The sequel to Ghostrunner took approximately three years to land on the shelves of fans of this cyberpunk parkour platformer. The narrative follows the end of the previous episode and continues to follow the story of Jack and his group of “friends” in an attempt to discover which side of the barricade they intend to position themselves on. Jack, a unique case of a machine with human qualities, adds a layer of complexity to the story.
While the game expands beyond the confines of Dharma, a towering shelter for its residents, the action kicks off within it. Dharma is under attack by an AI cult of metallic ninjas, seeking unimaginable powers. Jack emerges as the sole hope to combat this threat that could upheave everyone’s lives.
The journey toward this primary objective unfolds across 18 diverse levels, blending linearity with challenges and side missions marked by roguelike mechanics. Right at this point there’s a difference compared to the first title, the inclusion of these secondary missions allows it to extend its longevity, making it even more interesting. However, one of the main new features will be the inclusion of a motorbike and a semi-open world map, allowing Jack to explore beyond the confines of Dharma, and touch grass. Well… it will actually be more sand.
Jack’s special abilities facilitate frenetic movement, enabling swift area clearance. However, receiving damage means revisiting the section, though the checkpoint system mitigates some frustration. Some of the skills and passive abilities are carried over from the previous title, which expands choices in the new skill tree or “motherboard” if you will. These can be acquired using points collected between levels at the new headquarters, where dialogues with different characters become a possibility.
The incorporation of a base adds depth, providing a refuge and fostering a team committed to assisting Jack. Despite Jack’s detachment from human affection, the interactions add a layer to the experience. The developers’ commitment to freshness is evident in the introduction of new mechanics, making each level unique. One moment you’re jumping between platforms and the next you have the ability to hover over enemies. Even in confrontations against Bosses, each one presents different mechanics, be it a chase track where it is necessary to jump between platforms or dodge attacks, or a physical confrontation against a giant enemy.
I can easily say that the levels that introduce new mechanics were the most fun to complete. Although driving the motorcycle presents some problems, with jumps that make no sense, or ending up with the motorcycle stuck in certain locations on the map, which consequently leads to the loss of level progression. Within my 15 hours spent in the Ghostrunner 2 universe, many of them were spent alongside frustrating moments, especially because I allowed myself to try some challenges after finishing the story.
For those with more technic and patience, it is possible to discover attack lines, precise jumping moments, and the use of skills at key points which leads to finishing the level with the best possible time. Although it is not fundamental to the development of the story, I understand that this type of competition is appealing to many people. The premise of this game is very much based on trial and error, in an attempt at personal overcoming with the aim of clearing the place of enemies in order to open a door that allows passage to the next section.
Ghostrunner 2 caters to a diverse player base, offering something for both competitive and casual players. The well-developed and intriguing story, combined with frantic gameplay, solidifies its legacy as a remarkable gaming experience.