24 February 2021

Ghostrunner review

The universe around the cyberpunk genre seems to be reaching its peak in 2020. Ghostrunner is a very ambitious title that was born at the hands of the Polish studio, One More Level, in cooperation with two more studios and lets the player free his whole ninja side.

Ghostrunner is a first-person action platform title set in a future cyberpunk atmosphere, which brought to mind several times a mix of past titles, between “Katana Zero”, because of the way he punishes the player, since if he suffers damage he will have to repeat the section, and “Mirrors Edge” for the adrenaline and form of movement of the character.

The game puts a Ghostrunner in the hands of the player, who was woken up by the “Architect”, a prisoner who found no other solution to save himself than summon Jack. Now, after freeing the Architect, it is necessary to climb the Dharma Tower where the last known humans are found after an apocalyptic disaster that tried to kill the ruler at the time, better known as Mara. Along the way it is also possible to find Zoe, even if only by voice, a member of the resistance group against Mara.

The whole story is passed through interactions between the player and the Architect who is present as a voice in Jack’s head. It is not a story that we have not seen before. The need for a ruler to be overthrown so that humanity has its space and can return to survive without major evils. But is it really so?

The gameplay is undoubtedly the most attractive in this experience. Ghostrunner’s powers were designed to make the player feel like a real ninja from the future, but it is important to keep the momentum or the section will have to be repeated again. It will certainly happen many times, but that is not why it will cause any kind of frustration. It is a fun learning process, especially because it is possible to find new lines of passage or attack. The number of choices is more than many, since it is possible to run across the wall, use the grappling hook on specific places, slide down ramps like Sonic and use up to four special skills. All this while using a katana as a form of attack and cutting enemies like leaves.

Despite having a very fluid and fun gameplay, this is not a title that you will end easily. There is a very high learning curve, which was very rewarding for me, but for those who don’t like challenges will find great difficulties. Not because of the difficulty of the enemies themselves individually, they all have attack patterns that are easily circumvented and presented in a balanced way throughout the adventure. But the difficulty of finding a room full of different enemies is where it can get more complicated. I confess that I had to stop a few times, for brief minutes, to review certain available movements and possible escape points. All enemies are killed with one attack, but as I mentioned earlier, the player is also vulnerable to this premise.

It is thus possible to easily take 40 minutes on just one level, as it happened to me. At the end of each section, it will appear how long it took to finish that section of the game. This can also push the more hardcore players, who want to beat the previous time.

This title also features battles against “Bosses”, which challenges players to put all their knowledge of the skills learned and the use of the environment around them.

Speaking of the environment, it is not just combat that can put some obstacles in front of the player. Some segments of the environment are also quite challenging in their own way, as it challenges to think a little outside the box and the dexterity of each one’s fingers. Between jumps and sections that seem to have a right path, but it is necessary to find an alternative path.

The whole layout is very simple, leaving the screen open for all the action that unfolds in a surprisingly successful environment. In the lower left corner, a skill bar is displayed and the availability of using one of the skills.

The skill tree is presented in a very interesting way, just like Tetris. Weird? Not really. It is not possible to choose all available sections, so it is therefore important to choose the ones that matter most among the spaces available for them.

In short, this is undoubtedly a title to take into account, with a formula that pulls a lot by the dexterity of the players and perfectly set both by its level of graphics and the soundtrack that makes anyone vibrate. Ghostrunner has a very specific intention, between sections of parkour and difficult gameplay, is aimed at the most courageous.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game for PC, provided by 505 Games.]