Gravity Rush 2 Review

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The Gravity Queen is back to show off some awesome powers in a beautiful new city.

You wear a lot of hats in Gravity Rush 2. Kat assumes the role of a photojournalist, firefighter, private investigator, stunt double, miner, and so many more, but most of all this sequel sees her transform into an even more powerful magical gravity-defying girl and friend. New features, environments, and well-written side quests refresh and greatly improve the feeling of falling forever in Kat’s second journey, and only a few control and storyline issues weigh it down.

If you haven’t played Gravity Rush and care about the story, this is not the one to start with. The sequel picks up with little introduction, finding Kat and her friends Raven and Syd stranded in a new vibrant land called Jirga Para Lhao, and it’s boiling over with conflict. The first act is great because of the time it took to develop new characters and let me explore the city, but unfortunately the second falls a little short. It feels underdeveloped compared to the first and third, and introduces one somewhat important mystery that’s left completely unsolved. I have a feeling that the answer I want is in the side quests, since one does have you investigating some details about the mystery, but even if it is, it’s a silly way to resolve a problem that was established at the beginning of the story. The third act does resolve a majority of the questions from the second act (though in a shaky fashion) but is otherwise a satisfying ending.

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I enjoyed how Gravity Rush 2 subtly focuses on different kinds of relationships between powerful pairs of women, both in and out of battle. Raven rejoins Kat on her journey, this time as an ally, and their dynamic and dependence on each other is sweet and battles are a lot more fun with her there. Fighting alongside Raven is another good dash of variety, and even though she’s powerful it’s balanced so that the fights aren’t too easy. You have to take down a good variety of enemies (mechs, soldiers with rocket launchers, tons of familiar Nevi, and huge bosses that change as you learn other gravity styles) so learning how to best fight against them with Raven and the new gravity styles kept me interested in combat throughout the entirety of the lengthy 30 to 40-hour campaign. There are also a few other pairs of women that have different familial relationships, but carry through the same theme of working together to find strength when the world is being torn apart. 

Even though Raven is powerful it’s balanced so that the fights aren’t too easy.

Each place Kat visits is full of life thanks to Gravity Rush 2’s jazzy music and bright design. The new city has such drastic changes between each of its island districts, which are separated vertically instead of like Hekseville’s more horizontal layout. As soon as I was dropped into the island city I spent at least 10 minutes exploring and collecting precious gems that power up Kat’s abilities. They’re everywhere, and hunting them is addictive. I left paths for missions every time I saw a few gems trail off in another direction and I got to explore areas I wouldn’t have otherwise. (That burning building can wait just a few more seconds.)

As I moved through the city I unlocked manholes that’d teleport me to other areas, but I hardly ever used them. Using Kat’s gravity powers to fly around is way too fun to want to fast travel. I loved visiting the high, rich islands only to dive to the market far below that grows beautifully in detail as I approached. Only a few areas had issues loading textures and objects when I dropped in from higher areas, but was otherwise a smooth experience.

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The new gravity styles Kat learns as you go greatly change how she falls. Gravity Rush 2 offers ample time to master the original style before moving on the the light and bouncy Lunar style and then the heavy and forceful Jupiter style. Flipping between the three in more challenging fights made Kate really feel like the she had reached her full potential by the end, and I felt powerful having mastered them. And because of those styles, you now have even more control over her speed and levitation than in the first Gravity Rush, so once those come into play falling becomes just as important as flying because you can use it to conserve energy and travel farther. The improvements also make fighting more interesting by offering creativity options with Kat’s movements.

Side missions provide a unique look into the lives of each city’s resident.

There’s a ton to do in the city with new challenge missions, chatting with select NPCs, and of course, side missions. I had a hard time skipping side missions. They provide a unique look into the lives of each city’s residents and offer varied assignments. Some had such a long story to tell that they were broken up into multiple parts, but the shorter one-off missions were cool too. I got to help a journalist report on an illegal trading deal and join schoolgirls in a demonic ritual. The Gravity Queen does a little bit of everything.

