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Ghostrunner 2

Ghostrunner 2 Gamescom Impressions: More of that Ghostrunner goodness

One More Level's action sequel is set to be one of October's most exciting titles.

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When Ghostrunner burst onto the scene a few years ago, it reignited a Hotline Miami fan in many of us. Nimbly zipping through a cyberpunk world, all while using a katana and other ninja-like tools to fluidly and effortlessly cut down enemies was a rush unlike much else. It had its limits for sure, but the core gameplay at the centre of this action game was enough for it to be memorable, and to make the upcoming launch of Ghostrunner 2 one of the highlights of the remainder of 2023.

While we'll have to wait until October 26th to see the game in its full glory, I have had the chance to experience Ghostrunner 2, as part of a short preview during our time at Gamescom this year. Admittedly, this was only a very short preview, as prior experience with the Ghostrunner series did mean that I managed to zoom through the demo in shy of 15 minutes, but I won't deny that those were some of the most entertaining minutes I have had throughout the entire show this year.

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Essentially, at its most basic, Ghostrunner 2 is just more of the Ghostrunner we all fell in love with. It's not challenging the premise of the previous title; it's not introducing hugely unique mechanics that redefines the gameplay. No. This takes that original game, improves in the performance and visuals, adds depth where it can, and sets players on a journey filled with new hazards, enemies, and puzzles to face across its follow-up campaign.

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Jack is still the protagonist. He is still witty, cool, and collected when under pressure, like an 80s action star trapped in a robot ninja body. The story still takes you to dystopian and cyberpunk places within the enormous Tower, but the difference now is that Ghostrunner 2 will start to explore what exists beyond the Tower's walls. Why? That was hard to tell, as the demo build didn't exactly allude to this all too much on the narrative front, but seemingly the reason revolves around hunting down another Ghostrunner rival.

With such a change in environments planned for this story, developer One More Level has looked to bring in a new feature that feels very RoboCop, as here Jack will be able to mount up on a new motorcycle that when you boil it down plays very similarly to the Ghostrunner himself. You can speed up to avoid hazards and cross large gaps; wall ride; slash to destroy power cells and other objects to open the way. Long story short, this isn't some bulky Harley Davidson that Jack is in the driver's seat of, it's a futuristic vehicle that doesn't really feel limited by the laws of physics. I was told during my time with the game that the bike will be incorporated into the story at multiple times and in a plethora of ways, but for veteran Ghostrunner fans, fret not, the core gameplay of hacking, slashing, and evading through the world on two feet is still very much present.

Ghostrunner 2

On top of being able to slash and dodge, wall run and leap, smash through walls and grind on rails, Jack also has a broad collection of gadgets at his disposal again that both aid him in combat and during platforming sections. The grappling hook is back, and now you can also throw shurikens and manipulate certain objects in the world with forceful blasts, which is useful for moving platforms or launching an explosive barrel at a horde of enemies.

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So, as you can see, and as was the case in the original Ghostrunner, this sequel is designed to put the power of creativity into the hands of the player. If you just want to be direct and straightforward and blast through the narrative, you can absolutely do that, and likewise if you want to add some flair and look to complete each level in as creative a manner as possible, the opportunity is once again present. That Ghostrunner brilliance that allowed the game to apply to speedrunners, technical players, and everyone in between, makes its return here, and generally speaking it all comes together to make this sequel precisely what I hoped it would be: more Ghostrunner goodness.

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Ghostrunner 2

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Jack Ghostrunner is back with some new tricks, but are they enough to make this action sequel stand out?



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