[Beyond PlayStation] Ghostrunner Review
Be a ninja in the first person like you have never played before! Check out our review of GhostRunner on Nintendo Switch!
Welcome to the future. It’s gonna kill you.
Ghostrunner is a hardcore FPP slasher packed with lightning-fast action, set in a grim, cyberpunk megastructure. Climb Dharma Tower, humanity’s last shelter, after a world-ending cataclysm. Make your way up from the bottom to the top, confront the tyrannical Keymaster, and take your revenge.
The streets of this tower city are full of violence. Mara the Keymaster rules with an iron fist and little regard for human life.
As resources diminish, the strong prey on the weak and chaos threatens to consume what little order remains. The decisive last stand is coming. A final attempt to set things right before mankind goes over the edge of extinction.
As the most advanced blade fighter ever created, you’re always outnumbered but never outclassed. Slice your enemies with a monomolecular katana, dodge bullets with your superhuman reflexes, and employ a variety of specialized techniques to
One-hit one-kill mechanics make combat fast and intense. Use your superior mobility (and frequent checkpoints!) to engage in a never-ending dance with death fearlessly.
Ghostrunner offers a unique single-player experience: fast-paced, violent combat, and an original setting that blends science fiction with post-apocalyptic themes. It tells the story of a world that has already ended and its inhabitants who fight to survive.
I had heard good things about Ghostrunner, so I was thrilled when I got my review code for the Nintendo Switch version. I love Ninja games, with The Messenger and Katana Zero being some of my favorites over the past few years. Obviously, Ghostrunner goes in a different direction since it’s not a 2D side scroller but a first-person action game, taking the best parts of Katana Zero and fusing them with Mirrors Edge.
You play as a cybernetic ninja who has been left for dead, broken and destroyed… or so it seems! You’ll be taking on an extended tutorial of sorts during the first chapter of the game as you work towards breaking a friend out of their cell. You’ll be trained on the basic abilities of your cyberpunk ninja, moving around each location by running on walls, dashing on the floor, wall jumping, dodging bullets as you aim to land the killing blow. Since a single hit can kill your opponents – and a single hit can end your life – there’s going to be a lot of trial and error during your time with Ghostrunner as you try to find the best course of action for each particular scenario,
I thought this was cool, but what really made the experience special was when I found out you can slow down time, allowing you to dodge bullets as they go around you and even slice them your swords if you time things right. And trust me, you’ll want to do this to avoid the instadeath scenario I’ve mentioned. At least when you die, you’re quickly taken to the last checkpoint you reached so that you can give it another go right away!
I often found that getting through each area seemed to work like a puzzle of sorts that could be tackled in many ways, and I had to figure out the best way to get through each scenario with my ninja skills. Do I slide down a tube and take on a gunman head on to them jump to the other side to slice another enemy? Or do I wall run across a sign to get to the other guard first and take down the second one with a jump slash?
And then there’s the gear system, with Tetramino-like blocks representing your equipment that you need to fit on a grid. All of the gear have passive buffs that will slightly introduce changes to your skills, which can aid you in completing some of the trickier sections. You’ll unlock more gears as you progress through the game, and you’ll have to see how they can fit into the available space on your grid, as well as how you can benefit the most from it.
The game is not a short one, and your total time playing Ghostrunner will probably be extended considering the high difficulty for this game. A casual stroll this is not, what with the very aggressive AI for enemies, as well as the one-hit deaths you’ll have to try and avoid. While I did struggle early on during my time with Ghostrunner, there was a moment when everything just clicked as I managed to learn from my mistakes. If you put in the time, you’ll get there.
While playing the game for this Ghostrunner review on Nintendo Switch, I did play it in both Handheld and Docked Mode. When in handheld, while the console gets the job done, I didn’t like how the Joy-Con analog sticks worked for this twitch-heavy action experience, so I decided to play in Docked Mode with the help of my Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. Everything felt better thanks to the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller and the action being on the big screen, but you can certainly play it on the go if you want to.
I guess my other big take away was that it wasn’t as crisp and had a good a framerate as I’m used to now. Since I’ve been using my PS5 a lot, I’m finding that most Nintendo Switch games that focus on more realistic graphics art style are struggling on the system. But then again, the Nintendo Switch does have the added benefit of allowing you to play all of its games at home or on the go, thanks to the console’s hybrid nature, so do take that into consideration.
Ghostrunner is a really unique fusion of genres with the parkour from Mirrors Edge and the fast-paced combat of an action game, wrapped with a bow of one-hit-kills. Every time I approached a new situation, I tried to take what I thought the best route. When that didn’t work, I’d regroup and give it another go. GhostRunner does have some framerate hits on the Nintendo Switch, but this is to be expected given the game’s nature.
This Ghostrunner review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by 505 Games.