Ghostrunner 2 succeeds in delivering a worthwhile sequel while maintaining what made the original so great to begin with. In 2020, the original Ghostrunnercame when the world was sheltered, and there was a ton of uncertainty. And because we were all stuck at home, I receded into digital worlds where I could escape the fact that we were all unable to go outside. In that sense, One More Level delivered an incredibly colourful world teaming vibrancy and cutting-edge aesthetic where parkour and frenetic combat provided an experience I didn’t know I needed.
The follow-up offers a bigger slice of cake with sprinkles and a cherry on top three years later. Picking up a year later, the sequel once again puts you into the role of Jack, who has destroyed the Keymaster, leaving Dharma Tower free from their clutches. With help from the Interface Council, Jack is looking to bring normalcy to the tower and its inhabitants. As it turns out, this task won’t be easy because Jack quickly encounters new antagonists who want the location for themselves.
Return to Dharma Tower
For newcomers jumping into the series with the sequel, a video recapping the events of the first Ghostrunner will be handy and serve you well to understand the concepts, characters, and locations of the series. The sequel brings a more extensive cast into focus and offers a worthwhile dialogue system that enhances the experience and storytelling elements of the series. One More Level intends to flesh out the series meaningfully; these helpful changes pollinate several gameplay elements here. However, Ghostrunner 2 is still rough around the edges, and some voice acting leaves much to be desired.
Without missing a beat, returning players know what to expect from Ghostrunner 2. It plays essentially like its predecessor, offering chaotic gameplay where one hit will kill you. You aim to reach the level without taking a single blow or risk repeating the level. Every arena you’ll come across is packed with intelligent game design, enemy placement, and combat scenarios, offering you an instance to feel powerful while encouraging artful decision-making in succeeding. In short, there’s freedom to follow when you think outside the box. Of course, dying repeatedly is part of the enjoyment in a game like Ghostrunner 2, with each life lost serving as a learning moment.
Ghostrunner 2 Constantly Surprises You
If you enjoy games like Katana Zero, Hotline Miami, or Neon White, the experience will feel familiar, given these games are leaders in what they do well. Learning to master precision and timing are crucial elements and bring much joy when you can complete a level. It’s hard to replicate the feelings you’ll have after satisfyingly overcoming the obstacles and enemies in front of you.
You’ll feel like a ninja between the wall-running and the ability to dodge and deflect bullets. A new stamina meter keeps your abilities in check, mainly to prevent dodging and dashing. However, a turn of events that I feel ruins the experience is how Jack loses his learned skills from the previous game, essentially resetting the sequel to have our protagonist re-learn the skills he acquired previously. On the bright side, there are expanded skills to look forward to and familiar favourites like Shuriken return and are now more readily available to use in combat. The new abilities you’ll unlock make a difference; upgrading these skills isn’t so obscure. Instead, you can unlock skills by simply progressing through the campaign with additional skill slots available by discovering them in levels.
On A Steel Horse, I Ride
Similarly to its predecessor, Ghostrunner 2 continues to throw new ideas into the mix with each level. I didn’t expect to find something new in each group, yet One More Level has outdone itself by throwing new ideas at the player and finding new enemies, skills, or awe-inducing locations. The two areas I enjoyed most were the combat levels and the new motorcycle stages that look and feel incredible.
The motorcycle levels are so, so good. Not knowing what to expect from these stages, I was floored when it finally appeared and stuck around until the end. I half-expected a gimmicky tool to use to get around but was proven wrong, and I am more than happy to be incorrect. Later stages open up and allow you to explore them on your steel steed, allowing for open-ended exploration, a counter to the experience up to that point.
As a sequel, Ghostrunner 2 delivers an exciting and worthwhile entry by elevating the series to new heights and between the various skills, combat, and ability to deal with a situation with some incredible tools, playing as Jack is a ton of fun. Some performance issues and crashes will take you out of the fun, but nothing game-breaking will destroy your experience. For those who don’t like the original, this isn’t for you, but fans of the first game will find a commendable follow-up that checks many boxes.
[The publisher provided a copy of the game for review purposes.]
Reviewed on: PlayStation 5
Review: Ghostrunner 2
As a sequel, Ghostrunner 2 delivers an exciting and worthwhile entry by elevating the series to new heights.