REVIEW: ‘Ghostrunner’ Is Fast-Paced and Addicting (PS4)

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Ghostrunner

Ghostrunner places players in the shoes of a cybernetic ninja whose only conceivable purpose in this world-gone-wrong is revenge. A first-person perspective slasher, Ghostrunner is developed by One More Level, 3D Realms, and Slipgate Ironworks and published by 505 Games and All in! Games. These creative teams have all come together to create a fast-paced action game that is extremely addicting.

After a world-ending calamity, Dharma Tower is the last bastion of humanity. In this dystopian future, you play as one of the last Ghostrunners, a cybernetic ninja armed with a katana and some excellent parkour skills. After being torn apart and reassembled, your only objective is to climb to the top of the tower, hacking and slashing enemies as you ascend, and get revenge on the tyrannical ruler of this tower: the Keymaster. You’ll be helped along the way by a mysterious man known as the Architect along with a handful of rebels who want to set humanity on a better path. With one last push to make things right, can humanity be saved?

Ghostrunner’s story is very straightforward and simplistic. With a few visual elements shared with other cyberpunk media, it’s a game that should be enjoyed more so for its graphics and gameplay over its storyline. Although you shouldn’t expect a complex story, the little bit of voice acting is wonderful, from the grit-laced tone belonging to Ghostrunner to the prim and proper voice of the Architect. It all fits just right into this apocalyptic story.

The combination of parkour and combat is what makes this game really stand out from other freerunning games like Mirror’s Edge. For the most part, the combat mechanics are pretty basic, but that’s a boon in this case. Hacking and slashing is the name of the game. Throw in the ability to slow down time for a few seconds to dodge bullets, grapple to anchor points, and run on walls, and you’ve got a game that is extremely fun despite its simplicity. The levels themselves are rather straightforward. And although most of the levels and objectives continue to be linear throughout the game, there are some great rooms that will test your creativity.

Ghostrunner

Simplicity doesn’t translate to easy, however. The game is good about starting players off slow and gradually ramping up the difficulty and pace. But this ease of play doesn’t last long. Ghostrunner is a very fast-paced game and it won’t take long to get to the point where death is a common occurrence. The game asks for preciseness in movement, and when that doesn’t happen, it usually results in death. A single sweep of your katana may mean instant death for your enemies, but the combat is a two-way street. Getting hit by a single bullet will end each level and result in a restart. This can easily become maddening. However, the quick reload times and generous checkpoints quickly soothe the indignity of death. And when you finally do everything just right, it’s such an addicting feeling.

Although you’re limited to a single weapon, your katana, you’ll unlock some abilities as you progress through the story. This increase in complexity is definitely needed because just as players diversify, so do your enemies. As players become more accustomed to the gameplay, new enemies appear with different movement capabilities, attacks, and even shields, requiring different strategies to tackle each enemy. This variety will undeniably require players to stay on their toes, and it shakes up gameplay frequently enough to keep each level fresh.

Aesthetically, the game digs deep into cyberpunk themes, from the cybernetic Ghostrunner to the designs of enemies and levels themselves. You’ll begin the game in the bowels of the tower; the levels here are haphazard, grungy, and squalid. But as you ascend, the levels change too, becoming more and more pristine and technologically advanced. Occasionally, led by the Architect, you’ll dive into a digital world. These areas sometimes require easy puzzle solving but mostly exist as exposition for the story. Nevertheless, these areas are visually stimulating and are just another example of the great aesthetic level designs in this game.

Although Ghostrunner‘s story is straightforward and simplistic, the gameplay is anything but. The parkour aspect of Ghostrunner may feel familiar but the addition of the combat mechanics set this game apart from the rest. Each level brings with it new enemies and a novel configuration of obstacles that will test your skills over and over again. Ghostrunner is fast-paced, unrelenting, but oh so addicting.

Ghostrunner is available now on PC, Xbox One, PS4, and Nintendo Switch.

Ghostrunner
  • 8.5/10
    Rating - 8.5/10
8.5/10

TL;DR

Although Ghostrunner‘s story is straightforward and simplistic, the gameplay is anything but. The parkour aspect of Ghostrunner may feel familiar but the addition of the combat mechanics set this game apart from the rest. Each level brings with it new enemies and a novel configuration of obstacles that will test your skills over and over again.