Ghostrunner: 6 Tips on How to Git Gud
Not the cyberpunk adventure everybody had been waiting for, Ghostrunner snuck up on gamers and captured their imagination. This slick, high-octane action game has you hack-and-slash through a dystopian future as a cybernetic ninja. Think Genji from Overwatch and put him in the Blade Runner universe.
You control Jack, the amnesiac titular Ghostrunner, who has been thrusted into a power struggle between rulers of a fractured world and the resistance. As Jack, you will be dodging and deflecting bullets, wall-running and grapple-hooking, sliding and leaping, slowing time and katana-dashing — all while your fingers endlessly dance on the keyboard or a controller of your choice. If we’ve caught your attention with that interesting summary, then great! Make sure to get your PSN Gift Cards to purchase the game now!
Ghostrunner is also an unforgiving platformer, and you often fall to a harrowing death, if the numerous enemies don’t get to you first. Thankfully, the almost non-existent ‘loading screen’ will have you back on your feet in almost no time. And better yet, with the help of our guide full of tips and tricks, you will not just survive, but thrive!
Know When to Quit
Let’s get the fundamentals out of the way first. Ghostrunner is a tough game. And even tougher when you lose your progress.
The game resets your mid-level progression when you quit to the desktop. In other words, leaving after a checkpoint, without completing the level, means you’d have to replay the whole map from the beginning the next time you boot the game up. So make sure you’re ending your gaming sessions upon completion of a level. And if you’re having trouble with that, read on.
Stay on the Move
Ghostrunner is a fast-paced game and is meant to be played as such. The game encourages you to stay in motion with a couple of mechanics.
Firstly, don’t stand around if you don’t want to die. Enemies are always shooting at the player, and a still Ghostrunner is a sitting duck. Goons without guns are not harmless either. They will dive on you from afar and staying in motion can help you dodge them. Your movement will also help you unleash your attacks (and parries in case of ninja opponents) quicker.
The other reason to keep moving should be familiar to experienced gamers. Like certain famous hedgehogs and Italian plumbers, Jack the Ghostrunner operates under the laws of good ol’ momentum-based platformers. There are platforming and puzzle sections which require you to generate enough pace to clear or make a jump, and a moment of indecision can cost you dearly. You can also slide and dash to build up loads of speed. Not to forget, staying in the flow of the action — wall-running, dodging, slashing, jumping — makes you look mighty cool too.
In addition to moving around for combat and platforming, you should also adopt the habit of staying airborne. Once in the air through leaping or with the grapple ability, you can use the Sensory Boost — aka your ability to dash — to slow down time; allowing you to dodge attacks or line up yours.
Take a Moment
Yes, we know. We just asked you to keep moving. But not only is it okay to take a breather to take in the beautifully-realised cyberpunk world, rushing headfirst will only cause you to miss a jump or bite a bullet.
Before a combat encounter or a platforming section, take a moment to survey your surroundings. The number and location of enemies, the usable platforms and routes: any intel you gather will aid your run.
So if you find yourself dying repeatedly, stop, assess and strategise. Create a plan of action and play out the sequence in your head. Maybe there is a better path for you to chain your moves and slice your enemies through?
Know Your Enemy
You will inevitably know your adversaries and how to take care of them, but here’s a quick primer just in case.
The enemies with automatic weapons can kill you in one shot. And like mentioned above, wall-running or simply staying in motion will affect their aim. The other ploy could be to take cover, wait for them to reload and attack.
You could also deflect, and this is where the Genji comparisons come in. Initially, you will only avoid the damage. But after an upgrade in the second level, you could send the projectile back from where it came. It requires wicked timing (you swing your sword just as the bullet is about to hit) and the aim to direct it back towards the enemy. With enough practice, you’d be bringing a blade to a gunfight and still win.
There are also shielded enemies, which can’t be dealt with by mashing the attack button because of a knockback effect. You can follow the blue trail from their shield bubbles to an orb and strike it down to leave the enemies exposed. But for the unbreakable red shields, you would need to strike from above or behind. Later on, you will take on more imposing opponents and the best way to advance is to figure out each one.
Your journey in this cyberspace will also be dictated by upgrades and skills. And Ghostrunner encourages the players to chop and change. The game will notify you whenever an upgrade is available, and you have the freedom to play around with the builds and switch up playstyles. Rewiring the upgrades might facilitate a fresh approach for you.
Then there are the skills. We have touched upon the aforementioned ‘sensory boost’ and grappling abilities, as well as your wall-running, dodging and deflecting hijinks. But you will also have access to four energy abilities, namely Blink, Tempest, Surge and Overlord.
Blink allows you to dash attack multiple enemies lined up, while Tempest lets you unleash a shockwave with your hand to knock enemies and projectiles backwards. Surge launches a ranged attack with your sword while the Overlord allows you to hack your foes and turn them against each other. There are enough tools in your belt to mix and match your way through even the most difficult of stretches.
Lastly, Don’t Be Afraid to Die
You will die, a lot. It’s that sort of a game. You will fail jumps and hurtle down to your death. You will get pummeled or shot to death. Sure, it will lead to moments of frustration but it will also lead to several ‘aha’ moments of epiphany and those of achievement.
As you progress further, Ghostrunner will have you wall-run, grapple hook, dodge, deflect and strike almost simultaneously, and you will fail often. But by no means is it an unfair game. With familiarity, both with the levels and the game’s toolset, you should feel more comfortable with every subsequent run. Switching up your builds and play styles and strategizing before each run will be the key to your success. And success in Ghostrunner, with all its stylish kills and frenetic pace, is invariably satisfying!