The first Ghostrunner was a perfect example of no-frills excellence: a lean cyberpunk parkour-based platformer in which you and your enemies both died in one hit. The controls were tight, the story was basically nonexistent, and the environmental design was sparse and utilitarian. Every part of the game felt like it was built around Ghostrunner’s stellar kineticism. Levels were finely tuned so that each encounter pushed the game’s difficulty exactly one step further than the last, always providing a new challenge without ever feeling out of reach. With Ghostrunner 2, developer One More Level tries to build on the bare-bones approach of the original, but every addition feels like it gets in the way of the simple wall-running, jumping, dashing, and killing that made the original great.
Ghostrunner 2 takes place shortly after the events of the first game and puts players back in Dharma Tower, a futuristic spire that stands as the lone beacon of civilization in an otherwise apocalyptic wasteland. Players control Jack, one of the few remaining Ghostrunners (basically the tower’s now-defunct team of supercops), as he works with a small band of people hoping to keep the tower out of the hands of religious fanatics.
The story is meted out through near-constant in-game dialogue that mostly amounts to exposition punctuated by bland, unfunny jokes as Jack runs around different parts of the tower killing enemies. When he isn’t in the middle of a mission, Jack heads back to a home base that feels pulled directly from a big-budget RPG — each of the game’s NPCs has a small workspace area where players can chat with them via dialogue trees, asking questions about the world and their thinly sketched backstories (which usually amount toRead more on polygon.com