The original Gravity Rush was easily one of my favorite Vita releases. Sure, it was recently ported to PS4 as Gravity Rush Remastered, and, in doing so, lost its former exclusivity along with many other Vita releases. That said, there is something really special about Gravity Rush's original debut with its charming aesthetic on the Vita's gorgeous OLED screen and basically an entire game centered around, pardon me, the free-falling rush of controlled gravity. It certainly was not flawless, but it was ripe with potential and left many fans pining for a sequel after the original's end .
Of course, a high-budget sequel directly to Vita was no longer in the cards now that Sony has pretty much abandoned the PS Vita in favor of the far more successful PS4 home console. Thankfully, Sony did not forget to make Gravity Rush 2 while shifting entirely to PS4, and though it is not certainly where I would ever expect to play it, I am glad that Gravity Rush 2 seems to remember what made the first title good and clearly improving upon it.
What I liked about the demo is that gravity defying heroine, Kat, does not seem to have lost any of her former skills whatsoever. The tutorial refresher shows off all of her former abilities from melee attacks to being able to levitate/toss objects and everything controls a bit tighter than it once was. In particular, her mid-air dive kick that was a little bit too necessary in the original seems more accurate.
Where Gravity Rush 2 starts drawing the differences is by making the world more lively, They amplify the already great cel-shaded aesthetic to the point where local NPCs are noticeably more character-based in the bustling marketplace they show off, which is refreshing to see after how empty and constantly terrified NPCs of the original were. Though, they still seem skittish when Kat uses her powers.
This carries over to the side quests as well, which seem to actually have cutscenes and varied mission design this time around. In the original Gravity Rush, side quests were little more than time trials without any context. In the demo, however, they have you meet an eccentric delivery man whom has his cargo stolen by pirates. So, Kat zips around and flies after them only to be attacked by monsters. Beyond her standard attack kit, they give Kat a little taste of her entirely new crowd-clearing special moves as well as completely new fighting styles. The fighting style they show off in particular is called 'Lunar Style,' which seems more capable of dealing with aerial foes and also has her literally teleport as her connects her flurry of kicks.
Admittedly, I did not see much more beyond that on the show floor as it seems to have had like a ten-minute time limit in place. Which is a real shame as the stuff right after seemed much more exciting with entirely new enemies and more bombastic attack skills (I envy those who saw more behind closed doors). But it was nice to see key criticisms of the original game getting addressed in Gravity Rush 2 for however brief my time was with it. And, for as little of the main story they showed off, there clearly looks to be familiar faces from first release making a quick return which fans will likely appreciate.
Playing Gravity Rush 2 on the show floor was quite surreal. For one reason, it was because it is on PS4, where I would not have even considered possibility for a sequel a few years ago with a former Vita exclusive. The other reason is that I still feel like I don't know a whole lot about Gravity Rush 2, despite the final release supposedly happening by the end of the year.
Gravity Rush 2 is flowing with potential by feeling clearly familiar in the eye-catching aesthetic while at the same time looks to go out of its way to address criticisms with the original's gameplay by adding more depth and variety overall. I can only hope that they upcoming title ultimately goes above and beyond expectations, but much like the original I expect to enjoy my time with the final release of Gravity Rush 2 regardless.