In The Game Presents Wade’s World: ‘Ghostrunner: Complete Edition’ Review

If you are anything like me then that means you have really bad eyesight and love playing punishing video games. Ghostrunner: Complete Edition is more than just punishing. It’s like begging your parents to ground you, and then once you’re grounded you decide to do some really bad stuff to extend your grounding. If you’ve played and enjoyed Superhot or the Hotline Miami franchise, you’ve probably got a sadistic taste in what you find entertaining. I am someone who’s finished all the Dark Souls games multiple times. I find myself craving blood pumping and adrenaline rushing experiences. So when I was given the review code for Ghostrunner: Complete Edition my body tingled with excitement. I was about to get my ass kicked yet again. My ass is now sufficiently kicked. Ghostrunner: Complete Edition is relentless… and a relentlessly good time.

Have you ever wanted to play a neo-tokyo/cyber punk/everything is robots version of Mirror’s Edge? That’s sort of what we’ve got going on here. Ghostrunner is a first person parkour game set in a STUNNING futuristic mechanical once utopia. You have the ability to jump, slide, wallrun, dash in the air, tether to things using your grappling hook, and many others that I won’t go into for spoiler’s sake. Everything feels so satisfying and carefully designed. When you die, and that’s a when not if, it will 99% of the time be your own fault. You see, you have a single digit of health in this game. One hit and you’re dead. The same however, goes for the enemies. A lot of the enemies are pretty statuesque though. If they move around, they tend to stick in one little zone. That’s early on in the game though. Things get much more varied and interesting as you go. How do you kill your foes? Well it’s a neo-tokyo inspired cyberpunk styled game. What else would you kill them with other than your trusty KATANA. Swinging the blade and landing blows feels super weighty and wonderful. One of my favourite extra touches the game provides is the haptic feedback on my PS5 controller. Each swing makes an instant and very responsive rumble in my hands, and reflecting bullets and holding the L2 button down tickles my brain more than I’d like to admit. The gameplay of Ghostrunner: Complete Edition is overall extremely solid and very enjoyable.

Another major standout is the soundtrack and voice acting. The sound team really went fucking crazy on this one. The soundtrack perfectly encapsulates what this world should/would sound like if it actually existed. Chugging synth beats and pounding percussions create this atmosphere where only a badass cyborg parkour ninja could exist. It sounds like something maybe Carpenter Brut would make (if you are unfamiliar with Carpenter Brut GET FAMILIAR WITH HIM.) The voice acting is also quite strong, at least what I heard of it. I was often way too busy restarting after death or concentrating on killing this one fucking guy to end the level for me to even pay attention to what the plot is. If you die mid sentence and restart, it’ll keep playing the same sentence over and over again. I found that to be a little annoying, but what I mostly found annoying was that I just kept dying because I wasn’t “getting gud.”

Packed in with the Ghostrunner: Complete Edition is the mini campaign titled Ghostrunner: Project HEL. In this expansion, you play as HEL. Who is HEL? Play the main campaign to find out. But to answer your question in a different way, she’s a katana wielding, parkour running cyberpunk ninja cyborg, obviously. Project HEL is still very much Ghostrunner at its core, but there are some differences in there that make it feel singular and its own thing. For starters, HEL has the most satisfying jump in a first person game. I’ll die on that hill. It reminds me of the jumping from one of my all time favourite games; The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction. In that game you could dive off buildings, run around at crazy speeds and even surf on destroyed cars. But why would you when you can just jump all over the place. That is the same joy I got the moment I pressed R1 to jump. (Yes R1 is the jump button, it’s weird, get over it)

On top of HEL’s already terrific jump, she has a secondary jump that allows her to reach even higher and farther places. It can be aimed mid air and allows for players to close in on opponents who might be across the map. It also allows for you to be more precise on where exactly you are going to land. HEL also has a rage meter. As it builds, you gain the ability to fire wide laser blasts and you can even get a shield to block a hit. There are some other uses for it, but you’ll just have to play to find out. She can fuel this meter by getting kills or picking up power ups generously glowing bright for you so you don’t miss them. Project HEL focuses a lot more on the combat, so this checks out and adds to the overall ebb and flow of the experience. Playing the base game after playing Project HEL made me instantly want to be able to play as HEL in the other levels. The way she controls is far more interesting to me, which is why I was bummed out that Project HEL only took me about two and a half hours to finish.

Ghostrunner: Complete Edition is such a terrific game. Ghostrunner is the epitome of trial and error. You have a better chance of not popping a single balloon while running through a balloon factory in a suit made of knives than you do at beating a section of this game on the first try. Getting to the end of a section that drove me nuts for 20 minutes and released a blast of dopamine into my body that I didn’t know I could feel. It’s like tasting sweet, sweet ambrosia. If you like punishing games and don’t mind being tossed around like a ragdoll, then you have to play this game. I don’t think I could tell somebody who isn’t into games like this that it’ll change their mind. But if you ever feel like dipping your toes into the pool of sadism, you absolutely must try Ghostrunner: Complete Edition. You will die over and over and over again.

Once that credits screen rolls…it’ll all have been worth it.

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