Ghostrunner | PAX East 2020 *Best of Show*

When you blend Titanfall, Mirror’s Edge, Hotline Miami, and what we’ve seen of Cyberpunk 2077 you get Ghostrunner. An action first-person perspective game where you’re in Ascent, humanity’s last remaining shelter which is a great tower-city. However, the strong prey on the weak and it’s run by poverty and chaos. With one-hit-one-kill fast action and bullet-time mechanics as the core of the game, your objective is to uncover the secrets of the tower, learn about why you’re a badass, and gain enough power to challenge The Keymaster.

Oz’s Take:
The first thing I thought when I saw this game was Mirror’s Edge meets Titanfall’s parkour and wall running. But after getting a chance to experience it first hand, it turned out to feel a lot more like Hotline Miami. The soundtrack mixed with the high-adrenaline combat is what got me into the game. From the start, you’re on course to keep dying and restarting. Dying is part of the game and planning your attack after each death is all part of the strategy to avoiding death. Knowing when to go into “bullet-time” to avoid getting shot, or even just dashing out of the way to wall-run or using your grappling hook to string combos together is all part of the beauty of Ghostrunner. I kept dying trying to figure out where to go, and there is definitely a quick learning curve to get the game. When you’re in the air, bullet time gets activated by the same button that dashes if you’re on the ground which while writing sounds simple but when applying it to the game becomes very difficult based on how fast-paced the game is. This isn’t bad, but it will take a few deaths to get adjusted.

Ghostrunner is one of those games I could not get out of my head after playing it in the demo and can’t wait to get my hands on the final release of this game. Without a doubt, this is my pick for Best of Show for PAX East 2020.

Juan’s Take:
Super-fast, action-packed, hack and slash. I don’t know how many adjectives and verbs I can mix and match before the grammar police comes after me. Here we have a futuristic ninja assassin delivering hot slices. No not pizza, just straight-up carnage. I love how fast-paced the game is, the problem is matching that with your decision making. The game is a refreshing twist to the first-person perspective; first-person slasher rather than a shooter. Execute flawless commands to take down targets efficiently. I get to experience true ninja skills. Jump, wall run and then slash to take the offense. If you want to take a defensive approach then use slow-mo to see incoming bullets like Neo but instead of limboing away, slice and deflect. It feels so boss when you are dashing and slashing through the area but don’t let my description fool you. It all comes to timing and proper skill usage. Easier said than done.

The game brings back the ninja swag and character design reminds me of the first ninja I have ever admired, Ryu Hayabusa (Oh Ninja Gaiden, how I love to hate thee). You add Raiden from Metal Gear Rising and you got, Ghostrunner, the ninja of the future. I truly do look forward to seeing what other gadgets our ninja friend has. So far I saw the grappling hook in action and was happy to see it incorporated into diving slashing combos. After seeing the use of the grappling hook, I commented on potentially adding offensive elements to it. For example, use it like Scorpion from Mortal Kombat to pull the enemy in and slash. Although it may not be added to the game, I appreciated the representative taking note of it, but if the dev team happens to end up reading into ideas, may I also suggest adding throwing stars. Just saying, I’m not trying to contaminate the game’s playability but I do see it completing the ninja experience. Slashing out late 2020, I see Ghostrunner making ninjas relevant again.

Developed by One More Level
Co-Developed by Slipgate Ironworks
Produced by 3DRealms
Published by All in! Games

Oz plays Rocket League and is very bad at it, but at least he tries. As long as there are games to talk about, he's in his happy place.

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