In a year of long-awaited sequels to beloved games, we’ve gotten games like Diablo 4 and Alan Wake 2. However, a sequel that truly came out of left field was Ghostrunner 2. A game that I previously reviewed and thoroughly enjoyed! With a sequel that I wasn’t expecting with the way the story ended, I didn’t know what to think. So if you want to see my thoughts with my Ghostrunner 2 review read on! Find out, if this high-speed cyberpunk slasher continues its high-tech legacy, or should’ve voided itself out.
Spoiler WARNING: Ahead there will be spoilers for Ghostrunner 2 as well as story pieces from the original. Read at your own risk.
The story of ghostrunner 2 takes place one year after the ending of the original. The Tower is still recovering from the fall of the Keymaster. As well as the shutdown of the Cybervoid space, an almost augmented reality used for hacking and hiding info. We jump back into the hardware of Jack, the GhostRunner from the original game.
By a miracle after his selfless self-sacrifice when he deleted the AI of the architect, the entire cybervoid was shut down. With his consciousness tied to the cybervoid, he should not have survived. However, he was able to regain consciousness with no known reasoning.
The Tower has been recovering after the success of the climbers in dethroning the oppressive Keymaster, Mara. However, due to the power vacuum created more groups are vying for control, while the climbers try to help establish order. This is mainly due to the threat of the Anchors and the Church. They want more power, while the climbers are trying to establish a fair form of government called the Council. Where all can voice and cooperate together.
That was until the reveal of the Asura, the ORIGINAL Ghostrunners. The prototypes that Jack is designed off of. These were unique and distinct GRs, as they are called, with a set purpose. They plan to follow Bushido, a program code, to reinstate and revive the architect. Now Jack is working with former keys, subordinates of the Keymaster, to gather allies to assist the climbers. To stop the revival of the architect and to stop the Asura.
When I tell you I had no clue where the story could’ve gone after the first game I’m serious. The story felt whole and complete and honestly didn’t feel like it needed a continuation. The heroic sacrifice of Jack to become a legendary hero to the people of the Tower, felt right. However, despite this, I’m not mad about the continued story. They had already referenced multiple times that Jack was different than the rest of the numbers, the GhostRunners who rebelled against the KeyMaster. He survives the Cybervoid shutdown after originally being used by the architect to take control of his body. Nothing felt out of the realm of possibility.
Within the genre of Cyberpunk, the understanding of digital consciousness too, and revival through the digital world as well. Having enemies like the Asura felt totally in sync. I enjoyed how they ramped up the goals and threats from the first game to this one. While it still felt like an unnecessary continuation, it is definitely a well-done and welcome one.
The visuals of Ghostrunner 2 are simply beautiful. The first game was already no slouch to its CyberPunk aesthetic. Compared to the visuals of its original the game Ghostrunner 2 has seen a massive overhaul. This stems from the switch to Unreal Engine 5. The visuals and details have taken a noticeable improvement.
From the lighting in areas to the neon lights the light Dharma city. There is so much that looks improved. That isn’t even taking into account the details of Jack especially when it comes to his cosmetics. Getting a massive overhaul to the cosmetics, from the look and designs of Jack’s Katanas to even his arms getting nice new color palettes. Along with his new arms, comes the neat little introduction of an electro bracelet with the player’s name, on it.
Not to mention the introduction of the new Motorcycle sections of the game. Even this cycle has cosmetics earned through the game that adds an extra layer of detail. Now along with the improved visuals comes with the new arenas the game takes place in. The areas are much larger, with way more movement from the environment and ways to maneuver. This adds a new level of freedom mixed with new attacks and tricks to utilize.
Needless to say that the visuals got a nice facelift, that shows what the team at One More Level has been up to.
Simple and easy to say, that the sound design of Ghostrunner has not changed. This is honestly for the best. The electro/EDM/synth-wave sounds of the first game fit the feel almost perfectly. With a new killer OST playing both in the background of the main menu. With its hard-hitting tempos and bass drops, it is hard not to love the game.
To me, a great OST goes far for a game, and Ghostrunner 2 is a great follow to the fast-hitting soundtrack of the original. Not to mention the fact that the combat sounds had a very nice improvement. From the sound of flesh being sliced, to the sounds of combat from enemies. There has been a slight, but noticeable improvement. However, the biggest change to the audio is in the voice acting. With a much larger cast than before, to a lot more interactions, the dialogue between characters has had a dramatic increase. All of this helps to give Ghostrunner 2 that ever-so-slight push in the right direction.
Quality of Life changes:
One of the biggest areas of change has to be in the gameplay. In my previous playthrough, I mentioned that while the combat was fun, frantic, fast-paced action. There were noticeable areas where sometimes it felt iffy and inconsistent when you would attack and slash if you would automatically dash to fill a gap, or in regards to the issues with momentum.
In this game, these mean everything from being able to move, kill, and platform, inconsistency is a death sentence. I’m glad to say there have been noticeable improvements with all of these, most notably with movement and momentum. Within the game, there is much more content, with minigames and challenges, and one of those in-game challenges offers materials is speedrunning. with the larger environments and areas, it feels like you are freely able to move faster and more consistently at higher speeds.
It makes getting around a lot smoother, and feel more refined. It helps combat to flow more naturally with the new combo system adding onto another introduction. Along with the refined combat and movement, many QoL changes have been made, one that I find interesting is the skills or motherboard. In the original game, the motherboard allowed you to add unique bonuses to your GR, allowing a playstyle all your own. But the thing was almost like a Tetris puzzle. You had unlocked pieces that then hate to fit within this board.
However, now you buy skills using points you get from runs and challenges. These can be used at the new in-game hub room. There is an augmentation store to buy new upgrades. These then are placed on your motherboard through columns. With each costing a certain amount of memory. You unlock memory from challenges or find them in levels. Which in turn then increases your level allowing you to use more upgrades and improving your board. This allows much more customization without having it turn into a puzzle at the same time. This small change goes an absolute long way.
Another addition to the game was the inclusion of Ghostrunner.exe an almost roguelike minigame where you start with so many lives and no upgrades. Choosing between fighting in small arenas or parkour challenges to get more lives or modifiers. All work towards a final level to unlock sweet rewards for your game. While many people will ignore this, it is a fun addition that gives fun rewards for those who put in the time.
Overall my time with my Ghostrunner 2 review was one of surprise. Honestly not knowing where they can go with the story, as well as what they can do to improve was changed. The story continues and ties into the HEL DLC from the first game. The refinements to gameplay is so nice along with many more QoL changes.
If you were a fan of the original, this is an absolute must-play. The high-speed action feels funner, smoother, and just overall clean. Ghostrunner 2 is available on Xbox Series X|S, PS5, and PC through Steam, GOG, and Epic Games Store.
I want to thank the team at One More Level and 505 Games for providing the key for our Ghostrunner 2 review. As well as allowing me to return to this amazing world.
So tell us were you a fan of the original Ghostrunner, do you plan to pick up the sequel? Let us know in the comments below.
Hey everyone hope you enjoyed my thoughts and breakdowns in the article above. You can keep up with my thoughts & shenanigans by following me on all my social media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Twitch, & Youtube.