Kat doesn’t spend all her time in the city, though. Gravity Rush 2 takes her to a challenge area somewhat similar to the original’s Rift Planes where Kat has the opportunity to learn new skills and grab a ton of precious gems. When I went to learn my first of two new gravity styles I was thrown into a beautiful, dark area that was lit by giant ammonite candles. It looked like I was traveling in a forgotten underwater trench. These imaginative areas act as fun, helpful tutorials for the new gravity styles.

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Not all of Kat’s new tools are great, however. I dreaded the few missions that required me to use gravity sliding over a long distance. It’s a hard power to control. There were also a few unfortunately long missions in smaller spaces that made the otherwise cooperative camera a pain.

Gravity Rush 2 also sees the return of online leaderboards for the challenge missions, but my favorite new online feature is the treasure hunt. I used photos submitted online from other players, taken using a camera Kat gets early on, to find cute chests filled with all sorts of loot. It’s a cool, creative way to earn a few extra gems while exploring different parts of the city.

The Verdict

After a couple of story hiccups, Gravity Rush 2 righted itself and pulled me in with the personality of its world and wide variety of activities. The new gravity powers and styles make combat exciting, and well-written side quests and character relationships grant better insight into Kat’s universe. After 40 hours I found it hard to put the controller down, and I can’t wait to jump back in to finish every sidequest I can find.

Gears of War 4 Patch Notes Cover Quitting Penalties, New Maps, and More

A new patch for Gears of War 4 is coming out tomorrow, January 10, Microsoft has announced. As detailed in this forum post from developer The Coalition, the patch is slated to arrive tomorrow at 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET. There may be some “disruption” starting at 9 AM PT as the patch rolls out.

Gears of War 4 Patch Notes Cover Quitting Penalties, New Maps, and More

As for what the patch adds, players can expect two new maps (there was no mention of which ones are coming), as well as the Gear Pack Season 2 content. This comes with “hundreds” of new cards. One important note is that the new Series 2 content will be available to craft starting at 10 AM PT tomorrow, but won’t be in Gear Packs until “a few hours” after the update comes out. “If you are looking to acquire new Series 2 content, please withhold from buying Gear Packs until we confirm the Cards are available in the pool,” The Coalition said.

Lots more details will be announced tomorrow morning PDT–we’ll report back with the details as they are announced.

Tomorrow’s Gears of War 4 patch also introduces new measures to combat quitting.

‘We’re introducing new features as a first phase of updates to combat quitting in Core / Competitive,” The Coalition said. “As of this update, players who quit a Core or Competitive Match will now be suspended from all matchmaking of any kind for a limited time to discourage drop out behavior, with the biggest time punishments going to the first player to quit the match. In addition, the more you quit, the longer the suspension you will receive from playing matchmaking.”

If you drop out of a game due to a connection issue, you have up to five minutes to rejoin the match, as long as it’s still underway. If you are able to rejoin a match and you complete it, there won’t be a penalty against your profile.

“With these new features, we hope to see a major improvement in player mentality to committing to a match in Core and Competitive,” The Coalition said. “We have further quit penalty and balanced match features in the works–including Core/Competitive pre-game lobbies–coming in future Title Updates to further improve the online experience.”

Here is a rundown of the new quitting penalty system in place right now, as written by The Coalition:

  • Players leaving a Core/Competitive game early will now be suspended from matchmaking
  • Players can rejoin a Core/Competitive match within 5 minutes of being dropped or quitting from an option in the main Versus menu
  • Rejoining and completing a match will remove the matchmaking suspension time
  • Added functionality to display matchmaking suspension time (including to your Squad Leader). You will not be able to matchmake if your Squad contains a suspended user until their suspension has completed.

Tomorrow’s Gears of War 4 update also makes the following improvements for the game’s Spectator Mode, as written by The Coalition:

  • Player Cards have been re-designed to take up less visual space
  • Player ammo and reloads are now visible in the Spectator Mode UI
  • Crosshairs are now visible to Spectators
  • Respawn timers are now displayed on Player Cards
  • Weapons holstered onto a player’s back can now be seen in Spectator Mode
  • K keyboard button now removes spectator inputs UI and/or the black bar altogether
  • ‘L keyboard button toggles Player Cards to the far edges of the screen or normal positioning
  • V, B, and N keyboard buttons now jump to specific Escalation hill battle cameras
  • Fixed an issue with X-Ray vision not rendering as intended
  • Made X-Ray a ‘toggle’ rather than ‘Press-And-Hold’
  • Fixed the ordering of players in Competitive UI to match the Lobby Order
  • Pressing B while holding Jump Cam now cancels a pending Jump Cam

