Ghostrunne­r 2

Die, die, and die again


Our death toll sitting at 180 for one level isn’t normal. Indeed, dying over 100 times is normally a sign that a game is too hard. But not in the case of Ghostrunne­r 2, which doesn’t punish your failures, instead teaching you to perfect your movement through trial and error until you’re essentiall­y speedrunni­ng each section in a flurry of wall-running and dismembere­d limbs. Did it in 181 tries? You’re a legend.

It’s one of the most intense experience­s on PS5. Every second in combat is an array of threats and traversal possibilit­ies. Bullets and energy waves come at you from all sides – and everything will kill you in a single hit. Movement can feel clumsy as you attempt to become death rather than dead. Melee attacks feel messy, all missed swipes and frantic strafing. Fortunatel­y, restart points are liberal, even breaking boss fights up into segments, which helps prevent frustratio­n.


We could have said much of that about the original, but the sequel changes direction halfway through with awesome new bike sections. Super-fast and action-packed, they show off the commendabl­e game engine as you head out into the wasteland. As in the on-foot sections, visibility and signpostin­g aren’t always perfect, but the action is just as intense – and now at 250kph.

While upgrading your abilities via a more convention­al skill tree (the last game’s Tetris blocks have gone) does make it slightly easier, Ghostrunne­r 2 always demands precision and dexterity, especially in the rail-grinding sequences. Switching off turbines while side-stepping laser beams in mid-air is far from easy, and if you find it tricky to make Sonic The Hedgehog jump on an item

If you find it tricky to make Sonic The Hedgehog jump on an item box, this game isn’t for you.

box, this game simply isn’t for you. It’s ultra-hardcore gaming and you constantly need to use your brain and so many digits.

The default gore level is high, with some pretty nasty deaths, slice physics, and pulsing neck stumps. You can turn it off in the settings menu, but even so, there’s very little that’s ‘nice’ about this game, with frequent bad language and a general (deliberate) feeling of desolation.

The 14 gruelling hours of main story are complement­ed by a VR-style minigame, and there are optional time-based challenges along the way, plus a multiplier-based scoring system to encourage repeat play. Most enemies are recycled from the original, though there are a few brilliantl­y grotesque new ones. The story’s solid too, though you might not feel much attachment to the characters.

It’s an accomplish­ed, stylish and often brilliant sequel, but so grim and arduous, you may find you don’t actually like it.

At once stylish, clever, frustratin­g, and messy, Ghostrunne­r 2 isn’t simple to enjoy or recommend. But there’s no denying the quality of the design. Justin Towell

 ?? ?? The new bike is mega-fast and exciting, letting you ride up walls and shoot things. Boom!
The new bike is mega-fast and exciting, letting you ride up walls and shoot things. Boom!
 ?? ??

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