Ghostrunner Review: Mirror's Edge Meets Dark Souls & Cyberpunk

Ghostrunner Cyberpunk Action
A pinch of Dark Souls, some Mirror's Edge and a lot of Cyberpunk: Ghostrunner is a hit! (Image Credit: 505 Games)

Ghostrunner: In the first-person parkour action game everything revolves around the joy of fast movements, the frustration of dying, and a dystopian vision of the future. If you combine this concept with elements from Dark Souls, a dystopian cyberpunk future vision, and a cool cyborg ninja, you get one of the biggest gaming surprises of this autumn.

Cyberpunk 2077 has been postponed once again, but you don't have to wait until December for a really good cyberpunk game. Ghostrunner's genre mix is finally available and has become a surprise hit as our Ghostrunner review reveals.

Quick Facts about Ghostrunner

  • Developer: One More Level
  • Publisher: 505 Games
  • Genre: Action / Jump-and-Run
  • Release: October 28, 2020
  • Players: 1

Ghostrunner: Master of Movements

Sometimes the direct approach is still the best. When you can mince opponents into pieces as a cyborg ninja with a katana in your hand, being subtle is not needed.

Cyborg ninjas are really cool and that has already been proven by Metal Gear Solid. But Ghostrunner takes it to the next level. We wake up with a blade in our hands in a dystopian cyberpunk world to escape and take revenge. For what? Well, the first-person action platformer will only tell us that in the course of the six to eight-hour campaign.

The excitingly told story is only a nice addition to Ghostrunner. Here everything revolves around perfect movements, internalizing the opponent's attack patterns and cool parkour interludes. Ghostrunner is fast, merciless and in its best moments simply are incredibly fun.

Ghostrunner Cyberpunk Action
Ghostrunner's unique gameplay mix. (Image Credit: 505 Games)

Jump Around

From a platform, we swing with the grappling hook to a steep face, run along it, dodge the enemy fire in slow motion, and at the last second and take out your target with your sword. The fact that our opponents, just like us, can be killed in one swoop reveals how fast the action in the game actually is. One carelessness or wrong move and we start again from the last checkpoint.

This can be frustrating, but Ghostrunner never gets too unfair. Even though our opponents are quick as a flash and shoot more precisely than a CoD-pro with Sniper the game still gives you opportunities to improve and succeed.

So, it's no wonder that it takes quite a while to get used to the basic gameplay and to internalize all movements. But once this point is reached, the indie game turns out to be an adrenaline rush that won't let you go. Jump, wall run, jump, shred, jump, grapple, wall run, and shred some more.

Ghostrunner Cyberpunk Action
Ghostrunner combines many game elements (Image Credit: 505 Games)

Trial, Error and a Pinch of Tetris

Ghostrunner lives by this trial and error principle. Fortunately, the checkpoints are usually fairly distributed, but you will die dozens of times before you reach the first boss. Fortunately, there are usually several ways that lead to the goal. They are alternative routes that may suit different tactics better, more jumping, more killing or more wall running. Ghostrunner does not let you save outside of the checkpoints, so you need to pass them to beat each level, no saving on the spot.

But it gets better when we meet the mysterious architect after one or two hours of play and he gives us access to the upgrade menu. Here we are allowed to distribute points in unique skills that make our progress noticeably easier.

We like this learning curve in Ghostrunner because as we get better and better during the adventure, our main character also learns new tricks. They also let us solve jump-and-run puzzles without any enemy contact.

Thanks to a respectable cyberpunk scenery and a booming electro soundtrack we like playing even after the 100th death.

Ghostrunner Cyberpunk Action
The upgrade menu (Image Credit: 505 Games)

Ghostrunner: Our Verdict

Ghostrunner is not for the faint-hearted, but this is exactly the concept the game is designed for. Here, the excitingly told, but not very innovative plot recedes into the background and lets us just have fun. The fact that the fights are almost rhythmic puzzles and the parkour sections are excellent thanks to precise controls that ensures frustration seldom arises, despite the level of difficulty.

Ghostrunner is a stylish first-person action game that skillfully rewards you for your efforts and thus always motivates you to keep playing. An exhilarating cyberpunk adventure and one of the biggest gaming surprises of this month.

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