Added new mapping for specific face buttons for specific camera modes, listed below:

  • Gamepad A, Keyboard Z -> Switches to Player or Follow Cam. If already in Player Cam, switch to Follow Cam and vice versa. Last used mode is saved as your preference when switching back to Player/Follow Cam from other modes and when using the Jump Cam
  • Gamepad X, Keyboard X -> Switch to Ghost Cam
  • Gamepad Y, Keyboard C-> Switch to Battle Cam

Additionally, the Gears of War 4 patch contains these fixes (official descriptions via The Coalition):

Other Fixes

  • Skill ranking will now be visible again at the end of match scoreboard
  • Added ‘Spawns Swapped’ UI when spawns flip in Versus
  • Increased the Energy cost of the Hammer of Dawn Strike in Horde
  • Increased Escalation Win and Loss bonuses
  • Increased Escalation Win Bounty Rewards
  • Tuned criteria and rewards for King of the Hill Bounties
  • Fixed an exploit that allowed players to teleport Energy to their position in Horde
  • Squad Members can immediately see when they have been removed from a Squad
  • The ‘Horde Skills’ UI Notification alerting you to new skills now works correctly
  • Horde Skill cards can now be equipped and unequipped in the Horde Skills inventory
  • Added UI notification to show new Cards in your collection when opening Gear Packs
  • Improved UI on Turret Heat bar
  • Improved performance when switching tabs in Card view menus
  • Added slider to control how long text chat remains visible after a message
  • The Longshot can no longer shoot through walls if positioned through a 90 degree corner
  • Added a Duplicates Only filter to the Inventory Menu
  • Fixed an issue where audio slowly cut out in Horde
  • Fixed an issue allowing grenade effects to continue into the next round in Versus
  • Removed an exploit allowing users to break the map boundaries in Horde on Foundation
  • Fixed an issue that allowed players to respawn out of the map boundaries in Horde
  • Fixed an issue where offline customization would reset if user changed characters
  • Miscellaneous fixes and improvements

“We’re continuing to work on lobbies for Core and Competitive in addition to more punitive measures for quitting and investigating tuning improvements,’ The Coalition ended its addressing saying. “We can’t wait to deliver all this and more throughout 2017. Here’s to another year of Gears!”

In other Gears of War 4 news, Epic Games boss Tim Sweeney revealed Gears of War: Judgment cost $60 million to develop and brought in $100 million.

Filed under:
Gears of War 4
Xbox One
PC

Corsair M65 Pro RGB Gaming Mouse Review

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A Deadly FPS Weapon

Though Corsair is known for having extensive product lines for PC cases, headsets, and cooling products, its mouse arsenal is pretty small comparatively. What’s most notable about its lineup is it has just one high-end mouse for FPS players – the M65 Pro RGB ($39.99 on Amazon), and it’s built for a specific type of gamer: a right-handed, FPS player that uses a palm grip. Though it doesn’t make an obvious bid for gamers’ attention with its staid exterior, it is an impressive piece of machinery and a great deal at just $40 online.

Corsair M65 Pro RGB Gaming Mouse  Review

Ergonomics and Design

The M65 features an aluminum unibody frame that Corsair proudly calls aircraft-grade. I’m not sure there are planes in the sky that feature the same type of aluminum, but I can tell you the mouse’s build quality is first rate. It offers a pleasing rigidity and heft, weighing a stout 135.5 grams when employing the three optional weights you secure to its bottom panel. You can remove the weights using a coin or screwdriver. With all three weights and screws removed, the mouse drops to 115 grams. I appreciate the wide degree of weight customization and how hefty the mouse feels when fully loaded. By comparison, the G.Skill RipJaws MX780 ($39.99 on Amazon) weighs 120 grams at its heaviest.

