PAX EAST 2020 GAME OF SHOW: ‘Ghostrunner,’ – a Sleek, Challenging Action Game

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Ghostrunner

Ghostrunner is a first-person action game developed by One More Level,  3D Realms, and Slipgate Ironworks and is published by All in! Games. In a cyberpunk dystopian future humanity has lost virtually all of the earth. Now, what’s left of our race is confined to one supertower, housing all that is left. Within this tower is you, the ghostrunner. You are the last of your kind and looking for revenge.

When I walked into my demo at PAX East for Ghostrunner, I’ll be honest, I knew nothing about the game other than it was a first-person action game that probably had lots of shooting and maybe some looting all with a dystopian backdrop. However, I was wrong. This game sports one of the coolest vibes, and some of the slickest gameplay I have ever gotten my hands on. And if you are looking for a challenge, yeah, it’s got that covered too.

The first thing to know going into Ghostrunner is one-shot kills. That goes for your enemies as you slice and dice with your sword in hand, but it also goes for you. Any mistakes will almost certainly result in death. But thanks to an extremely generous checkpoint system, and quick reload times, the sting of death can become frustrating, but never rage-inducing. The approach to death in this game instantly reminded me of Celeste. I died 1771 times over my eight-hour playthrough of that and I loved it. And I have little doubt the same will be true here as well.

GhostRunner

While the challenge is daunting, the developers have seen fit to give your cybernetic ninja-self all the tools you need to survive. Oh, did I not mention you play as a cybernetic super ninja, because you do. Your skills include wall-running, dash attacks, and even a momentary time manipulation allowing you to sidestep bullets were all tools I got to employ during my demo. Overall, it was a blast.

The area I played in during my demo of Ghostrunner was in a rundown area of the tower. I’ve was told that as the player progresses up the tower the environment changes. While you begin in squalor, you eventually find yourself surrounded by the super-rich and opulent.

The graphics employed here are truly top-notch. The feeling of speed was always present as I moved through the world. Bouncing from wall to wall, slowing downtime in mid-air to dodge a bullet, to then land and cut down my opponent. It’s all glorious. And when I say cut down my opponent, I mean cut him down. You don’t just kill people in this game. Nobody goes down without losing a limb, or a torso, getting severed. This game is a power trip to the ninth degree. At least when you don’t misjudge your jump and fall to your death.

While I have no way of knowing if the team behind Ghostrunner will be able to keep this game fresh from start to finish I cannot wait to find out. This game came out of nowhere for me and gave me a gaming experience I never would’ve considered, but now desperately want. You can be sure I will be counting down the days till this title makes its way to my console.

Ghostrunner is currently scheduled for a 2020 release on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, and Nintendo Switch.

Runner up: Magic: Legends