible fur­ni­ture.

Kat’s clutch of abil­i­ties, gifted to her by a stray cat in the first game, re­main in­tact. Chief among th­ese is the abil­ity to ease and tauten the Earth’s grav­i­ta­tional pull at will, us­ing this to blast her­self from side­walk to tree branch, from rooftop to steeple, along tum­bling air­borne lines. As in the first game, ma­noeu­vring Kat with pre­ci­sion as she top­ples through the air while carv­ing clouds and skim­ming build­ings takes a lit­tle prac­tice. At times you may curse the cat for not sim­ply giv­ing her the more straight­for­ward abil­ity to fly. But the grav­ity shtick clicks into a more log­i­cal place when you fight your first en­emy

and, with a wave of the hand, gather up a tor­nado lumpy with pieces of stone and any nearby de­bris not pinned down (those colour­ful um­brel­las make for ca­pa­ble spears). Once sum­moned, it can be sent whip­ping to­ward tar­geted foes. The en­gine shows off its power in th­ese mo­ments: once it’s hit its tar­get, the hur­ri­cane stills and ev­ery piece of hur­dled de­bris clat­ters to the ground.

It’s just the first of Kat’s up­graded set of attacks. She’s also able to lift into the air and aim a dash­ing kick at en­e­mies, a move that can be fol­lowed up with a me­ter-drain­ing spin attack to drill through crowds of ag­gres­sors.

You’re here to learn more about Kat’s ori­gins, and most of the cast of the orig­i­nal game make a re­turn. But there’s plenty of room in the sky for fresh faces. Kali is an an­gel of light able to use crys­tal magic to re­gen­er­ate health in­stantly while her coun­ter­point, Durga, is an an­gel of dark­ness. With the mayor gone there’s a spot for a new an­tag­o­nist too. Two, in fact: a pair of cyborg twins known as the Delta Team Rebels. The ex­panded cast is ac­com­pa­nied by a clutch of fresh ideas. A new min­ing mode al­lows you to hunt pre­cious gems and tal­is­man stones, which pro­vide a range of buffs that can be in­stalled to up­grade Kat’s abil­i­ties, in­creas­ing the dam­age dealt by kicks, for ex­am­ple, boost­ing attack power or health, or in­creas­ing the like­li­hood you’ll find gem­stones.

Th­ese min­ing sites, known as trenches, ap­pear sep­a­rate from the rest of the city (and the core sto­ry­line), in­stead pre­sent­ing a sort of op­tional dun­geon. In th­ese for­saken places there’s none of Grav­ity Rush 2’ s new­found vi­brancy; they are murky nether­re­gions, rid­dled with en­e­mies and stud­ded with grav­ity orbs, ob­jects onto which you can lock and fling your­self to­ward at speed. Min­ing ar­eas scale in dif­fi­culty and, as in the

Dark Souls games, there’s an asyn­chro­nous as­pect as you hap­pen upon items left be­hind by other play­ers who died while in­side the trench. In this way, each player’s fail­ure con­trib­utes to the po­ten­tial suc­cess of those who come later.

Grav­ity Rush 2 blends gen­res with el­e­gance. MMOG-es­que ges­tures to al­low you to gently in­ter­act with NPCs in the game – send­ing a friendly greet­ing wave, or sit­ting down cross­legged on the floor next to them – have been added. More sub­stan­tial story in­ter­ac­tions are told in comic-book pan­els, many of which are lightly an­i­mated, which flit past in an in­or­di­nately stylish man­ner with a stab of the but­ton. The cam­era is­sues that dogged the first game, mean­while, ap­pear to have been solved, with nei­ther a sense of nau­sea nor dis­ori­en­ta­tion af­ter ex­tended play. It adds up to a hefty up­grade of an idea that begged ex­pan­sion, a wel­come re­turn to th­ese un­der­ap­pre­ci­ated skies.

The hur­ri­cane stills and ev­ery piece of hur­dled de­bris clat­ters to the ground

A snappy tu­to­rial guides you through the ba­sics of con­trol­ling Kat as she flings through the air, al­low­ing you to choose be­tween a sim­ple and a tougher route through the city

ABOVE Kat’s fe­line friend, the one that granted her grav­i­ty­bend­ing abil­i­ties in the first game, ac­com­pa­nies her through­out the se­quel

TOP LEFT Hek­seville’s mul­ti­coloured, mul­ti­cul­tural aes­thetic is backed up by an equally di­verse sound­track from Ko­hei Tanaka, fea­tur­ing live in­stru­men­ta­tion and world­wide in­flu­ences.

ABOVE Not all of the world is de­struc­tible, but enough of it can be af­fected by Kat’s grav­ity-shak­ing ac­tiv­i­ties to dras­ti­cally in­crease the sense of im­mer­sion

Grav­i­tyRush2 pre­sents one of the most al­lur­ing and far-reach­ing cityscapes yet en­vi­sioned on Sony’s hard­ware, a tourist’s de­light from any an­gle

It’s un­clear what role the twin an­gels of light and dark­ness will play in Kat’s story, but di­rec­tor Kei­ichiro Toyama in­sists that it’s a cru­cial one

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