Gravity Rush 2 is stunning in 4K

Gravity Rush 2 hits shelves this week, and there’s definitely cause for excitement. This lengthy follow-up to the original 2012 Vita game is receiving high praise from critics, and it seems that those of us fortunate enough to have a PS4 Pro are in for a real treat.

Created by Keiichiro Toyama (Silent Hill, Siren), the Gravity Rush series puts the player in control of Kat — a red-eyed woman who can manipulate gravity as she sees fit. Picking right up where the first game ended, you’re tasked with navigating the open world with your stupefying powers in hopes of learning more about a particularly troubling gravitational event.

With 64 reviews aggregated on Metacritic, Gravity Rush 2 has earned an average score of 81/100. And on our sister site IGN, it earned a very impressive score of 8.4/10. The reviewer, Miranda Sanchez, thoroughly enjoyed the 40 hours she spent with this PS4 exclusive, but did run into some wonky controls and irksome story bits in the middle. Still, the superb art, jazzy soundtrack, varied locations, and fleshed out character arcs make this a game well worth playing.

In comparison, the original Vita release and the PS4 remaster of Gravity Rush received a 7.5/10 on IGN. On Metacritic, the Vita version earned and 83/100, and the remaster an 80/100. By and large, it seems that the Project Siren team at Sony were able to meet expectations, but failed to polish down some of the roughness found in the first game.

Gravity Rush 2 clearly has a lot going for it in the art and game design departments, but how does the tech hold up? Digital Foundry has tested the game on both the base PS4 and the PS4 Pro, and there’s plenty of good news here.

On the vanilla PS4, the game renders at a native 1080p, and is capped at 30fps. It can’t stay perfectly locked 100% of the time, but the dropped frames aren’t much of a problem. There are occasional stress points that cause brief dips into the high 20s, but it almost always hits its target. And compared to the demo released in late 2016, it’s clear that the team has been busy optimizing the game.

Running on the PS4 Pro, we’re still stuck with the same 30fps cap. Digital Foundry believes that the CPU-heavy physics simulations are the culprit, and the modest speed bump in the Pro simply isn’t enough to make much of a difference. However, the game is being rendered at a native 4K (2160p). Whether you’re playing on a UHD TV or down-sampling on a regular 1080p set, the additional sharpness is impressive.

Mind you, the textures and shading on display are identical to the 1080p presentation, so the visuals aren’t as perfect and pristine as they could be. Worse, the cutscenes are pre-rendered 1080p videos, so they look noticeably worse than live gameplay. It’s frustrating, but in a world of data caps and undersized hard drives, it’s easy to understand why packing in 4K video is problematic.

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