There’s a certain cyberpunk game coming out soon, and no I’m not talking about that one. Ghostrunner is coming out in exactly 4 weeks time on October 27th, and we got the chance to play an early Steam demo build, and it was a lot of fun.
If you haven’t heard of Ghostrunner, then here’s the pitch: it’s a first-person cyberpunk parkour action game which feels very reminiscent of Mirror’s Edge parkour mechanics whilst splashing in a bit of that Hotline Miami puzzle-action gameplay. It’s fast-paced and slick, where one bullet can kill you at any moment.
It’s an enticing premise, and plays exactly how you’d want it to. Each new area you come to will present you with a small challenge, usually in the form of a small arena filled with a couple bad guys that you must kill without dying. You will die quite a few times as you get to grips with each new control, ability, or enemy type in each puzzle. Thankfully, restarting takes the press of a button and instantly takes you back to the most recent checkpoint.
The parkour mechanics feel great, with just the right feeling of momentum. When I say it plays a lot like Mirror’s Edge it's almost uncanny, and honestly that’s a really good thing. The only difference I would say is that you move a lot faster in Ghostrunner by comparison, probably maybe twice as fast, which gives a great feeling of speed and makes near-perfect runs feel ridiculously satisfying.
Of course, the puzzle-action gameplay is just half of the story, as there’s also platforming mechanics and platforming-specific puzzles to deal with. One entire section of the demo was completely focused on the platforming bit, which was a lot of fun, but if this happens multiple times in the game I wish there would be an “unequip katana” button, as having the long weapon take up a bit of the screen when jumping around is a bit distracting. But that’s certainly a very small nitpick.
In terms of the actual story? Well, it’s not exactly the most compelling plot to say the least; you wake up in the bottom of Dharma Tower, a sprawling megacity, but you’re being hunted and there’s nothing to do but move. It works under the context of the gameplay, but ultimately is not super interesting. Luckily that doesn;t really matter as the gameplay really propels you forward more than the story does.
It’s got your typical Cyberpunk themes like a dystopian metropolis, synthwave music, and techno jargon all wrapped in one, and each does a pretty good job of conveying the proper atmosphere. So if you’re looking for your Cyberpunk fix this Fall, Ghostrunner looks like it will provide some great entertainment.
I initially tried to play on a controller as I like to lay back when playing some games, and I have to say that it took a lot of getting used to and by the end of the 30 minute demo I was still struggling to cope with the control scheme. Restarting for another run I switched to the Keyboard and Mouse controls, which Ghostrunner is perfectly suited for and played much better. Just thought I’d mention that for anyone who likes playing with a gamepad.
As for performance though, Ghostrunner is pretty demanding and will take a pretty beefy setup in order to play at its best settings, even with ray tracing turned off. Luckily you won't need a supercomputer in order to run it at the minimum specs it seems, but will definitely require some decent hardware at higher graphics settings.
Overall, Ghostrunner looks and feels great, with some really awesome parkour mechanics and gripping action-puzzles. The story doesn’t exactly succeed to inspire the player, but luckily the gameplay motivates you more than the narrative. In the end I just wanted more, because when a game feels this great, I just want to waste hours of my day perfecting my runs and speedrunning levels to the top of the leaderboards.
Ghostrunner is launching on October 27th this year on PC via Steam, Epic Games Store, and GOG, as well as consoles like PlayStation 4 and Xbox One for $29.99 (€29.99 / £24.99). The game is currently discounted at 20% off for all PC customers, and you can pre-order now for 2 exclusive Katana skins; one of which is based on which platform you purchase from.
What do you think? Are you excited for Ghostrunner? Have you already tried the demo? Let us know!