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Ghostrunner – through bodies and neon. Review / Games


Genre Action
Publisher All In! Games, 505 Games
Publisher in Russia “Buka”
Developer One more level
System requirements Intel Core i5-2500K 3.3 GHz / AMD Phenom II X4 965 3.4 GHz, 8 GB RAM, DirectX 11 graphics card and 2 GB memory, such as NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 / AMD Radeon RX 550, 22 GB hard disk, Steam, GOG or Epic Games Store account
Recommended Requirements Intel Core i7-6700K 4.0 GHz / AMD Ryzen 5 1500X 3.5 GHz, 8 GB RAM, DirectX 11 graphics card and 4 GB memory, such as NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 / AMD Radeon RX 5700
release date October 27, 2020 (PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One)
Age qualification from 18 years old
Platforms PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S
Official site

Played on PC

While CD Projekt RED is trying to perfect its magnum opus, the cyberpunk genre is being sprinkled by their peers from around the world. Including the Poles themselves from the neighboring studio One More Level. The Ghostrunner game presented at Gamescom 2019 impresses with its verified style and adrenaline-pumping gameplay, and pretty quickly puts the cards on the table: the mechanics are revealed in the first thirty minutes, but manages to keep tenaciously at the screen for ten hours in a row. We figure out how she succeeds.

⇡ #Wake up samurai

Ghostrunner is fast in everything. Even the script harnesses quickly. We are given the role of one of the Running Shadows – the deadly defenders of the Tower, a perfect symbiosis of organics and machines. In a mysterious way, the fighter found himself on the lower levels and hardly remembers what happened to him. In the first minutes, we break into a cyber prison, freeing the mysterious Architect. It was through his efforts that the Tower appeared. However, his old friend and colleague, who calls herself the Mistress of the Keys (no, this is not an offshoot of the “Matrix”), imprisoned a genius mind. And the main character, it turns out, went to the dump through her efforts.

Like I got into the movie

Like I got into the movie “Blade Runner”

The goal is clear. It remains to overcome dozens of floors of the last refuge of mankind and take revenge. Despite the straightforwardness of the story, it doesn’t seem bad at all. Probably because you don’t really expect a plot from fast-paced action, and Ghostrunner is surprisingly skillful in building the world and its history. Very reminiscent of Mad Max: Fury Road.

Old objects are scattered around the corners of the dirty sectors and neon alleys, the description of which gives the environment texture. A can of old coffee is considered a rare piece of luck; it is brewed only on special occasions. Glasses have become a status accessory, as getting an eye implant is much easier and cheaper than the right lens. It is interesting to read such notes.

The shadow constantly communicates with the Architect and Zoe’s girlfriend – a fighter of the Resistance, who also played an important role in the hero’s past. Both characters shed light on both the history of the Tower and the setting in the game’s world. The context is presented in small pieces, general strokes and sketches, but this is enough to create a clear picture and believable motivation. It’s always nice when you move forward for a specific goal.

Duels are faster than lightning. In a moment, only one will remain alive

Duels are faster than lightning. In a moment, only one will remain alive

You will have to break through with a fight. The hero’s arsenal is modest. Weapon – only high-tech katana. On the one hand, it will cut any enemy in half with a single swing, and it can also reflect a shot. On the other hand, the Shadow also fails from one missed hit (more often, of course, bullets). The gameplay resembles a nuclear mixture of Hotline Miami and Mirror’s Edge.

The shadow not only deftly wields the blade, but can run along the walls and cling to the points provided by the designers of the locations with an energy whip. This helps to freely and swiftly overcome platform after platform, waltzing between bandits and robots. Dash helps to dodge shots, and by activating it in the air, you will also turn on slo-mo, which will allow you to exhale, navigate the situation and think over the next steps.

⇡ #No time to think – act

You need to think quickly. After the first warm-up arenas, the game is rapidly accelerating. Maps offer at least a couple of routes. But Ghostrunner is one of those projects that you want not just to go through, but to do it in the most effective way. You run along the wall, reflecting several blows, fall down from a height on the thug, jerk you get the second one while it is reloading, with the help of the whip you jump away from the machine gun fire, bounce off the walls, like the Prince of Persia, chopping the rushing thug on the fly, and land exactly behind machine gunner. Needless to say, he won’t have time to turn around.

A separate button is provided for admiring your blade. Alternative weapon skins can be found as secrets

A separate button is provided for admiring your blade. Alternative weapon skins can be found as secrets

Each skirmish creates such a kaleidoscope of events. Of course, doing this on the first try is almost impossible. You have to die and die and die again until you learn the perfect route down to the milliseconds in which you have to bounce off each surface. And when the blade nevertheless finds its way through the bodies of opponents on the first try, you feel like an invincible cyborg samurai.

Combat arenas interspersed with platforming sections. By the end, they become almost more difficult than battles: you have to constantly jump, slide and jump over the abysses, trying to avoid flashes of fire and electricity. The final episode is especially demanding on skills: he can fray his nerves no worse than Celesta or Super Meat Boy.

Over time, the Shadow learns new combat techniques to help him overcome increasingly difficult challenges. There are four active skills: a lightning-fast and deadly dash to the enemy, a shock wave from the palm, an energy charge from a katana and gaining control over any enemy. All of them make life much easier if used wisely, but absolutely not required for passing. A good blade is enough for a skilled warrior.

Prepare to see this screen often. Most Likely Even More Than You Died

Prepare to see this screen often. Most Likely Even More Than You Died

In addition, permanent gains are provided. Each of them provides a useful bonus like double dash, easier hitting off projectiles, or improved fighting techniques. Power-ups occupy a certain number of slots on the board and have a unique shape like figures in Tetris. It is necessary to place them wisely, adjusting to each other, because there is very little space. The catch is that the more cells you leave free, the faster active skills recharge. You have to choose what is more important to you.

Of course, the visual part cannot be ignored. Ghostrunner is a concentrated cyberpunk built exclusively around recognizable imagery. Instead of the sky overhead, there are only metal structures drowning in a misty haze, neon as the main source of light, destruction and debris everywhere. And, of course, adrenaline electronics with an admixture of industrial are bursting from the speakers.

The only annoying problem is that in the first days after the release, at certain screen resolutions, the game refused to register mouse clicks. As you can imagine, in a project with the highest requirement for accuracy and rhythm, such a bug destroys the whole impression. Fortunately, the patch has already fixed the situation. And fixing the balance in a few particularly tough arenas is also unlikely to be difficult.

Occasionally the game even throws up puzzles

Occasionally the game even throws up puzzles

* * *

Ghostrunner is another striking confirmation that Poland is becoming one of the European centers of the gaming industry. It’s good that One More Level doesn’t stop there.

Advantages:

  • fast-paced action, grabbing by the breasts and not letting go until the very end, despite all the difficulties;
  • competent balance of furious battles and tricky platforming;
  • crystallized cyberpunk stylistics;
  • successful presentation of the plot and history of the world.

Disadvantages:

  • occasionally the game becomes unreasonably ruthless (which may be a plus for some).

Graphic arts

Technically and artistically, Ghostrunner is a feast for the eyes.

Sound

Driving soundtrack fits perfectly into the overall style and emphasizes the pace of the gameplay. The actors managed to give their characters character.

Single player game

Dashing action, entirely built on the principle of “learning through failure”.

Collective game

Not provided.

General impression

An insane mix of Hotline Miami and Mirror’s Edge in the beautiful world of post-apocalyptic cyberpunk.

Rating: 9.0 / 10

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