Ghostrunner Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Ghostrunner RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Ghostrunner Update Adds Two New Modes and More https://www.gameskinny.com/r8xre/ghostrunner-update-adds-two-new-modes-and-more https://www.gameskinny.com/r8xre/ghostrunner-update-adds-two-new-modes-and-more Wed, 01 Sep 2021 21:03:18 -0400 Josh Broadwell

The latest Ghostrunner update adds more costumes, a roguelite mode, and, at the spectrum's other end, an assist mode. The two modes are free and available now on all platforms, though the Neon Pack costs $4.99 and will release on Nintendo Switch in a few weeks.

Ghostrunner's Wave mode is the new roguelite experience, one that drops you in a closed-off arena and pits you against relentless enemy hordes. Clearing one wave unlocks perks that carry over to the next round, and should you manage to survive them all, you get a fancy new sword.

Assist Mode includes three options: one extra life, shorter cooldowns, and slower gameplay overall. It's still a one-hit death scenario, but one that offers greater control over how you experience it.

Finally is the Neon Pack, a new DLC set that gives you Neon Night, Afterglow, Luminescence, and Glint.

All this will be available in Ghostrunner's PS5 and Xbox Series X|S-native version when it releases on September 28. And don't forget that Ghost Runner 2 is in the works.

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Ghostrunner Sequel, Ghostrunner 2, Announced by 505 Games https://www.gameskinny.com/d8uli/ghostrunner-sequel-ghostrunner-2-announced-by-505-games https://www.gameskinny.com/d8uli/ghostrunner-sequel-ghostrunner-2-announced-by-505-games Thu, 13 May 2021 16:37:33 -0400 David Carcasole

Developer One More Level and publisher 505 Games have officially announced that a sequel to the critically acclaimed cyberpunk indie hit Ghostrunner is currently in the works, and will launch on PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S. 

No need to run to your console or PC to pre-order just yet, though, since this announcement is just the initial signing of the contract for One More Level to begin production on a sequel. It will likely be some time before we see any actual gameplay or learn of a release window or release date. 

In the meantime, fans of the first game can still look forward to new updates and DLC set to release throughout the rest of the year. You can find all the details for what's to come in our write-up of that previous announcement.

Ghostrunner launched just last fall and was praised for its fast-paced, high-octane combat and platforming, along with its incredible visual design and fidelity. It's no surprise that One More Level would want to develop a sequel, with the first game selling over 600,000 copies worldwide in under a year.

In our review, we called it an action platformer that's "fast, frenetic, and, even in the face of its weaker moments, endlessly satisfying."

There's no mention of a PS4, Xbox One, or Switch release for the sequel, though Ghostrunner is currently available on all those platforms. One More Level is currently working on a PS5 and Xbox Series X|S upgrade for the game, which is set to be out by the end of 2021.

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First Round of Ghostrunner DLC Live Now https://www.gameskinny.com/56xmu/first-round-of-ghostrunner-dlc-live-now https://www.gameskinny.com/56xmu/first-round-of-ghostrunner-dlc-live-now Tue, 13 Apr 2021 13:09:28 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Not long after 505 Games revealed the Ghostrunner 2021 content roadmap, the first round of Ghostrunner DLC is live now.

505 also announced the Ghostrunner Switch physical version will have all previous updates, from graphics improvements to stability upgrades, when it releases June 29.

Ghostrunner's Kill Run tasks players with slaying dozens of enemies as fast as possible. It's a timed mode, but each kill adds a few seconds to the clock. If that's not enough pressure to perform well, Kill Run mode includes online leaderboards too.

Ghostrunner's photo mode is also live today, and a separate, paid update called the Metal Ox pack includes Lunar New Year-themed weapons for $4.99

The free Ghostrunner update adds several enhancements to the console and PC versions. Console versions get aim assist, an FOV slider, and, for the PS4 Pro, framerate enhancements. On PC, Ghostrunner is getting reduced latency thanks to NVIDIA Reflex.

