Ghostrunner 2 mostly just keeps pace with its predecessor but with some added bells and whistles

Well, I hope you like dying because you’ll be doing plenty of that in Ghostrunner 2.

That’s quite a pitch, but it pretty much sums up the experience you’re going to have here. So if repeated, constant, regular, frequent deaths are not your thing, you can probably click off this review right now and be about your day. But if that sounds like your kinda fun, have I got a game for you!

Ghostrunner is back, bringing its speed-running, first person action with it, and pretty much everything is still the same as the game you played a few years ago. For better and worse.

For better because this was actually one of the more creative attempts at an action adventure as you reflect projectiles, evade attacks, swing and wall run your way out of danger. The speed and agility is first rate and offers a freedom of movement many other shooters can only dream of.

And for worse because, well, not much has really changed about this one in terms of the issues that still exist within it. The difficulty actually got worse – the first boss fight took me over a hundred attempts – button matching action doesn’t always correspond in time and it suffers from bugs and performance issues.

This one can also really make you motion sick. If, like me, you’ve got a pretty strong disposition when it comes to FPPs it’s pretty rare to find a game that turns the stomach and gets you dizzy. But Ghostrunner 1 managed it and this one just aggravates me even more.

But I’ve powered through and persevered through the campaign, leaping between bars, soaring through the skies, throwing shruikens at exploding barrels and then hopping on the back of my bike to whizz around on land for just a little while. At least the game has variety. And the story is also a much bigger focus this time around.

Set one year after the events of Ghostrunner, you’re now in a world built through your own design after bringing down the Keymaster. And even though you may be a hero to many, things are definitely not as they seem with an AI cult threatening to disrupt everything you’ve tried to rebuild. As premises’ go, it’s nothing particularly groundbreaking, but the regular back and forth dialogue keeps everything moving just right.

Ghostrunner 2 once again sees you wield a katana, used to slice, dice, hack, slash and deflect projectiles from any angle. You’ll get to tackle more open environments, take on tougher bosses and mix up your strategies in different ways in order to make it through the campaign. All while splicing up your powers and abilities via purchasable upgrades and balanced out circuit nodes so you can only equip certain things at certain times.

Figuring out what works best for you is part of the challenge, of course, like if you want your enemies highlighted in red or if you’d prefer to less stamina decrease from your slides. You need to make trade-offs because certain abilities cost more to equip than others, so determining the right build and balance is all part of the challenge.

And this game really is hard as nails. If you’ve enjoyed the trial by fire of a Souls-like in recent years, this is right up your alley and a game you’ll immediately bond with. Parrying can lead to powerful counterattacks and dodging is crucial because one hit and you’re dead. Checkpoints aren’t too badly spaced out, but seriously, you better get good at not getting hit.

The game actually starts to feel more like an Olli Olli or Trials HD after a while with the frequent restarts and death screens. It gives off a bit of a strange vibe, if I’m honest, but it’s also one that sets itself apart from almost everything else in the genre because of its quick kills and regular restarts. And it certainly offers some high stakes swinging in a very different form to a certain other big release that just dropped.

The campaign itself can be blitzed in about 12 hours, but that all highly depends on how well you get to grips with its mechanics and whether you get frustrated long before the credits roll. This game is definitely not for everyone, but at least you’ll learn that early rather than hours into the game.

If you do stick with it, though, it presents some incredible sequences. Bosses can be real events in their own right, but you can also create your own fun. Like a slo-mo dive off a wall, dashing to the side of an enemy who has you in their laser sights, which surprisingly presents you with an opportunity to slice through two enemies in one fell swoop. Rarely does a game make you feel like a stealthy ninja or a true assassin, but this captures that feeling brilliantly. Even more than the recent Assassin’s Creed, if I’m honest.

Sadly, the gritty cyberpunk setting of the first game doesn’t feel a whole lot different here, in fact it often feels like you’re retreading familiar levels. There are some new enemies though, including more cyborg-like entities that force you to duck under their massive beams of energy and ninjas that demand you keep eyes in the back of your head. Seriously, they’re fast.

These games are total marmite in the truest sense of the word. I know many people cited the original as a Game of the Year contender and frankly, if you loved Ghostrunner 1, you’re going to be absolutely over the moon with this one. There’s more battle patterns to learn, you can approach each scene and situation in distinct, unique ways. Come in at the side, use a piece of environment as cover, drop down on enemies from up above. The choice is often yours.

Ghostrunner 2 even has puzzles to break up the breakneck pace as you strike fuse boxes in order to activate switches or lower water in order to progress through each level. It’s a game that manages to keep its ideas fresh, despite maintaining the exact same rhythm throughout.

I never loved my time with Ghostrunner 2, but I didn’t outright hate it either. I know there’s an audience for this game, I know I’m not exactly the right fit, and I appreciate it at least sticks to what it knows, refining those mechanics so they feel pretty tight. Some frame rate drops, cheap deaths and random bugs and glitches didn’t help my mood very much, though.

But let me give it to you simple. If you loved the first, you’ll love the second. If you don’t mind punishing battles that you don’t always learn anything from and sometimes have to rely on dumb luck to get through, you’ll be alright here too. But there’s no real middle ground with this one, even if you really, really want there to be.


Ghostrunner 2 follows on very closely from the first, adding in some enemies, abilities and mechanics, but very much maintaining the essence that made it a cult hit in the first place. Its brutal and often unfair difficulty mean its really not going to be for everyone and the performance and bugs could present a real tipping point for those who are just about managing to keep pace. But for fans of the first, those who love dynamic action sequences and are ok with a little bit of tough love, you’re going to fall head over heels for this one. 


+ Dynamic action unlike anything else in the genre right now
+ Some sequences feel like absolute thrill-rides in execution
+ Story is a bigger focus and better developed than before.


– Difficulty is really rough at times and definitely creates some frustration
– Can make you quite motion sick if you’re prone to it.
– Performance problems lead to frame rate dips
– Quite a few bugs and glitches lead to this being a bit of a rough ride at times.

Ghostrunner 2  is out from today in early access on PC, PS, and Xbox 

Code Kindly Provided by 505 Games for review purposes

Played on PlayStation 5

About the author

Jay Jones

Jay is a massive football fan - Manchester Utd in case you were wondering - and lover of gaming. He'll play just about anything, but his vice is definitely Ultimate Team.
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