When I first watched the trailer for Ghostrunner (PC, XB1, PS4), it appeared to me as a crossover between Dishonored, Shadow Warrior, and Mirror’s Edge; all wrapped up in a Cyberpunk setting. And while visually the game does draw from these inspirations, the gameplay on offer is truly something unique, yet familiar all the same. Throughout my 13 minute, 4 second run to reach The Whisper, the main objective of the demo, I learned a lot about Ghostrunner, and how wrong my assumptions about the title’s gameplay were. Make no mistake, this is no complaint, I just have to admit that I was surprised at the sheer difficulty of this game. The only other title I can compare it to in this regard is Superhot, at least in terms of how the death system works. You die in one hit, however, unlike Superhot where you can freeze time to stay alive and you go back to the start of the level when you fail, in Ghostrunner you are constantly on the move in order to survive and you revert back to the most recent checkpoint upon death. This is due to the levels featuring multiple combat scenarios, with checkpoints placed after each victory as you move towards an end objective. This leads into the next gameplay aspect that surprised me about Ghostrunner; you could almost say it’s a puzzle game. As the available methods of movement, enemy placement, and area layout are different in between each checkpoint, you’ll be experimenting (and as a result, dying) over and over again to figure out the right pattern, or puzzle solution if you will, to dispatch your enemies swiftly and cleanly with your Cyber Katana. This is by no means a complaint, as the challenge of constantly moving while finding the right pattern to success was always satisfying and rewarding. There were moments of frustration, though, as there is a steep learning curve before you get the fluidity of the character’s movements down to a science. Additionally, and although this only occurred twice, I did get stuck in the geometry while wall-running, resulting in unfair deaths. Other than those minor instances, I am happy to report that the overwhelming majority of deaths I succumbed to were from my own mistakes. Ghostrunner, in the end, surprised me with a constant, unexpected challenge; but also rewarded me with immense satisfaction as I cut down my enemies with seemingly the speed of light itself. Although the demo was short, it was lengthy enough to leave me wanting for more, and is definitely making me consider purchasing the game at release. Ghostrunner is definitely an upcoming title to keep a close eye on this year, just don’t blink or you’ll miss it.

Credit: Ghostrunner Game

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