Ghostrunner 2 is keeping everything the original did well & cranking it to eleven

We recently had a chance to check out some early levels in Ghostrunner 2, and it felt like a lot more of what we loved about the original fast-paced slash-and-dash.

Image via 505 Games
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I think of all the things I got to see at PAX South before it died off, one of the best times I ever had was sitting down at the (then) 3D Realms booth to try One More Level’s Ghostrunner. The game would go on to be one of the most incredibly sleek and fast-paced hack-and-slash action-adventures I’ve ever seen - something that would make Mirror’s Edge developers blush. I’m happy to see One More Level continuing the fun with Ghostrunner 2, though I wondered if they’d substantially change it. They have not. I got to try a taste of the game and, if anything, they’re making Ghostrunner 2 more of what we loved about the original, and then some.

New enemies, same murderous cyberninja

My preview session with Ghostrunner wasted no time throwing me into the action. Technology-augmented super ninja Jack is back, complete with his sword, shuriken, and all of his other tricks. The preview had me infiltrating a rough part of the Dharma Tower (the location that humanity has flocked to in the future) in search of some old tech a gang left sealed up in a warehouse. Quickly, I was put to work on dispatching foolish goons on my way to said tech.

Much like its predecessor, Ghostrunner 2 controls like a dream. You move fast, can jump on walls to wallrun, can slide to get under obstacles, and can stop time and blink in a short direction in midair to dodge enemy attacks. Your sword is still your main tool of offense, letting you cut enemies in twin or dash up to them for a rushing slash when you have slow-motion going. Ghostrunner 2 also provides limited-use tools like shuriken to dispatch an enemy from range or tether toward them.

Ghostrunner 2 Dharma Tower
Source: 505 Games

I really like how late-game tools of the first game become a quick part of your arsenal here. One of my favorites was the Tempest ability that allowed me to move objects to open paths in the environment or blast enemies away when they got too spicy. Enemies try to adapt based on the kind of offense you throw at them, so varying up your basic actions with these limited tools turned Jack into a familiar blender of swords, slides, slow-motion, and slaying once I got the full swing of things.

Eventually I found my way to the aforementioned tech, which turned out to be a motorcycle, and that’s where Ghostrunner 2 kicked it up to a level even I was not prepared for. Suddenly, I was riding high-speed through tunnels, vent systems, and cutting door controls to make sure I had a path to go. Throughout the track were ramps to get over long gaps, as well as opportunities to ride on walls. The whole thing was exhilarating to a level I didn’t expect, and I ended up busting out of Dharma Tower and riding down the side of the massive skyscraper on said bike to safety in a gorgeous and pulse-pounding set piece. The whole thing left me shaky the same way Ghostrunner first did when I tried it so many years ago.

Elegance, precision, and power… squared

Ghostrunner 2 motorbike
Source: 505 Games

My time with Ghostrunner 2 was short, but sweet. The game brought me right back to what I loved about the original when I first tried it, got me settled back into the ropes, and then wasted no time pushing its own boundaries to a new and exhilarating level. The motorbike segment was a phenomenal peek at what kind of shenanigans we’ll get up to, but I also thoroughly enjoyed dicing unfortunate foes to ribbons with Jack’s over-the-top mobility, parkour, and precision. If this is what we can expect from the full game, Ghostrunner fans have something delightful to look forward to when the sequel launches.


This preview is based on an early PC version of the game provided by the publisher. Ghostrunner 2 comes out PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC on October 27, 2023.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at tj.denzer@shacknews.com and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

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