The demo released last night is surely a sign of good things to come.
Perhaps what everyone says about video game sequels is in fact true, and they are the actual, intended vision that the development team had when making the original game. As with Assassin’s Creed 2 and Watch Dogs 2, Gravity Rush 2 looks set to be trimming down the fat of the original entry, if the demo released last night for the game is anything to go by.
The demo itself, while only lasting roughly 20 minutes, gives the player a good insight into the world that they’ll inhabit through protagonist Kat later next month when Gravity Rush 2 releases. While this new land carries the same structural designs as the original game (read: everything floats), there have been certain design changes, which really caught my eye when harking back to my time spent with the original.
Gravity Rush 2 looks as though it carries a significantly enhanced color pallet from the previous entry, and a market area found within the demo particularly highlights this, as each individual market stall, as well as the people themselves, are garbed in eye-catching colors that instantly draw the player in from quite a distance.
Having recently played through the original Gravity Rush, and taking note of how the game suffered from Kat constantly getting caught on objects around the scenery, it appears as though Japan Studio have taken significant steps to combat this, going to lengths to create a protagonist and a control scheme that are more accessible than before. The overall gameplay loop flows incredibly smoothly, creating a protagonist that ultimately feels easier to control.
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However outside of the feeling of exploration in the open world, the combat in Gravity Rush 2 is still beleaguered by issues that the original game harboured. While ground combat can feel overly easy from the simple tap of a single button to hit, properly landing attacks on floating enemies is particularly difficult, as although it’s now easier to rectify Kat to stop her falling outside of the combat zone, it’s still easy to zoom straight past enemies, missing your floating karate-type kick entirely.
Outside of the combat, there are also other issues that this sequel carries over from the original. Two chase sequences are initiated over just 20 minutes in the demo, and both are a result from the player undertaking fetch quests, either for themselves or other citizens around the world. This in particular gives me cause for concern as to the quest structure in Gravity Rush 2, as the original placed a heavy reliance on fetch quests as a means to make the player explore the open world. However, rather than exploration, these repeated fetch quests became increasingly tiresome over the course of the game, and I can only hope Gravity Rush 2 hasn’t repeated this error.
Overall though, Gravity Rush 2 contains significant enhancements from the original game, if this demo just a month from release is anything to go by. Time and effort has obviously been dedicated to create both a more eye-catching open world as well as a control scheme that helps the overall flow of the game. However, the game still carries issues from the original entry, including stiff combat mechanics and basic fetch quests. We’ll have to find out how it all plays out in the full game when it releases for PS4 on January 20th, 2017.