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Ghostrunner 2 Review: Unleashing a Cyborg Revolution of Speed, Slashing, and Stunning Villainy

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Thomas Richards
| November 13, 2023
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Developed by One More Level, the original Ghostrunner parkoured into the world back in 2020, and it immediately captured people’s attention. The fast-paced gameplay, unique art style, and rouge-like elements allowed the game to develop a fan base that was dedicated to getting better at the game. Now, three years later, Ghostrunner 2 is here. Building upon what made the first game such a success, Ghostrunner 2 is better than the original in almost every way. The fast-paced rouge-like gameplay is back and better than ever, with new additions that make it all the more satisfying. The presentation has also seen a major upgrade, looking and sounding incredible. The only shortcoming is the story, but the characters make up for it, especially the main villain, who’s voiced by one of my favourites.

An Excuse to Run

A sword is held in the player's right hand. Blood is on the metal floor. A decapitated head is on the left. An arm with a gun is on the bottom. A body covered in blood is on the right.
That’s some heavy blood loss, my friend. (One More Level)

The story of Ghostrunner 2 takes place shortly after the events of the first game, with players once again taking control of the Ghostrunner Jack. After the defeat of The Architect, Dharma Tower is now faced with a new enemy, an evil cult of cyborgs led by Mitra. You’ll spend the rest of the game running, jumping, dashing, and slashing through all manner of baddies to stop the evil AI cult. Along the way, you’ll recruit and interact with various characters that’ll help Jack achieve his goal of cyborg murder. While the setup is interesting, I didn’t feel all that engaged with the overall narrative. It felt more like an excuse to throw you into all these parkour and murder situations instead of being the focus. I’m okay with this, though, as the gameplay is the star, and the story is better than the first game, but I wish the game engaged me a little more with its plot.

What I absolutely adored, though, was the worldbuilding and lore hints that can be found throughout the game. I’m a sucker for cyberpunk worlds because of how creative you can get with them. We get some interesting backstories regarding the game’s history, and it’s a blast to discover it all. I ended up digging through all of the collectible data entries to get even more lore; I couldn’t get enough. Then there’s the section of the game where you exit the tower and see the outside world, and I loved every second I was out there. There were even some magical and mutant elements in the story, and I love it whenever mostly futuristic settings incorporate stuff like this. It adds that extra level of intrigue to the world and keeps me enthralled. I wish the story capitalised on these more; hopefully, they can if a Ghostrunner 3 happens.

A Cyborg Revolution

Four cyborgs are standing side by side. The two on the left are red holograms. The two on the right are in the physically there. They are room only lit by an orange beam in the background.
They’re gonna start a podcast. (One More Level)

While I was a little let down by the story, the characters more than made up for it. They added so much personality to the game that I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed it as much had they not been as good. Jack is just as fun as the last game with his sarcastic jokes and dry humour. His interactions with his allies are also enjoyable to watch. There’s also the returning Zoe from the first game, who you see for more than the last cutscene. She once again communicates with Jack while he’s off doing his murder thang and helps keep the Climbers functioning. The other character I enjoyed was Kira, the hacker you recruited during the game. She is nonchalant towards rules and regulations, doing whatever she wants. This leads to her butting heads with Zoe, which leads to some of the funnier conversations in the game. You can talk to these two and the rest of the supporting cast in between missions, which helps to flesh out their characters and get you invested.

The new AI cult introduced in the game wasn’t all too memorable, except for one, Mitra. Mitra is the main antagonist of the game, with most of the story being caused by his reawakening. He looks dope as hell and has a fun boss fight, but his voice is what has endeared me to this killer AI. The incredible Jonah Scott voices Mitra, and his voice fits perfectly for a calm, collected cyborg ninja. His performance was on point and one of my favourite parts of the game. Whenever he was on screen, I couldn’t help but be entranced with that gorgeous voice of his. The moral of this is to put Jonah Scott in more games, please. I need more of this fantastic person now!

Slash, Dash, and Ride Your Way to Victory

The speedometer of a motorcycle is in the centre of the screen. To the left is a blue boost gauge. They are driving on a freeway with abandoned buildings all around the screen. Everything is covered in sand.
LIFE IS A HIGHWAY! (One More Level)

The gameplay of Ghostrunner 2 is just as fast and frantic as the first, with a few added bells and whistles. The game is still hard as balls at times, leading to me getting a bit frustrated (it was all my fault, though. I was being careless). Even though it’s difficult, the feeling of satisfaction when you finally clear the enemy encounter or level is next-level. The number of combat and traversal options helps as it allows you to take multiple approaches and still come out on top. Do you want to dash and slash every enemy in the area? Or do you want to utilise your gadgets and be a bit more creative? This variety keeps replaying the same section interesting, which you’ll do a lot. The game also eases you into new mechanics as they unlock. The game will give you a grapple ability, and immediately, you’ll get to try it out before it throws in all sorts of obstacles. It keeps you from being overwhelmed and will help people learn the game.

A brand new addition to Ghostrunner 2 was the motorcycle, and it was hands down the most fun I had in my entire playthrough. The bike is locked to the levels where you’re outside the tower (for obvious reasons), and it was incredibly fun. I initially thought the bike would be locked to on-rail chase sequences, but once you exit the city, the game turns into a mini open world, and you have complete control of the bike. You can ramp it off random objects, boost through the derelict city, and even jump off the bike and grapple back to it in mid-air. The bike also controls very well and only glitched out when I was being stupid and boosting carelessly. This has made me want every game from now on to include small open-world bike segments. It’s so much fun!

A Gorgeous Dystopia

The sun is glaring. Dust is covering the buildings. Various abandoned buildings are covered in sand in the background.
It may be an apocalypse, but it’s pretty at least. (One More Level)

Ghostrunner 2 is beautiful to look at, especially if you’re a fan of the cyberpunk aesthetic. The neon-lit tower is a treat for the eyes and will cause you to stop and stare a few times. Having played the game on a PS5, the game takes full advantage of the console’s power and not only showcases excellent visuals but fast load times as well, which are essential in a game like this. The outside world is just as stunning but in a different way. Instead of the cyberpunk-inspired tower, you have a world that would fit right into Mad Max. The place is covered in dust, sand, and various decrepit buildings and cars, which all look great. This was a refreshing change of pace as well, and I enjoyed seeing another side of this world.

I can’t forget to mention the soundtrack, filled with techno bops that will put you in the killing mood. Each track is perfect for whatever you’re doing and adds to the overall experience. The tracks for combat are fast and intense, just what you need for a murder spree. But then you have the tracks for exploring the outside world on your bike that are both adventurous and eerie. I already enjoyed the game, but the soundtrack ensured I fell in love with it.

A sword is dripping with blood in the centre of the screen. Various neon signs are blurry in the background. It's night in the city.
Time for murder. (One More Level)

Ghostrunner 2 is an excellent game. While the story didn’t grip me as I had hoped, every other aspect makes up for it. The characters are enjoyable, and their banter is entertaining. Jonah Scott puts in another fantastic performance, and I want to hear him in more things. The gameplay is brutal and rewarding, with the new bike levels being some of my favourite sections in the entire game. And the game looks and sounds terrific. I’m looking forward to spending even more time mastering the game and earning that sweet platinum trophy.

CODE PROVIDED BY DIVA AGENCY

Did you play Ghostrunner 2? What did you think? Did you like the bike levels? Let us know in the comments where we can talk about how talented and amazing Jonah Scott is.

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