So i made a video and i thought I'd get a critique on the script.
So if anyone wants to rip into the quality of writing or talk about their own experience with ghostrunner that'd be cool.
And if you wanna see the video with edits and shit:
Now, I’ve never really been good at any games, when games are well designed, they’re fun to play, in some cases that doesn’t mean fun to beat and that’s okay. However the only game that I’ve ever even gotten passably good at is mirror’s edge. It’s the type of game that I could just binge over and over again, idk something about how small and quick it was and the fact it takes enough work to not be boring. made it feel relaxing and comforting to play. However while being short and relatively painless works for a cheap game that a trash casual gamer plays it’s also probably one of the reasons that the game never really reached mainstream popularity at it’s release, it was short, the combat was kind of wack and the game wasn’t really hard enough to push it’s own systems of movement to the limit the way it should’ve, players were never forced to adapt. Also the game was published by hellspawn reptilian people . That’s where ghostrunner comes in.
Ghostrunner is a cyberpunk parkour game developed for the most part by polish game studio one more level. It’s halfway between indie and triple A and is somewhat of an industry darling considering that both critics and players loved it, but what makes it good?
Similarly to mirror’s edge the gameplay’s main emphasis is on speed. However unlike mirror’s edge the employs a one hit kill system for both the enemies and you, since you as the player can for the majority of the game only use melee weapons, the enemies in the game have the advantage at range. This combined with the sheer number of death drops in the level design puts a really interesting dynamic on combat, you’re forced to advance on your enemy as fast as possible without getting hit. To be more clear if you stop moving, you don’t watch for incoming projectiles or you misjudge a jump you die. The game forces you to memorize your surroundings, your obstacles and your enemies while simultaneously trying to adapt to the new scenarios. It’s a style of game that can only work with great level design and a versatile movement system, thankfully ghostrunner has both of those things, the wall running and grapple make it so that you can move practically anywhere in the level and the sheer number of surfaces to move on force you to think up a strategy. That’s actually one of my favourite things about parkour games like this, you have to plan, how are you going to reach the enemy, what enemies do you prioritize, this fast paced tactical style of gameplay is something that ghostrunner really nails.
It may sound like a lot but it’s important to note that the game doesn’t overwhelm you, it’s actually got a really great sense of progression, it introduces all the elements of traversal really quickly and then just only focuses on adding new enemies as the levels go on, but since there’s only one method of combat the enemies force you to reevaluate every the elements of how you move through the level as opposed to how you fight the enemies specifically. This really makes new enemies feel like they’re having a big effect by basically adding a whole new level onto your movement which is really cool considering most games just add more shades of the same hermaphroditic bullet sponge. there’s only like 8 different enemies, but because of the large effect of even one new enemy their arrival feels like a proper event. My personal favorite enemy is probably the wardens, it’s just a really great neo-samurai design, it’s also the fact that you have to keep track of and parry their attacks to kill them, it’s probably the most in depth enemy excluding the bosses.
It also helps that the art direction and character designs are really great especially for an indie-ish game, 30 people designed this game, The cyberpunk visual style is also really well implemented in the levels, it’s actually a little more depth to it than just adding neon lights and calling it a day. The different areas have different aesthetics depending on their purpose in the plot. I like how dharma tower doesn’t feel like a city that survived the apocalypse, it feels like one giant machine, the base, the city and the labs all feel connected and decidedly small, they feel like cogs. Personally I feel like that’s more impressive than most other cyberpunk cities which are kindof just rip offs of the one from ghost in the shell. However there is a decidedly Japanese influence on the visual which you can mostly see in the cybervoid which is this virtual plane you have to navigate through it’s got a far more abstract art direction which really works in contrast to rest of the city. The animation and game “feel” for lack of a better term is also very good. The free running has that fast weighty feeling where you actually feel like you’re gaining momentum. I mentioned mirror’s edge but the one hit kills are probably inspired more by superhot which seems to have heavily influenced the game with it’s bullet time. It also helps that the sound design is on point, giving the proper impact to all of your sword slashes.
That reminds me the only element of the gameplay that didn’t really work for me was the puzzles in cybervoid, it’s not that they’re bad puzzles, they’re just not particularly amazing. Puzzles in general just kind of don’t work with this game's pacing, every other moment in the game just feels super dense and quick but the puzzles feel slow and pointless.
Moving on from that is a real solid element of the game, the bosses all of which are pretty neat actually. They mostly just require patience and timing, due to the high damage hit systems you can only hit after specific buffers play out, while in some games this can turn into wait for the attack to end and then hit the bad guys weak spot 70 times in a row (remember fuckin ninja blade?), ghostrunner really makes you feel like you’ve earned it by forcing you the player to break down the bosses guard as opposed to, dodging for 3 minutes. So overall the bosses get a win from me.
That just leaves music and story. As for the music, it’s a great reminder i haven’t listened to enough synthwave in my life. The score is composed single handedly by a Russian EDM artist named Daniel Deluxe. He knocks it out of the park on basically every single track, personally I prefer the high tempo percussion heavy tracks that use harsher synth, these certainly aren’t in short supply, however Daniel also gets more light melodic and psychedelic tracks and really effectively mixing harder and softer melodies. Overall the only problem of the soundtrack is their isn’t more of it.
The story is… good idk it’s not really the main focus, it’s not bad by any means just kind of predictable, the voice acting is really the highpoint especially the ghostrunner who’s basically just the mandalorian, but hey man that works for me. The only other thing I really like is that the story never really tries to force itself upon you.
And that sums up Ghostrunner, amazing combat, movement and graphics, phenomenal Music and a good story to tie it all together. The music and graphics create a vibrant setting that really puts you in the world and it manages to keep you engaged with great gameplay.
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