I played Ghostrunner 2 and totally sucked at the running part

Ghostrunner 2
(Image credit: 505 Games)

I've never been the most coordinated person, but in Ghostrunner 2 I'm a one-woman calamity. Playing on the Gamescom 2023 show floor was my first experience with developer One More Level's fast-paced action series, and, suffice to say, getting the hang of one-hit insta-kills, wall-running, and grappling hook traversal took me a bit longer to get used to than I care to admit.

The good news is that the game is brilliant. I was sliding down steep metal tubes and throwing shuriken stars at flammable barrels, parrying bullets, and slicing my way through Ghostrunner 2's samurais with glee before long. My true downfall is, well, the amount of times I fall. Right off the edge of most buildings, in fact.

Falling for it

Ghostrunner 2

(Image credit: 505 Games)
Gamescom 2023


(Image credit: Gamescom)

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As I respawn once again following another haphazard plummet to my death, I turn to the dev sitting next to me. "I'm so sorry," I wail plaintively, keeping one eye on the screen as I head back out to meet my match: wall-running on billboards.

"It's okay, it is a hard game," he responds all too kindly, wincing as I yet again double-jump my way into a sheer drop with nothing to say for my actions except a few swear words. For a fan of the first game, Ghostrunner 2's controls should be a step up, with One More Level having streamlined them for its sequel. For me, however, simply traversing this sprawling industrial maze as dark synthwave beats guide me is a task in itself.

I hoot whenever I meet a new enemy, relishing the chance to perfect my parries and blocks. Timing is everything in Ghostrunner 2, as is the razor-fine joy and peril of a one-hit kill. Similar to the likes of Gungrave Gore, I've never played an action game before that feels so relentlessly keen to never, ever let up. My fast-twich responses are in overdrive as I try to perfect a balance between staying focussed and staying on the move. I've barely grappled and hopped my way around another steel tower before I have eight pistol-wielding baddies to slice and dice in quick succession. Other devs peer at my screen as I curse the heavens above and the pistol guys below them. They all, once again, nod sympathetically.

One of my favorite things to do in Ghostrunner 2, aside from being really bad at platforming, is finding new ways to the same target. During my short preview session alone I'm given three instances where I can take out certain targets in any order I like. Should I grapple over this fence, immediately striking down one of those dreaded pistol guys with a well-timed dash? Or should I keep trying to slide down vents and blow things up with my throwing stars?

As you might have guessed, I go on to die a lot during my Ghostrunner 2 demo session. That's not necessarily a bad thing, I come to realise, since death and respawning happens so quickly and fluidly that sometimes I don't realise it's happened at all. That's the beauty of Ghostrunner's frenetic gameplay: it doesn't let you dwell on death long enough to feel bad about it. If anything, I became all too comfortable with dying in the game because I knew I could come back with a smarter approach.

Ghostrunner 2 gives you plenty of ways to hone your skill, but it's great at introducing you to new ones. Platforming elements and wall-running aside, it turns out  I can play jump rope with a reverberating lightning strike any day. I'm also not half bad at blocking bullets with a perfect parry. "You're not so good at the moving, but very good at the killing," commented my captive dev buddy, and you know what? I'll take it.

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Jasmine Gould-Wilson
Staff Writer, GamesRadar+

Jasmine is a staff writer at GamesRadar+. Raised in Hong Kong and having graduated with an English Literature degree from Queen Mary, University of London in 2017, her passion for entertainment writing has taken her from reviewing underground concerts to blogging about the intersection between horror movies and browser games. Having made the career jump from TV broadcast operations to video games journalism during the pandemic, she cut her teeth as a freelance writer with TheGamer, Gamezo, and Tech Radar Gaming before accepting a full-time role here at GamesRadar. Whether Jasmine is researching the latest in gaming litigation for a news piece, writing how-to guides for The Sims 4, or extolling the necessity of a Resident Evil: CODE Veronica remake, you'll probably find her listening to metalcore at the same time.