Corsair M65 Pro RGB Gaming Mouse  Review

The Corsair M65 Pro RGB features a soft plastic coating on the single top piece that comprises the right- and left-click buttons and palm rest. The sides feature a textured, grippy surface for your thumb, ring, and pinky fingers, but the right side of the mouse has no ledge or even the beginnings of a ledge upon which your pinky might rest. Since my pinky was dangling off to the side a bit it was gently pinched underneath the mouse a few times, which was annoying. On the bottom panel, the Corsair M65 Pro RGB features five large glide pads. Mouse movement felt smooth, but I found the G.Skill RipJaws MX780 and its smaller glide pads offered a slightly smoother gliding sensation.

As I wrote earlier, this is a right-handed only mouse, which is common in the gaming mouse world, but it’s also what I’d call a palm grip only mouse due to its long and low design and the fact that you can’t adjust the height of its palm rest. If you could adjust its height it would also make it suitable for so-called “claw grip” users, but out of the box they might have a tough time feeling comfortable with this mouse.

The Corsair M65 Pro RGB features eight programmable buttons. In addition to right- and left-click buttons, it offers a clickable scroll wheel, DPI up and down buttons, and three buttons for your thumb. Below the standard forward and back thumb buttons is a “sniper” button, which lowers the DPI setting when it’s held down.  It also offers extreme sensitivity, even in a crowd of highly sensitive mice, and features a 12,000dpi optical sensor and surface tuning capability for extreme precision.

Software

Corsair’s software is named the Corsair Utility Engine (CUE), and it works across all the company’s products that support software control so it’s full-featured and offers a lot of options. Probably the most important setting to tweak is the DPI range that you can cycle through while gaming. You can enable up to five DPI settings that range from 800dpi to 9,000dpi, which is pretty typical, but Corsair also allows you to go even further, dropping down as low as 100dpi or a max of 12,000dpi which is a huge range. When you adjust the DPI setting, the light between the up and down buttons changes colors to let you know which setting you have selected, which is handy.

Corsair M65 Pro RGB Gaming Mouse  Review

In the CUE there is also a separate slider to set the DPI for the sniper button so that you can, for example, lower the DPI to 100 when zoomed in with a sniper rifle, then have it return to 8,000 when you release it. You can also calibrate the M65 for your mousing surface regardless of whether its a proper gaming surface, wood desk, or even glass. The software has you click and drag an icon for roughly five seconds to complete the calibration, so it’s a quick affair.

You can also adjust the mouse’s polling rate, which is a semi-common feature of gaming mice that’s designed to make mouse movement feel smoother. Out of the box, the mouse is set to a rate of 1,000Hz (1ms response time) but you can lower it to 500Hz (2ms), 250Hz (4ms), or 125Hz (8ms) if you prefer a less twitchy experience. The mouse also features onboard memory for storing profiles so you can take them with you, saving you lengthy setup procedures when gaming at a friend’s house.

Finally, you can also change the mouse’s RGB color options using the CUE software. In addition to the color-coded light between the DPI buttons, the Corsair M65 Pro RGB features two other customizable lighting zones: Corsair’s logo on the heel of the mouse and the area below the scroll wheel. You can set a color and lighting effect for each zone, and .

Gaming

In testing, the Corsair M65 Pro RGB felt smooth, accurate and responsive. The placement of the buttons felt comfortable, and FPS fans will appreciate the dedicated sniper button that features its own DPI setting. The buttons, too, offer excellent travel and springy feedback, and they are blissfully quiet when clicked. The rubberized, textured scroll wheel was also a pleasure to use.

The Corsair M65 Pro RGB was stellar across the gaming spectrum, from an RTS game such as Civ V to manic FPS games like Quake and Counter-Strike. The soft-touch plastic never seemed to lose its grip even when our hand got a bit sweaty, and the grippy, curved sides made me feel like I was in complete control of the mouse at all times. The thumb buttons are positioned in just right spots and overall where we could reach them without straining or repositioning our grip.

Purchasing Guide

The Corsair M65 Pro RGB has an MSRP of $59.99, but like a lot of PC hardware it can generally be nabbed at a discount and is currently just $39.99 on Amazon for the white version:

Note that if you click on one of these links to buy the product, IGN may get a share of the sale. For more, read our Terms of Use.

The Verdict

The Corsair M65 Pro RGB has a lot to offer, as long as you’re a palm-grip, right-handed, FPS gamer. It offers an insanely accurate sensor, plenty of customization options, and extremely solid build quality, and it’s even available in white.