How’s your patience? That’s the big question I’d ask someone when suggesting whether or not they should be looking into buying Ghostrunner 2. Like the first game, you’ll be needing millisecond-perfect timing, pixel-accurate movements and a sizeable dash of luck to get through to the end, and while there’s an undeniable burst of satisfaction and adrenaline when something goes right, the frustrations when you’re so close but still fail are enough to get through an entire box of controllers in one afternoon. There are useful mitigations against this, but if you’re one for losing your temper easily while gaming I’d suggest you just hit that back button and read a different review…
If you haven’t played Ghostrunner, the premise is reasonably simple – this is first person cyber-parkour using (initially at least) nothing more than a katana and a grappling hook, while running and breakneck speed through increasingly challenging and complex areas. Making life harder is a frankly absurd number of ninja cyborgs who have been attacking a residential tower block, and it’ll be your job to slice them to bits while trying not to fall to a distant death. If that sounds tricky, you’re on the money. It’s really hard. But fear not, a failure isn’t lingered on for long – a second later you’ll be back into the action giving it another go, and at some point your muscle memory will tweak itself just enough to nail it. Eventually.
And just as you’re getting used to the basics, more ideas get thrown into the mix as well. You’ll get a collection of shurikens to chuck about, you’ll have door locks to hit in order to allow your slick movement to carry on uninterrupted, you’ll shoot backwards and even end up on a fancy futuristic motorbike as you fly down the side of the tower and take a pounding ride through the desert. Add to that the incredibly brilliant wingsuit you’ll be given later on as well which lets you take a whole new route through the levels (and gives an incredible sense of speed and excitement) and you’ve got a whole lot of different mechanics on the go. The options you have open to you to get through the levels gives an impressive amount of freedom in places, and while there’s sometimes a definite “proper” way to go, you’ll find a few different possibilities in places.
On the PS5, Ghostrunner 2 looks and sounds spectacular. The visuals are spot on for the theme of the game, with some gorgeous lighting for you to take in as you whizz past it on your way to another inevitable failure. The soundtrack is brilliant too, giving a thumping and consistent background to your repeated efforts and making your time in this futuristic AI nightmare another dash of adrenaline. It all adds together to provide a lot of exciting gameplay, and while the storyline isn’t up to a great deal, that’s not what we’re here for really.
So going back to the opening of this review… how’s your patience? Are you prepared to fail over and over, honing your routes and skills until your just about make it in one piece? Have you got the inner calm needed to not fling your expensive controller at next door’s cat as it wanders past your window? If so, and you’re up for a real rush, then Ghostrunner 2 is right up your street. But if not, if you’d rather a game that doesn’t make you try the same thing numerous times over, or you’d rather a game where you can enjoy a decent story without too much failure, then you’ll want to go elsewhere. This is a really good game, and there’s a lot to get out of it, but it’s absolutely not for everyone.
Reviewed on PS5