Ghostrunner isn’t the cyberpunk experience everyone’s talking about, but maybe they should be talking about this punishingly difficult action game.
Gamers, rejoice! Finally, the general public has been blessed by the cyberpunk-themed game we’ve all been anxiously waiting for. No, not Cyberpunk 2077 — Ghostrunner, a high-octane, adrenaline-soaked hack-and-slash set in a dystopian future where cyber enhancements are as plentiful as random murder.
Players take control of Jack, a reawakened Ghostrunner, as they piece together lost memories and eliminate those who put them out of commission in the first place. A Ghostrunner is essentially a cyborg ninja that can run off walls, deflect projectiles, teleport and deftly cut through thugs with one sword swing. Even with all these supernatural abilities, this game is hard, and it only gets more challenging the further players progress. These tips should help any new Ghostrunner players survive the game, though.
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Get used to Dying
It doesn’t matter how pro of a gamer you think you are; you’re going to die in this game. Ghostrunner doesn’t have a traditional life bar or any form of regenerating health, so if you get hit even once, you’re dead. Additionally, several platforming sections in the game require precise timing — one jump too early or too late, and you’re hurtling thousands of feet towards the pavement below. Death is a fact of life in Ghostrunner, and you’re better off accepting it early.
Survey Your Surroundings
One of the main selling points of Ghostrunner is the speed of the game. Players are always encouraged to be moving, whether it be sliding down ramps, leaping off billboards, or cutting through multiple enemies at once. However, move too fast, and players will find themselves jumping into the void or running face-first into a bullet. To prevent such a fate, it doesn’t hurt to take a breather and examine the area. Which platforms are usable? How many enemies are there, and where are they? Creating a plan of movement and attack can oftentimes lead to less unnecessary and embarrassing deaths.
This may seem like a contradiction after the last tip, but it’s not. Before combat or platforming sections, players will generally have ample time to stop and think about their movements. However, when players are in the midst of fighting or running, it is advisable not to stand still for too long. Certain platforming areas require a substantial amount of momentum to pass through, and slowing down even a little means death. In combat, enemies will always be shooting at the player, so standing still is basically a death sentence.
When players first start the game, the only offensive ability they have is their sword. To stop hostile forces, players are forced to get in close, which can be incredibly dangerous, especially when multiple enemies take potshots at the player. Thankfully, Jack the Ghostrunner does have one long-range option: if players swing their blade right as a projectile is about to hit them, the Ghostrunner will deflect the projectile (just like Genji).
Early on, deflection will merely negate the damage but not send the projectile back. After the second level, players will gain access to an upgrade which grants them the ability to send projectiles back at foes, allowing the player to pick off foes from afar. Deflecting is difficult at first, as it requires proper timing, and players must aim the projectile back towards the enemy, but it’s one of the few defensive options the player has and is an important skill to practice.
Sensory Boost Saves Lives
For those who don’t want to deflect, “Sensory Boost” is the next best thing. Sensory Boost is used in bursts to dash, but the Ghostrunner causes reality to slow down by keeping it engaged. This gives players a brief chance to decide their next move, an invaluable ability that can allow players to dodge a lethal shot and deliver a killing blow. Additionally, Sensory Boost can be used an unlimited amount of times, encouraging players to use it as much as they want. Sensory Boost does have a weakness, though, as players can still be killed even while in Sensory Boost. If multiple enemies are firing upon the player, even Sensory Boost won’t help them dodge all the bullets.
Try, Try Again
The learning curve becomes staggeringly steep as the game progresses. In addition to new platforming elements, the game will introduce new enemy types and defensive gimmicks to stall the player’s journey. It’s not uncommon for a player to have to dodge a leaping enemy while wall-running and simultaneously deflecting an enemy projectile just to destroy a shield generator. All these elements together can create an extremely frustrating experience as players find themselves dying over and over again.
While dying is part of the experience, failing over and over again isn’t exactly fun either. If you find yourself stuck at a certain part, consider trying different routes or re-wiring upgrades to suit a different playstyle. Another option is to step away from the game and try again later with a fresh (and calmer) mindset. Keep going at it, and you’ll eventually succeed!
Check Behind Boxes
While this isn’t exactly going to help with combat, it will help you find cool stuff. Each level has several collectibles, ranging from miscellaneous items that reveal background story or gnarly new swords for you to swing. These hidden gems are marked by a golden question mark icon on the map. Lore junkies can equip the “collectible” upgrade, which marks hidden items on the map. There are a plethora of things to find, so keep looking!
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