Embracing Fun and Adventure
Some games are remembered for their captivating themes, intricate narratives, or immersive worlds. But there are those that simply bring us pure joy. Take for instance the original Ghostrunner game, brought to us by One More Level and 505 Games in 2020. It falls into the latter category, offering a thrilling first-person action experience where players race through neon-soaked sci-fi levels, slashing enemies in their path. While not overly complex, it delivers an abundance of excitement from the very beginning. That’s why I’m thrilled to share that One More Level and 505 Games are back with Ghostrunner 2, a direct sequel that promises to continue the adrenaline-pumping fun.
Carrying the Torch
Prior to its anticipated launch in October, I had the privilege of getting a sneak peek of Ghostrunner 2. What I discovered confirmed that the game successfully maintains the fast-paced thrill of its predecessor, as hinted at in the PlayStation Showcase reveal. It even attempts to up the ante with motorbike action sequences, although I must admit that while the combat remains as satisfying as ever, I’m not entirely sold on these segments.
A Familiar Charm
My Ghostrunner 2 demo started with Jack, the ghostrunner from the first installment, pursuing a mysterious figure called Mitra across the dystopian, neon-infused Dharma Tower rooftops. In a matter of seconds, Jack encountered members of the Hammer gang, triggering an intense battle. As I reacquainted myself with the trademark combat mechanics of the Ghostrunner series, it felt as though I was playing the original for the very first time. Slashing through the initial enemies, the game’s emphasis on speed and offense created combat situations akin to solving puzzles. While enemies could be swiftly defeated, Jack himself was equally vulnerable. As the encounters grew more challenging, it became crucial to stay on the move, carefully analyze whether enemies were near or far, and seize the right moments to dodge, block, or parry. And when I executed these maneuvers flawlessly, I felt like an unstoppable force, delivering devastating blows to my adversaries. In between these intense combat segments, the game introduced light first-person platforming, integrating sliding, swinging, wall running, air-dashing, rail grinding, and grappling. These elements were the hallmark of the original Ghostrunner, and I’m pleased to say that One More Level has successfully preserved that magic in this sequel. Moreover, they have expanded the game’s levels from the outset, allowing for multiple approaches to each enemy encounter. So, if you’ve been craving more Ghostrunner goodness, this sequel won’t disappoint.
Ghostrunner 2 doesn’t shy away from introducing new ideas either. After battling through hordes of enemies, I stumbled upon a warehouse. Inside, I stumbled upon a motorbike, and without hesitation, Jack hopped on to continue the pursuit of Mitra. Racing across rooftops and walls, I utilized my blade to activate switches and open doors. However, my primary focus was maintaining top speed to stay within range of Mitra’s signal, all while dodging obstacles along the way. This high-octane vehicle segment is a natural evolution of the quick-kill, quick-death formula, reminiscent of classic beat ’em up games. It represents a modern interpretation of this gameplay gimmick, and Ghostrunner 2 executes it brilliantly. However, it’s worth noting that these bike sequences were somewhat less forgiving and slightly rougher around the edges compared to the game’s slick combat. Having had the opportunity to refine the first-person hack-and-slash mechanics over the course of two games and some DLC, it’s understandable that One More Level still has a bit of fine-tuning to do when it comes to the motorbike gameplay mechanics. The controls felt slightly looser than expected, causing me to narrowly miss dodging certain obstacles in time. Additionally, riding on walls or within circular tubes made it challenging to properly gauge what lay ahead due to a limited field of view.
If you’re looking for a sequel that builds upon the exhilaration of the original while bringing fresh concepts to the table, Ghostrunner 2 is the game for you. With its heart-pounding combat and thrilling motorbike sequences, this sequel promises to be another unforgettable adventure.
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