Ghostrunner 2 Review – Exploring Cyberpunk Parkour, One-Hit-Kill Combat Mechanics and Roguelike Action in the Sequel

The finest sequels are those that manage to recapture the essence of what made the original so exceptional, while simultaneously expanding upon those elements to create an experience that feels more extensive, more majestic, and more thrilling than its predecessor. Ghostrunner 2 brilliantly accomplishes this feat.

Ghostrunner 2 Review
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It retains the core essence of being a first-person, one-hit-kill slasher, where speed is paramount. As I previously put it in my review of the first game, you must run fast, slide fast, kill fast, and if you can’t execute these actions quickly enough, you meet your end swiftly. However, now you get to carry out these exhilarating feats while occasionally riding a stunning motorcycle and wielding an expanded array of ninja tricks that you can customize to suit your preferred playstyle.

In addition to these gameplay enhancements, Ghostrunner 2 introduces a much richer and more fully realized game world. It offers exceptional level diversity, formidable bosses, and a pulse-pounding soundtrack that intensifies the action. The result is one of the most exhilarating action games of the year.

Ghostrunner 2 – A Continuation of the Dystopian Cyberpunk Saga

Ghostrunner 2 delves deeper into the story, taking place shortly after the events of the first game, which are helpfully recapped in a video. The game places a greater emphasis on narrative, with most levels prefaced by visits to a hub where players can interact with fellow rebels. These conversations provide insights into the characters’ backstories and the post-apocalyptic, cyberpunk dystopia of Dharma City. Notable characters include Zoe, Saul, Kira, and others, some of whom are returning from the original game. While not as detailed as RPG character development, these interactions effectively immerse players in the world of Ghostrunner 2.


Changes in Ghostrunner 2: Introducing a Stamina Meter

Ghostrunner 2 Review
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Ghostrunner 2 builds upon the core gameplay of its predecessor, offering the same one-hit, one-kill mechanics for both the player and enemies, ensuring a lightning-fast and challenging experience. Players will once again navigate meticulously designed combat arenas, striving to avoid enemy fire and close the gap between them and their opponents. If a player dies, respawns are swift, and checkpoints are generously placed, mitigating any potential frustration.


However, Ghostrunner 2 introduces some notable changes, altering how players approach its challenges. The inclusion of a stamina meter plays a pivotal role in managing the player character’s newfound abilities. This stamina meter governs the capacity to block attacks and execute multiple consecutive dashes. Although blocking might appear overpowered in a game where a single hit results in death, evading enemies remains the primary survival tactic. The meter depletes quickly, and enemies frequently employ unblockable attacks. Furthermore, blocking certain attacks will still propel the player backward. Despite these limitations, the ability to block, as opposed to having to perfectly time a parry, offers a degree of flexibility, making many boss encounters more forgiving and enjoyable. This change in gameplay dynamics enhances the experience of Ghostrunner 2.

Enhanced Abilities and Skill Progression in Ghostrunner 2

Ghostrunner 2 Review
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Ghostrunner 2 brings more substantial changes in the form of enhanced abilities and skill progression. Shurikens, which make a return from the previous game, are now readily available and can be used as a ranged attack alongside your katana. Unlike the limited-time powerup in the first game, this version is meter-managed, adding a dynamic range attack to your arsenal. Using shurikens on larger enemies, like bipedal mechs, turns them into grapple points, facilitating quick and satisfying kills while maintaining mobility.

Additionally, the Ghostrunner gains new special abilities and ultimate techniques. The Shadow skill allows players to turn invisible and create a double at the activation spot, while Flux enables the emission of a continuous laser beam for a few seconds to decimate groups of foes.

The game streamlines skill progression compared to its predecessor. Players unlock a variety of upgrade chips naturally by progressing through the campaign. They can choose which chips to purchase, but in order to equip them to the motherboard, they need to find purple memory chips hidden in each level. This not only promotes exploration but also enhances the gameplay experience, offering more than just superficial collectibles, such as sword skins and glove colors.

The skill chips provide noticeable perks that can significantly impact a player’s approach to a level. Choices range from investing in shurikens for long-range combat, enhancing sword skills to gain greater rewards for perfect parries, or focusing on flow to gain powerful buffs when maintaining a combo without breaking the chain. This variety in skill progression adds depth and replay value to Ghostrunner 2.

A New Gameplay Elements in Ghostrunner 2

One of the standout aspects of the original Ghostrunner was the continual introduction of new gameplay elements in each level, ensuring that the campaign felt fresh and engaging from start to finish. This wellspring of creativity remains abundant in Ghostrunner 2. Over the 10-12 hour campaign, players are consistently exposed to innovative enemy types, new powers and abilities, diverse and visually distinct environments, both within and outside of Dharma City, and thrilling arenas that encourage creative utilization of existing powers. The result is an experience that perpetually challenges players and keeps them engrossed throughout the entire game.

(Video Credit: PlayStation)

Varied Gameplay Styles in Ghostrunner 2

The gameplay in Ghostrunner 2 can be broadly categorized into three styles: combat arenas, parkour challenges, and motorcycle segments. Each of these styles offers a wealth of variety and depth.

1. Combat Arenas: Due to the one-hit-kill mechanic, combat often resembles a puzzle where you need to carefully plan your approach. You must decide on your entry point, which enemies to target first, and how to leverage environmental hazards. Each combat encounter is a satisfying blend of strategic planning, precise execution, and dynamic improvisation.

