Ghostrunner 2


Like your games fast and hard? Look no further.


Ghostrunner 2 is a hardcore First Person Platform Slasher set in a neon-lit post-apocalyptic cyberpunk future. Your name is Jack and your aim is to become the ultimate cyber ninja. The game combines wild parkour, hack & slash combat and cybercycle sections that culminate in a series of super-tough, epic boss fights.

I'm not going to lie, this review had me stumped for a while. Firstly, how can I score a game which I am unable to get past the first boss I encountered? Secondly, since I am unable to progress past said first boss, how can I know the score I am giving is representative of the portions of the game I am unable to play due to this roadblock?

The truth is I cannot, so after much whining and moaning I got back after it. I died a lot, as will you should you choose to play, but after a carefully learned strategy of staying away from the boss and only attacking when he was stunned, I was able to finally beat his frustratingly randomised move set. If dear reader, you are adventurous and masochistic enough to endure what I consider to be the single most punishingly brutal level of difficulty I have personally encountered in my 35 years of gaming, maybe you will find enjoyment where I found frustration?

Ghostrunner 2 was quite fun for me while also being infuriating. Having never played the first Ghostrunner I went in blind not knowing the story and lore. This is not a hindrance as the tutorial and in-game dialogue does a good job giving you the backstory "in a nutshell”. The tutorial section uses on-screen prompts to teach you which button to press when you encounter a new ability or technique, to progress through what is a quite linear run ‘n’ slash level.

Once past the tutorial section, you will continue to receive on-screen button prompts to assist you in determining where you should be going and what ability to use to get there. There are hidden areas with loot to collect for those who wish to explore, so you need to keep your eyes open for breakable vents and alternate or hidden paths. This is probably a good time to let you know that Ghostrunner 2 has no difficulty slider, any normal enemies you encounter will one-shot you if they connect. The good news is you also one-shot them with your sword strike. Normal enemies seem to come in several types. There is a melee knife attacker type, those with guns who can shoot you from afar, dual-sword wielding shinobi, hammer wielding brutes, mech-type robots, another which seems to dual wield plasma whips, and a few surprises I will leave for you to find yourself. Did I mention they can one-shot you and there is no difficulty slider? So prepare to die–a lot, at least until you figure out where enemies are and how to avoid them and kill them with the fancy techniques your Ghostrunner possesses and learns.

As you progress, the in-game dialogue/story will let you know you are heading to a reactor outside the city, where you will face the dreaded first boss. This is where my stress-induced headache began and my review almost ended. The boss can also one-hit-kill you, however like any good boss he has a massive health bar which you must slowly whittle down with each sword strike. After shaving off roughly 1/4 of his HP bar he will knock you off the floating platform you must fight him on, which introduces your backup/help. Your ally is a human named Bakunin, who has a jetpack. He not only has an electro-shock EMP rifle that stuns the boss, but also becomes a grapple point that will help you avoid incoming attacks–if and when you make it back to the platform he is on…

I say if/when you make it back to the platform because the boss will now be shooting energy projectiles from his sword at you, as you run straight towards these projectiles while wall running and platform hopping to avoid them. The walls are offset so you cannot hop back and forth between them (to avoid incoming fire) nope, you must run headlong towards a volley of projectiles and hope to time it exactly right so that you reach the end of the first wall in time to jump across to the second wall. Then run its length while shots are incoming and you are unable to jump up and down or left and right to avoid his shots (or you will fall to your death in this section.)

When you make it back to the platform you will be greeted by a newly invigorated boss, who seems to have a few new moves which are totally randomised. Your backup is vital as, on your command, he can shoot an EMP and stun the boss every minute or so, giving you a few free hits. Bakunin also acts as a grapple point above the arena floor which is the only way to avoid some of the boss’s new moves, which are unblockable and spread across the ground in a wave/wall and guess what? Yep, they’ll one-shot you…

Yeah it's that boss, eventually defeated..

After a minimum of 1,000+ deaths over several weeks/different gaming sessions to this boss, all while growing more frustrated, I eventually hit a realisation wall. Games are also supposed to be fun, not frustrating and infuriating–so I almost quit. It was only because of the helpful strategy and words of encouragement from a good friend (our editor) that I decided to slowly kill the boss using Bakunin's stun to my advantage and only attacking while the boss was stunned.

Here at Gamecell we are Ninja Gaiden veterans, we’ve played through all 3 Dark Souls games, and various souls-like clones, and I personally know there is a market for difficult games which challenge the player to hone their timing and button mashing skills in order to progress and eventually beat the game. I am also aware that this higher difficulty comes with its own rewards to the player who is able to endure. I too have felt the rush from those "Yea! I beat that f***er!" moments. I am also aware that as we humans age our reflexes decline, so it's entirely possible that my inability to get past the first boss without stun/locking him is related to that.

I’d also like to mention the fact that the original Ghostrunner had a lower difficulty setting added in a much-requested post-release patch, while Ghostrunner 2 is to get a “Hardcore Mode” added! Exactly WHO thinks this game is too easy? With all that being said, if you play this I hope you are able to enjoy the game more than I did. Although I did make it past the first boss eventually, made it much further into the game and enjoyed the superfast cybercycle sections, the difficulty doesn't get easier. Combine the incessantly tough difficulty with the game crashing on me a few times which forced me to restart whatever level I was on from the beginning, and a bug/glitch where locked doors will not open for you (which sometimes forces you to either restart the level or at worst restart your whole game/playthrough from the beginning!) and unless you're a gaming ninja and don't plan to play anything else for a few months then as good and thrilling as it is in parts, I find it hard to recommend Ghostrunner 2.

Many thanks to Diva Agency and PressEngine