One of the struggles with games centered around a gimmick is returning to said idea. Often times later adventures wear thin as each entry feels closer to DLC than sequel. This is one of the biggest concerns with Ghostrunner 2. Not only was the original a surprising success, the core idea can only change so much. With this in mind, is the sequel worth exploring, or are you better off playing the original?
Ghostrunner 2‘s narrative is in a rather interesting place. Those who didn’t play the original, or simply wanted a refresher, have a brief recap located under extras. Instead of painstakingly explaining the events of the previous adventure, it’s more of a thematic introduction of the universe. That doesn’t mean it is without spoilers, just that it’s a worthwhile five or so minute long cutscene that sets things up.
Upon starting a new adventure there will be a brief overview of what lead to the current situation. As much as I like the art style, which is the same in the aforementioned recap, it takes a bit for the narrative to hook you. Once meeting Mitra and their supporters there is a larger mystery that you need to unravel.
Comic Book Style is Neat
Beyond the core narrative there are also collectibles, optional conversations, and more that build out the universe. It’s the kind of adventure that rewards those willing to invest, though you can also skip it all and focus entirely on gameplay.
On a fundamental level not much has changed with Ghostrunner 2. There are walls to run on, objects to grapple off of, enemies to avoid, and a strong emphasis on creativity. Even if I wouldn’t say things are radically different, I still found myself loving all the available options.
No matter how early or late things were, there are always multiple ways to finish an encounter. Typically there is a sense of an intended method, one that simply flows better than the rest, though it’s great the experience remains centered on overcoming things than simply figuring out the routine.
Options range from crashing a ship into a group of enemies, reflecting their attacks, stunning them, crushing them with a nearby object, or a sizable number of other choices. This makes follow up attempts interesting, as you can start to experiment with these concepts. Maybe crashing a ship works better than a sign, whereas another run you might want to maximize using steel to cut foes down.
When there aren’t enemies to overcome, there are optional challenges and secrets to find. Even if these are not particularly unique, it’s always great to see subtle ways to teach mechanics. Time trials can be among the most frustrating, as they’re more about memorization than anything else, though this high octane style of play is a great way to ease newcomers into the experience.
For all the good, there are still some rough patches. Controller gameplay felt a bit loose. An easy example of this was the second level where you learn to use the shuriken. Hitting specific targets on a rail didn’t feel particularly precise, though getting it in the general area was good enough. This give and take doesn’t feel particularly amazing. Still, the fact that it isn’t overly punishing prevents it from feeling cheap. For this reason it simply doesn’t feel as satisfying as I’d hope.
Graphics also have an oddly wide range of quality. At times designs can look surprisingly rough. This happened to a few characters in the hub, or specific instances. A lot of the industrial levels also lack the charm of more vibrant locations. Cutscenes in the comic style look great, whereas other scenes can look positively bland. It would be nice if things were more uniformed, even if a lot of it will be a blur in the end.
Ghostrunner 2 Review Verdict
Ghostrunner 2: I'd describe Ghostrunner 2 as a safe sequel. Those who love the original will almost certainly feel the same about this, just like those who hate it will probably find their opinion unchanged. If nothing else, it's a fun adventure that has a fair amount of replay value, even if some of that is simply figuring out the best way to cut down those who stand against you. – Mark
Editor’s Note: Ghostrunner 2 was reviewed on PlayStation 5 and a copy was provided to us for review purposes.