Developer: One More Level
Publisher: 505 Games
Genre: Action Adventure
Video games full of running and jumping with a bit of violence have always intrigued. Mirror’s Edge and Dying Light have some of the most entertaining movement in video games. Because of this, Ghostrunner was something that caught my eye during the last console generation but I never got around to playing. The game’s PlayStation 5 upgrade gave me another opportunity to play this runner, and this time I didn’t miss it.
For those who also missed out on Ghostrunner last generation, the game basically follows a cyborg ninja in a Cyberpunk city. The ninja, known as Ghostrunner, has lost their memory and is now working to climb a large tower that essentially acts as the last home for humanity. Throughout the climb, players will learn about both Ghostrunner and the what happened to the world around them as they partake in a revolution to overthrow bad guys in power.
The story of Ghostrunner is incredibly familiar and when glanced it, doesn’t seem to be anything special. Still, the story is well-paced through the game’s 8 hour campaign, so it stays entertaining throughout. The voice acting is solid, allowing players to take in the game’s lore audibly while working through levels. Again, it isn’t the best story out there, but it certainly isn’t offensive and does a fine job of throwing in some stakes with the gameplay.
Of course, with a game like Ghostrunner , the gameplay comes first. The gameplay does a solid job at making players the cool ninja that it advertises. Slick movement that goes at a breakneck pace keeps the thrills coming. The controls just feel natural, and platforming through the various environments feels good. There are some level design issues here and there that negatively impact the game’s pacing though. Some of the layouts of the stages just aren’t fit for the fast-paced objectives of Ghostrunner, leading to annoying bouts of planning and precision rather than just giving the players the power fantasy that is advertised. Still, despite the level design in some areas, Ghostrunner feels fair due to the clean controls and fair rules.
While the platforming usually feels good in Ghostrunner the same can’t be said about the combat. Players will primarily use a sword throughout the game in combination with various hops, wall runs, and cool maneuvers. While the movement flows well into attacks, some of the battles just aren’t fun due to their design. The enemies are always either too easy to kill or too powerful. Players aren’t punished too heavily for dying, but sometimes it just feels like Ghostrunner fails to find a good balance in difficulty. Like the platforming, sometimes the combat needs to slow down for the player to succeed, giving players a break from what makes the game truly fun.
Ghostrunner looks fantastic throughout as a game that makes the most of its cyberpunk setting. Tons of neon lights glow throughout the stages, and some nifty lighting effects makes the most out of every bit of the environments. The game’s energetic soundtrack also adds to the game’s energy. It’s a fantastic looking world with tons of immersion for the players to get sucked into.
As an upgrade, Ghostrunner doesn’t actually give players too much incentive to revisit the game. There are a few new additions to the gameplay, namely a time-attack and small roguelike waves mode. There is also an assist mode to make the experience easier for players that need it. These additions are welcome, but might not be enough for some players to revisit. Fortuantely, it’s a free upgrade from the last generation, so it won’t cost early adopters anything to jump back in.
The PlayStation 5 version also has some noteworthy upgrades to the visuals and audio, including ray-tracing fidelity mode, 4K/120 FPS, and 3D spatial audio. There is a bit of haptic feedback added to the control, but not enough to make it feel as great as some other games do.
Ghostrunner is a solid action platformer that just stumbles in a few areas throughout its perfectly sized campaign. Despite its shortcomings, fans of the genre will want to check out this solid upgrade, especially if they didn’t get chance to play it last year.
Ghostrunner is a solid experience on PlayStation 5 for newcomers, but doesn't have enough content to make it a must-play for those who already experienced the game last year.