With Ghostrunner out, and our full review up, I wanted to give my own quick thoughts on why this game may be worth sinking some time into before the usual holiday deluge of games falls upon us. When I first got my hands on the demo back at PAX East earlier this year, the sleek cyberpunk aesthetic, and the coolness of being a cyber-ninja instantly got my attention. Now that I’ve spent even more time with the game I’ve discovered even more elements to the game that make it stand out among the crowd. So, without further ado, here are my 3 Reasons to Pick Up Ghostrunner.
It Delivers Something Unique
I’ve done my fair share of platforming. Whether it’s in 2D or 3D. Jumping over expanses as I close distance with my enemies, dodging projectiles at it’s core is not a new experience for me. However, Ghostrunner’s placing this experience into the first-person view, one hit kill deaths and combining those with a degree of unforgiving challenge that rivals platformers like Celeste places it into a category all it’s own. With the usual slate of holiday sequels incoming, this uniqueness is a welcome start to the holiday rush.
As I play Ghostrunner, each new chamber quickly begins to follow a rhythm. My first few approaches would end in quick deaths. This usually came from me misreading terrain and missing a jump, or from unseen enemy fire as I locked down where the bad guys in the new room were.
Once i have the placement for the obstacles in the room in my mind’s eye it is time to experiment. Is it better to wall run around that first trooper and jump at the one in the back first? Should I go left, then right? Each challenge felt like a puzzle to solve. And despite some deaths feeling like they weren’t my fault, the overall process was quite engaging. And with this process came my second of 3 Reasons to Pick Up Ghostrunner…
The Feeling of Accomplishment
Nothing feels better than when you finally make all the pieces come together and land the perfect run in Ghostrunner. When each wall run, each slash, and each carefully judged leap lands perfectly. It is chef’s kiss. And given the fact that even within the first chapter of the game I was dying 60+ times in some areas, the feeling of triumph is well earned. This sense of accomplishment is further reinforced by the fact that, when a run does manage to come together, it looks really cool. And the coolness factor only increases as you venture deeper into the game, and earn the final element to my 3 Reasons to Pick Up Ghostrunner.
The Cool Leveling System
As you slash, leap and run your way up Dharma Tower, you will unlock new abilities that can change how you approach challenges. These abilities are presented in the upgrades screens as Tetris looking shapes you must fit into a grid that expands as you advance.
When you first open the grim you have four abilities to choose from, but only enough space really for two. Happily, abilities can be swapped out on the fly. This allows players to be more free form their approach to puzzles and problems. Having a hard time closing that distance fast enough? Maybe a second dash will see you to your destination. Struggling with a pesky out of reach enemy that keeps shooting you? Swap in the abilities that allow the Ghostrunner to bounce their projectiles back at them and kill him from range.
With useful abilities to be found and a unique puzzle-like system to explore to get the best combinations to fit in the space available, Ghostrunner’s leveling mechanics are as unique as it’s gameplay.
And there you have it. Between challenging gameplay, a creative leveling system with its own puzzle-like qualities, and that wonderful sense of achievement that comes with that perfectly executed run, these are 3 Reasons to Pick Up Ghostrunner. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go be my best cyber-ninja self. So good luck, and have fun storming the tower!!