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Ghostrunner 2

Presenting Gameffine's Ghostrunner 2 review. Ghostrunner 2 is a hardcore FPP slasher set in a post-apocalyptic cyberpunk future developed by One More Level and published by 505 Games

Product Brand: One More Level

Product Currency: USD

Product Price: $39.99

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:

Ghostrunner, the love child of Hotline Miami, Katana Zero, and Mirror’s Edge cuts so hard. A hardcore First Person Platformer providing slick Ninja-esque platforming, challenging Dopamine-pumping combat with eye-popping Cyberpunk visuals and an orgasmic Synthwave soundtrack doesn’t come around often. The critical success of the game is reflected in Uphar’s review of the base game, and Sailesh’s review of its complete edition. It’s been three years since the edgy cyber Ninja Jack graced our monitors with his presence. Now, developer One More Level and Publisher 505 games are bringing Jack back with Ghostrunner 2. Presenting Gameffine’s Ghostrunner 2 review. Brace for flying limbs, floor that’s basically lava, and more edgy one-liners.

Walk Among Ghosts

Ghostrunner 2’s design philosophy is direct – keep whatever worked in the first game and double down on it. Everything from the storytelling to levels has received changes, both major and minor. Some of it works, some slightly less so. One of the biggest overhauls Ghostrunner 2 received is in its storytelling department.

Picking up one year after the first game ended, Ghostrunner 2 once again puts the player in the cybernetic body of Jack. The remnants of humanity are rebuilding their lives in the Dharma Tower when tragedy strikes. A group of Ghostrunners have seemingly come back from the dead to take advantage of the power vacuum left behind by the death of the Keymaster. Jack, who now works with the Architects is tasked with getting to the bottom of the mystery of who these shadowy new runners are and what their endgame is.

Ghostrunner 2 review

The storytelling of Ghostrunner was pretty basic, all things considered. The sequel, on the other hand, takes on a more traditional storytelling method with proper cutscenes, interactions with NPCs in the hub as well as returning worldbuilding features like audio logs and lore-filled dialogues. While I liked the expanded storytelling, returning to the hub after each mission and interacting with NPCs felt pretty shallow and I felt that it took away from the breakneck pacing of the first game. The new story is decent but nothing out of the ordinary as far as cyberpunk games are concerned. I found myself skimming through exposition-filled NPC dialogues to get to the mission. Still, people who found the story in the first game lacking will have plenty to look forward to.

Death Counter Overload

Folks play Ghostrunner for the gameplay and the sequel doesn’t disappoint. As I’ve mentioned earlier, Ghostrunner 2 tries to fit into the quintessential sequel trope. At its core, the game is still a challenging (at times, slightly janky) First-Person Platformer with a seemingly simple but slick sword combat system. Enemies still die in one hit but so do you. Much like the original, most of the levels are composed of well-designed, brutally difficult parkour and combat arenas. The game still demands the player to have good muscle memory, reflexes, and patience for trial-and-error gameplay.

You can still run, dash, wall-run, slide, and grapple as well as unlock several ultimates and purchase upgrades similar to the first game. The difference this time around is that there’s more of everything. There are more ultimates, more upgrades, more skins, more level variety, and on and on. It goes without saying that the core gameplay is still tight, challenging, and extremely satisfying at its best and mildly frustrating at its worst.

ghostrunner 2 review

By far, the biggest change in Ghostrunner 2 is the expanded level design. Aside from featuring the traditional linear Dharma Tower levels and cyber dome sections, Ghostrunner 2 finally lets the player out of the Dharma Tower and into the wasteland. Complimenting this newfound freedom is the bike that was heavily featured in the demo. Midway through the game, Jack will come across a bike that he first uses to catch up to a certain individual in a linear race against time. The next couple of levels feature the bike more prominently and as a result, are more open where a bike is used to cross large distances similar to Half Life 2. During these sections, Jack is able to enter/exit the bike at will depending on the mission objective. Jack is able to use his sword while riding and the bike even comes installed with turrets to boot.

Ghostrunner 2 review

While the bike sections provide a fresh change of pace from the linear levels, I can’t help but feel that they’re really not as good as the demo hyped it to be. Sure, it’s a nice novelty and the game even features a badass boss fight set-piece involving the bike and a certain giant “something”. The tradeoff is that these open levels are not as interesting as the standard levels. The levels are only non-linear in the sense that you can approach a specific objective in any order. Other than that, they’re needlessly big with lots of empty spaces in between. It would have been better if the bike was only used in linear, tightly designed sections like the one in the demo.

Even the linear levels are more lengthier this time around, which provides for a lot of cool parkour action but I feel as if the game won’t have the casual speedrun value of the original since each individual level takes far more time to beat. I found myself taking a big break between each level when compared to beating half of the first game in one sitting. Of course, this is a very subjective thing since some people may prefer a longer-level design. The same goes for the cyber-void sections as well. I personally didn’t care for these in the last game and they are just as drawn-out here as they were in the original.

Ghostrunner 2 review

Boss fights are another area that has received revamps. There are five boss fights in the game and they’re all a blast to fight. The bosses do not feel as gimmicky as in the first game. The build-up to the fights and the actual fights themselves feel pretty badass and not frustrating in the slightest. Ghostrunner 2 features a lengthier campaign and a first playthrough will take you anywhere from 10-15 hours to beat, compared to the 7-hour campaign of the first game. Aside from the campaign, there’s also a repeatable challenge mode similar to Metal Gear Solid’s VR missions with a Roguelike twist. Here, you play through bite-sized levels to complete parkour and combat challenges to unlock cosmetic rewards. Pretty fun to hop in every now and then.

Pretty but at What Cost?

Ghostrunner 2 has received a significant boost to its visuals, courtesy of Unreal Engine. From texture work to lighting, to minor things like environmental clutter, everything looks drastically better than the first game. However, that comes at a cost. Like almost all UE4-powered games in 2023, Ghostrunner 2 also suffers from shader compilation stutters on the PC. While the stutters are not as bad as say, Jedi Survivor, they are still annoying especially considering that Ghostrunner 2 requires precise inputs and a fluid framerate at all times. I’ve experienced microstutters as well as large 10-second drops to mid-40s that really took me out of the experience. When not stuttering, the game manages to run at around 100-144 fps on both RTX 3070 and RTX 4060, with DLSS on Quality. Fixing the shader compilation stutter should be the #1 priority for the devs post-launch.

Real Talk

Ghostrunner 2 is a solid entry that builds on the foundation of the first game. Almost everything has been tweaked or expanded to provide a lengthier, more varied campaign that retains the precise platforming and fluid one-hit combat. While the PC performance is not optimal and some of the new additions disrupt the pace of the game, Ghostrunner 2 does enough to please fans of the first game and then some more.


Ghostrunner 2

Ghostrunner 2
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Ghostrunner 2 has enough going for it to make it a worthy purchase for fans of the first game. The platforming is fluid, the combat is punishing, the level design has been greatly expanded upon and the new bike is fun to ride around in (with some caveats). A wet-dream for speedrunners and no-hit purists.
Ghostrunner 2 has enough going for it to make it a worthy purchase for fans of the first game. The platforming is fluid, the combat is punishing, the level design has been greatly expanded upon and the new bike is fun to ride around in (with some caveats). A wet-dream for speedrunners and no-hit purists.
Total Score

The Good

  • More Ghostrunner
  • Greatly expanded storytelling and level design
  • Looks and sounds amazing

The Bad

  • The "non-linear" sections are boring
  • Shader compilation stutters
  • The platforming can still feel wildly inaccurate at times
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