June 23, 2024

Mikayla Macfarlane

Serving technology better

Ghostrunner 2 is brutally punishing, but it feels too good to give up on

4 min read
Ghostrunner 2

Time comes for us all. There's no escape from getting older and the inevitability of our bodies and minds slowing down. For many of us, that might mean having to re-examine how we tackle games, especially those that demand quick reactions.

That thought has been at the forefront as I've been playing . Like the original, it's a high-octane, first-person slasher with a big focus on traversal. It feels like a blend of Doom Eternal and a cyberpunk take on Mirror's Edge.

Ghostrunner 2 is an intense, often-tough game that's absolutely kicking my tail. This is a fragile world in which both you and most enemies die in one hit. You will perish often. In the third level, I died (without exaggeration) 164 times.

I don't tend to stick with overly challenging games. I'm sure I could beat the likes of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and Cuphead eventually, but there are too many games to play and not enough time for me to master the skills and knowledge needed to conquer some of the tougher titles out there.

That said, there are a few reasons I've kept with Ghostrunner 2, which arrives during an . Developer One More Level has generously dotted checkpoints around each stage, which makes the frequent deaths at the hands of enemies and environmental hazards easier to stomach. You can respawn instantly after dying or at any other time with the press of a button.

Most importantly, it's a blast to play. It's immensely satisfying to finally beat a section after dozens of failed attempts and to squeeze through several narrow gaps. The propulsive, pounding soundtrack keeps driving me forward, even when I'm on the verge of tossing my controller on the couch and giving up for the night. One More Level has crafted a satisfying gameplay loop that's hard to walk away from.

Ghostrunner 2
One More Level/505 Games

I see Ghostrunner 2 mostly as a puzzle game. Sure, there are doors to unlock and objects to move around before you can access certain areas. But every enemy confrontation is a conundrum to overcome.

Whenever you respawn, enemies and obstacles reappear in the same place, so you can adjust your approach to tackling them as necessary. Rather than bolting headfirst into the middle of a combat area, using the mini map and Jack's strafing, wallrunning, air dashing and sliding abilities to get the lay of the land and enemy positions is a smart way to go. But even once I've figured out my plan of attack, it still typically takes me several attempts before I can wipe out all of my opponents and move onto the next area.

You'll need to be on your toes no matter what. Melee-focused enemies can quickly surround you and you'll need to be alert for incoming fire. You can't simply hold down the block button either, as that drains what's effectively a stamina meter. It's important to get used to the parry timing quickly, especially if you use an ability that redirects all deflected shots toward an attacker.

I was able to try Ghostrunner 2 on both PC and PS5. While I prefer the precision of a mouse for first-person games, this absolutely sings on a PS5 (especially compared with my three-year-old mid-range gaming laptop). The high framerate mode lets you play at 120 frames per second on PS5 if you have a compatible display. I felt like I needed every one of those frames to overcome some sections, and I was glad to have that advantage.

Ghostrunner 2
One More Level/505 Games

Trying to take things slow goes against the spirit of the game, but I'm finding it a more satisfying way to play Ghostrunner 2 for the most part. Taking a breather to explore the environment is also a good idea for all players, since it's worth searching for upgrades that can unlock powerful abilities.

Accessibility settings are important for many folks too, including those who are getting older. My reaction times aren't the same in my 30s as they were when I was a teenager, but I can hold my own for the most part. I'd like to keep playing games for as long as I can, though, and there will be a point in my life where I will need certain accessibility functions to navigate whatever challenges that developers throw at me.

One More Level to the original game several months after its debut in late 2020. Those included the ability to slow down time, as well as being able to take an extra hit before perishing. I played much of Ghostrunner before those options arrived. I got stuck at a rotating tower , with those beams killing me hundreds of times. It was only when One More Level introduced the Assist Mode that I was able to conquer it.

Unfortunately, One More Level hasn’t brought those Assist Mode options to Ghostrunner 2 yet. The only real gameplay modifier as things stand is an aim assist. But despite my many, many deaths as Jack, I haven't hit a true roadblock. So far, I've been able to slowly work my way through the levels. I may eventually need more help to navigate tougher sections, so here's hoping Assist Mode shows up in the sequel soon (and not just for my sake). One thing's for sure, at least: I won't be winning any prizes in .

Ghostrunner 2 will hit PC, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S on October 26.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/ghostrunner-2-is-brutally-punishing-but-it-feels-too-good-to-give-up-on-160456973.html?src=rss

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