2. Parkour Challenges: Fans of the series will recognize the parkour elements, which include wallrunning, rail grinding, grapple hooking, and pole swinging. However, it’s the intricacies between these actions that make Ghostrunner 2 stand out. You’ll need to use your shuriken to activate devices and quickly reach them, time your shadow ability to interrupt deadly beams of light, and perform complex maneuvers, such as jumping between different colored objects, in a highly challenging yet exhilarating manner.

3. Motorcycle Segments: The motorcycle sequences in Ghostrunner 2 deliver some of the game’s coolest moments. They involve high-speed tunnel chases and, notably, serve as a vital exploration tool in the latter part of the story. You’ll find yourself speeding through claustrophobic tunnels, skillfully navigating hazards by riding on the ceiling, and even pulling off action-packed moves like launching your bike toward a group of enemies and then grappling back to it. These segments are not only thrilling but also visually stunning, and they are further enhanced by an electronic soundtrack that perfectly complements the game’s high-energy moments. Moments like these often left players in awe of the sheer coolness the game conveyed.

Rogue Runner Mode in Ghostrunner 2

Ghostrunner 2 features a thrilling side mode known as Rogue Runner. This mode takes the upgrades, enemies, and powers from the main game and combines them with randomized parkour and combat challenges, creating a captivating roguelike experience.

Ghostrunner 2 Review
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In Rogue Runner, you start each run with a basic set of moves and a limited number of lives. You can choose the type of level you want to play next, whether it’s a combat level, a parkour level, or a more challenging version of these levels that promises better rewards. The levels are procedurally generated, emphasizing the need for quick analysis and understanding of the unique challenges presented. The element of trial and error is significantly reduced in this mode, as you only have a limited number of lives to complete it.

Completing a level in Rogue Runner can earn you additional lives or allow you to choose one of three upgrade chips. While most of these upgrades can also be found in the main game, some are exclusive to this mode. In essence, Rogue Runner is an expanded version of the wave mode introduced as DLC in the first game. It provides a compelling extra mode that players can enjoy even after completing the main campaign.

The Verdict

Ghostrunner 2 emerges as a dynamic sequel, amplifying everything that made its predecessor exceptional and propelling it to new heights. The game’s lightning-fast combat, which hinges on precision, agility, and one-hit kills, maintains its adrenaline-inducing excitement. This time, it’s infused with a plethora of new moves and abilities, expanding your arsenal of options to confront each scenario.

The parkour mechanics, a cornerstone of the Ghostrunner experience, retain their signature smoothness. Furthermore, the introduction of motorcycle sequences introduces thrilling moments, ranking among the most exhilarating experiences of the year. If you found the intense reflex-driven gameplay of the first Ghostrunner to your liking, this sequel is bound to exceed your expectations. However, if the original didn’t resonate with you, these enhancements may not sway your opinion. Nonetheless, for fans of the first game, Ghostrunner 2 stands as an exemplary sequel.


Q1: What is Ghostrunner 2, and how does it compare to the original game?

A1: Ghostrunner 2 is a sequel that successfully retains the core essence of the original game while expanding upon it. It maintains the one-hit-kill mechanic, emphasizing speed and precision. However, it introduces new features, a richer game world, and various gameplay enhancements, making it a more extensive and thrilling experience than its predecessor.

Q2: What are the key narrative elements in Ghostrunner 2, and how does it build on the story of the original game?

A2: Ghostrunner 2 continues the story after the events of the first game. It places a greater emphasis on narrative, introducing a hub where players can interact with fellow rebels and learn about characters’ backstories. While not as detailed as RPG character development, these interactions immerse players in the cyberpunk dystopia of Dharma City and offer a deeper narrative experience.

Q3: What notable changes have been made to the gameplay in Ghostrunner 2?

A3: Ghostrunner 2 introduces a stamina meter, which governs the capacity to block attacks and execute consecutive dashes. This change enhances boss encounters and adds flexibility to the gameplay. The game also offers enhanced abilities, skill progression, and streamlined skill chips that provide noticeable perks, offering depth and replay value.

Q4: What new elements contribute to the fresh experience in Ghostrunner 2?

A4: Ghostrunner 2 continues the tradition of introducing new gameplay elements in each level. It maintains a wealth of creativity by offering innovative enemy types, new powers and abilities, visually distinct environments, and thrilling arenas that encourage creative use of abilities, ensuring a continually engaging experience.

Q5: What are the different gameplay styles in Ghostrunner 2, and how do they add variety to the experience?

A5: Ghostrunner 2 offers three distinct gameplay styles: combat arenas, parkour challenges, and motorcycle segments. Each style provides variety and depth. Combat arenas require strategic planning and precise execution, parkour challenges involve intricate maneuvers and interactions with various abilities, and motorcycle segments deliver thrilling, visually stunning experiences.

Q6: What is Rogue Runner Mode, and how does it enhance the gameplay in Ghostrunner 2?

A6: Ghostrunner 2 features Rogue Runner Mode, a thrilling side mode that combines the upgrades, enemies, and powers from the main game with randomized parkour and combat challenges, creating a roguelike experience. This mode adds replayability, with procedurally generated levels, limited lives, and a variety of upgrade chips.

Q7: What is the verdict and who is Ghostrunner 2 recommended for?

A7: Ghostrunner 2 is highly praised as a dynamic sequel that amplifies what made the original game exceptional. It’s recommended for fans of the first game and anyone who enjoys lightning-fast combat that demands precision, agility, and one-hit kills. The game offers a thrilling experience with its enhancements in gameplay, new abilities, and innovative content. However, if the original game didn’t resonate with you, these enhancements may not significantly change your opinion.

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