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Ghostrunner Review

Ghostrunner Review

Released in 2020, Ghostrunner is a one-hit-kill action title where you will explore a post-apocalyptic cyberpunk world as a Ghostrunner and dethrone the tyrannical leader, Key Master Mara. Run, jump, and walk on the walls as you use various abilities at your disposal to defeat a growing variety of enemies and get to the top.

This is a title that's been on my to-play list for quite some time as a lover of all things difficult. The one-hit kill mechanic was intriguing, and as someone who adored playing through Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, I couldn't wait to explore a new world and experience the notorious Dharma Tower first-hand; this was only enhanced further by the announcement of Ghostrunner 2. After a day of binging the game, will I be picking up its DLC, Project_Hel and its upcoming sequel?

There isn't much to say about Ghostrunner's narrative without spoiling too much about it, considering the runtime is only about six to eight hours, depending on your expertise. The world has come to an end, and humanity has been forced to live inside The Tower, as the air outside is lethal. The game takes place after Project_Hel, where the resistance group that was trying to overrun the government was killed, and their last hope is you.

Ghostrunner Mara Image

Truth be told, I didn't expect a narrative in Ghostrunner, so although it wasn't the greatest, I did appreciate what little there was. The story was very typical, full of stereotypes and tropes, and I knew what was going to happen pretty much immediately as the game started. Though despite its predictable nature, I appreciated having something more to fight for rather than mindlessly slashing at foes and having a purpose gave me more reason to unfold the narrative, so although it isn't groundbreaking, I'd still say it was worth a listen.

Gameplay is where Ghostrunner focuses most of its resources, as you will go through 17 levels and several modes to choose from. The game operates with a universal one-hit kill aside from bosses, which will take a bit more effort, with three of them to go through.

Each level has various checkpoints and does a good job at introducing you to enemy types slowly — my first worry was that each new one was going to be the end of me and my run, as sometimes their abilities felt a bit powerful, and I was scared of what could happen in later levels when several of these would be stacked together.

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Thankfully, Ghostrunner handles this masterfully, with proper introductions given to each of the types and the difficulty never becoming so ludicrous that any of the levels feel impossible. It was a feat, considering that some of the types of enemies were quite difficult, and it made me question how the endgame would be, though it turned out to be much more enjoyable than the beginning.

I thoroughly enjoyed going through the enemies and defeating everyone, with abundant checkpoints in every level that force you to do one encounter per checkpoint, and even the bosses give you more room for failure. With three bosses to fight, they were all enjoyable in their own right, with different and unique mechanics that made them stand out, but they somehow felt a bit anticlimactic aside from the second one. The final boss was the easiest of them all, with predictable patterns and movements that felt ungratifying for an enemy that had been built up the entire game.

In fact, although I did have a lot of fun with the combat, something about it felt... off. The abilities you unlock feel a bit more of a burden than a blessing, as keeping in mind when these were up was difficult, and although they were all very powerful, using them sometimes broke the quick flow of the combat. This, paired with their long cooldowns (understandably, considering how strong they are), kind of took away the desire to use them much overall.

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I felt the same with how you can slow down time mid-air, as you can use this to strafe left or right in a bit of an unnatural way. Although useful at times, I didn't quite love using it, so I stuck to trying to pass everything without slowing time down, as it felt a bit uncomfortable in its implementation anyway.

Though I do give some negatives, don't get me wrong: Ghostrunner is a great game to enjoy. Saving Dharma Tower from the tyrannical ruler feels purposeful and enjoyable thanks to fast-paced combat that rewards skilful and intelligent play. You know what you're going into with Ghostrunner, and if it's something that you are intrigued by, there is little chance you won't enjoy it. That said, its fast-paced, one-hit-kill gameplay might not be for everyone.

7.50/10 7½

Ghostrunner (Reviewed on Windows)

This game is good, with a few negatives.

If you know what you're getting into, Ghostrunner will be a great game for you to play. Though, its fast-paced and one-shot gameplay might not be for everyone.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Artura Dawn

Artura Dawn

Staff Writer

Writes in her sleep, can you tell?

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