I mentioned my minor gripes with Gravity Rush 2 before, and I explained how trivial they seem to me. I’m bothered less by the game’s unreliable viewpoints or stealth missions than I am by something completely frivolous: the bonus costumes.
I will not argue that Gravity Rush is above pandering. It stars two women soaring around in relatively revealing clothing, after all. It’s always struck me as low-key in its sex appeal, however. Kat’s outfit is no more revealing than, say, an all-ages version of Wonder Woman, and if Raven’s getup is nonsensical…well, things could be worse.
Gravity Rush and Gravity Rush 2 present extra outfits for Kat, unlocked by regular gameplay and side missions, and most are disappointing. It’s not just that they’re sexy. They’re also the same vaguely fetish-driven getups forced on women in many other games: a maid costume, a nurse’s short-skirted fatigues, two different school uniforms, and so on. For a game designed with the sensibilities of an experimental comic, Kat’s wardrobe is mostly banal.
But I like some of the costumes. These three especially.
THE JAZZ SINGER
One of my favorite parts of Gravity Rush 2 has no flying, fighting, or major turns of plot. It comes when Kat sneaks aboard a military base and is mistaken for a singer. The player helps her assemble verses , and she sings them in that faux French language invented just for Gravity Rush. It’s a cute little interlude that tells Kat’s story in vignette: she’s insecure at first, but she finds her groove in no time.
I disliked Kali Angel before I played Gravity Rush 2. Her design struck me as cliché. I actually liked her once I dug into the game; she was a cocksure and aggressive foil for Kat, and I was a little disappointed that, without spoiling too much, they didn’t become friends in time. I could just see Kali joining all of Kat’s other pals for some ice cream, much like the first Gravity Rush ended. This is why I’m not writing video games.
Kat gains a Kali Angel costume after a mission (which, by no coincidence, involves ice cream) and a Dark variant as DLC. They made me appreciate the whole design. It’s straight out of ’80s WWE or World Wonder Ring or any pro wrestling outfit where every dumb idea gets at least one fair shot. You need only imagine some rousing entrance music and a ref distracted long enough to let Kat smash those cardboard wings over her opponent’s head.
Don’t tell anyone this: I’m not fond of the Nier: Automata costume. I like 2B’s blindfold and reserved palette, but the skirt and boots are unappealingly routine, especially compared to the weirder designs of Nier and Drakengard 3. And, hypocritically enough, I prefer Gravity Rush 2’s Crazy Kitten costume pulled from Phantasy Star Online 2.
That’s because the Crazy Kitten is the most ridiculous thing in the game. It’s modern Phantasy Star finery, and it looks preposterously out of place in Kat’s world, as though someone dropped a Star Wars alien into Alphaville. Kat looks like she’s cosplaying, which actually makes the silly outfit more plausible than maid attire or waitress gear.
So, after all this complaining, what sort of outfit would I suggest instead?
I can thing of one right away. In a rushed yet fascinating third act, Kat explores the upper echelons of her world and her occluded past, all while dressed like Pope Mrs. Claus XII. She loses the attire once she’s back in the lands below, however.
It would make no sense for her to fly around while wearing flowing robes and a jeweled tulip miter, and this, of course, means that it SHOULD be an optional costume. In fact, maybe it’s already in there and I just don’t know about it.