In Ghostrunner, you're basically a time-bending cyber ninja. If that's not enough to make you think "that sounds cool as hell," I don't know what else can be said. At PAX South, I had the chance to give Ghostrunner a try, and while at first glance it can appear to be a generic action game, its breakneck action pace is anything but.
Ghostrunner is first person action that's all about slicing people to bits and quickly running around futuristic environments as you do it. For combat, all you'll have is the sword, and developer One More Level promises that there will be plenty of abilities to acquire along the way to make you feel even more badass.
The enemies I encountered were dispatched with a quick slash of my sword, but that doesn't mean it was easy. Just as the enemies are killed in one hit, so are you. So, a room with four dudes shooting at you, when one bullet means you're done, is actually a decent challenge.
Because of that, I always had a great sense of urgency in what I did. You can't just stand around—constantly moving is the key to survival and the key to getting to an enemy to take them out. Thankfully, you have a few tools to do that.
You'll use a lot of parkour-like movement, à la Titanfall, to get around, but the real godsend is your dash. It's not simply just a dash, either. When activated, you'll slow time for a short period, meaning you can get out of the way of that pesky bullet flying by. Then, when you choose, you can speed time right back up and instantly close the distance to that enemy and strike them down.
Once you get comfortable with the movement and abilities, Ghostrunner started to feel more like a rhythm/puzzle game.Coming into a new area with a different layout and placement of enemies was like a puzzle waiting to be figured out. That means, plan on dying a lot. Though, dying never felt cheap or unfair, and it turned into a reconnaissance tool more than anything.
After that, all that's left is execution. That's easier said than done, of course. Once you know the different possible routes, Ghostrunner then becomes choosing the right one. Do you quickly dash to the first enemy, kill them, wall run up to the next, kill them, then dash over a gap to the next? Going that way opened you up to the fourth guy on a platform above, shooting at you the whole way.
No one way is the "correct" one, however. With quick enough reactions, you can do whatever you want. That whole feeling of teasing out a puzzle as described above may not be there for some or slip away with time as you get better at the game. Mastery of the movement and great reactions will definitely get you where you need to go in Ghostrunner.
Ghostrunner's all about being quick on your feet and demands perfection, creating a very tense but absorbing experience. With the Souls influence everywhere in games now emphasizes thoughtful, sometimes slow, action to avoid massive punishment, Ghostrunner is the opposite. You have to be quick, or you'll end up dead in a hurry. Breakneck speed coupled with in the moment decision making is very compelling. Every time it all came together in that demo, ending in success, was incredibly satisfying.
Ghostrunner is coming to PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One sometime this year.