Cyberpunk is on the rise at the end of the year . Everyone has their eyes on Cyberpunk 2077 , but it is Ghostrunner who should allow us to dive a little ahead in this atmosphere. A particularly successful atmosphere.
goes with Mirrors Edge…
Daniel Deluxe’s music immediately immerses you in this atmosphere . We think of Tron , Daft Punk, Blade Runner, in short, all these references that have so marked our career as fans of SF and other works of anticipation. It’s rhythmic and, throughout the action, it carries the player who will catch himself swinging on the bass. It’s synergistic with a title that requires constant motivation.
The ears are satisfied and so are the eyes. The studios working on the game (One More Level, Slipgate Inronworks and 3D Realms) have perfectly known how to use Unreal Engine 4, happy card owners who “raytrace” will be able to take full advantage of it. Even without, we also immediately think about Tron . The atmosphere is – necessarily – Cyberpunk, dark, with a play of lighting that emphasizes the edges of a very vertical architecture .
Vertical, because Ghostrunner’s scenario puts you in the shoes of a character who is still looking for himself in the midst of opposing forces. You must progress through the Dharma Tower, an edifice that contains the last survivors of humanity and pits AI, machines and hybrids against each other. As you progress to the top of the superstructure, you come closer and closer to the truth. But the ascent is far from easy.
Like any self-respecting hero these days, your avatar possesses extraordinary athletic abilities . In particular, it can use the walls as support and it is the movements of Titanfall and Mirror’s Edge that have clearly come to inspire the developers . Added to this are dash moves, time slowing, and lightning / special attacks of various kinds. It is for example possible to line up several opponents to literally pierce them. Both them and any bullets intended for you. Jump, slide, lean, sprint and jump again, you don’t touch the ground anymore. Especially since you are not using a vulgar gun, but a sword, like a samurai from the future. It is therefore in sushi that the dishonest who stand in your way end up.
The architecture of the levels gradually evolves in complexity and offers different ways of approaching each problem. There is very rarely a single path to achieve its ends and the movement system offers to be more or less frontal in solving problems . These are mostly posed by opponents who can eliminate you with a single shot and are quickly provided with shields activated by generators. So you have in front of you an equation which consists in planning a path to eliminate the source of the shields, then the characters themselves. Whenever you think you are comfortable, there comes a new type of enemy that behaves differently. The equation gets complicated and becomes more interesting .
Armed with pistols, machine guns or attacking melee, they force you to stay in constant motion so as not to die. Movement is life, but you won’t be able to finish Ghostrunner without dying dozens of times . Pleasure is earned.
Blade Runner atmosphere , trip to the Mirror’s Edge and death like Super Meat Boy . It won’t be uncommon to die dozens of times before successfully completing a level. For each misstep, the sanction is immediate . Whether with a single shot or by missing a platform. In this breathtaking progression, there are a few narrative phases where voiceover discussions add depth to the storyline (English subtitled) while you operate various levers, to bring the platforms to the right places. The puzzles are not too complicated and they serve as breathing space between two phases of combat .
Lots of deaths, then, and reappearances just as quick as your deaths . This is what keeps you from being frustrated in your efforts. We miss, we start again, we miss again, we go back, we look for another way out …
This mode of operation places Ghostrunner in the shackles of a tightly closed model; a level, X opponents to eliminate, an address / scenario / movement phase and we move on to the next area. This very artificial division tends to set back the scenario in favor of a more controlled gameplay . The advantage of doing this is that the game will last a long time, because you will want to come back to it , to give it a try in a single life or to improve your times. There is a very strong potential for replayability and superplay in the air .
Class at the end of the road
Equipping the hero with a saber rather than a gun adds to the classroom what he loses in effectiveness. It is quickly enjoyable and exhilarating to leap in all directions and to chain the cuttings in order of the villains opposite. On the first run, it’s just a matter of passing a level. To move forward and discover. Then, like a kata, you want to repeat the action so that it becomes perfect. Ghostrunner is part of the fairly closed club of games that are capable of getting you into “The Zone” . It is also quite frustrating not to be able to take advantage of a “replay” function to review a successful action sequence and enjoy the show. This is one of the few regrets that can be expressed for him.
Once the controls have been mastered, the distances appreciated, the pleasure of playing is increased tenfold. The satisfaction is inversely proportional to the frustration of your first steps . You have to persevere and explore more and more. In doing so, you will be able to find new items (artifacts, audio recordings and swords) and unlock new possibilities. There are no time limits; which leaves plenty of room for in-depth excavations of the levels. This is an opportunity to appreciate a level design which is generally very satisfactory , but which has nevertheless suffered from some deficiencies. For example in terms of crash tests and the sometimes aberrant positions in which we can find ourselves.
Ghostrunner did not benefit from a thunderous advertising campaign, the hype has not been rising for years and yet he now deserves our full attention because he puts gameplay at the center of his experience. To be conquered without danger, one triumphs without glory, but with Ghostrunner , glory is at the end of the road.