All this is just the beginning of Ghostrunner's 2021 updates. The next round is due in summer 2021 and promises an additional two new game modes, plus the Ghostrunner debut on Amazon Luna.

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505 Games Announces Ghostrunner Next-Gen Update, New DLC https://www.gameskinny.com/1g2nf/505-games-announces-ghostrunner-next-gen-update-new-dlc https://www.gameskinny.com/1g2nf/505-games-announces-ghostrunner-next-gen-update-new-dlc Mon, 05 Apr 2021 13:00:37 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Ghostrunner is getting a next-gen update and three content drops between now and fall 2021. 505 Games announced the Ghostrunner next-gen update in a new content map outlining some of what to expect in Ghostrunner's upcoming DLC, which is available across all platforms.

The Ghostrunner spring update includes two new modes, Kill Run Mode and Photo Mode. Photo Mode speaks for itself, though 505 is keeping details about Kill Run mode to itself for now. Ghostrunner will release for Amazon Luna in spring as well, and there's a paid cosmetic DLC pack available now.

Summer 2021 sees two new bundle packs plus another new game mode and an extra vanity pack. Fall 2021 is when Ghostrunner's next-gen update will release alongside the "Ultimate DLC" and another vanity pack. 505 didn't mention what the Ultimate DLC is and how Ghostrunner next-gen will improve the game, though by now we know what to expect from these updates — faster load times, enhanced textures, and possibly 4K support.

We'd say framerate improvements too, but Ghostrunner already runs silky smooth even on the highest settings, making its "satisfying combat and beautiful cyberpunk world" stand out that much more. 

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Essential Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S Games for the 2020 Holiday Season https://www.gameskinny.com/nbia6/essential-xbox-one-xbox-series-xs-games-for-the-2020-holiday-season https://www.gameskinny.com/nbia6/essential-xbox-one-xbox-series-xs-games-for-the-2020-holiday-season Fri, 18 Dec 2020 22:21:48 -0500 GS_Staff

[{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/61bb814b256c438085166ecc7131f12b.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/61bb814b256c438085166ecc7131f12b.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13521","description":"

Control

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ESRB Rating: T
MSRP: $39.99
Platforms: XB1, Series X|S
Get it on:

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Control may very well be on of the greatest games of the last generation. Developed by Remedy Games — who also brought us the incredible Alan Wake, as well as Quantum Break and Max Payne — Control wows with super slick gunplay and super power usage.

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It's a game that pulls players into an engaging world with engaging combat.  The Federal Bureau of Control is under siege and supernatural abilities are commonplace. Fans of the X-Files or sci-fi horror should not miss out on this action-adventure game.

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We couldn't help but gush about it in our review, saying that "Control is undoubtedly Remedy's biggest and weirdest game yet. In many ways, it's also their best, all while it paves the way for a Marvel-like connected universe." Yeah, it connects to all of their previous games in some fashion, creating a video game universe unlike any other. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/90ef2a99d434aa12fc369b80c16cbf43.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/90ef2a99d434aa12fc369b80c16cbf43.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13520","description":"

Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning

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ESRB Rating: M
MSRP: $39.99
Platforms: XB1, X|S
Get it on:

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Kingdoms of Amalur didn't get the fairest shake with its original release on the Xbox 360, but the Re-Reckoning version of the game on modern platforms brings this much-talked-about RPG to life  and with a wealth of additional content on top of the original version's already robust world and gameplay.

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This is one of those re-releases that original fans dream of, but also one that's accessible to new fans. Thankfully, many of the hiccups from the original game have been ironed out here, so it's both faithful and the best way to play the game. 

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If you're a loot hound — or know someone who is — and like RPGs, Re-Reckoning is a no brainer. 

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In our review, we said that "Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning feels like a breath of fresh air. Just like the game's protagonist, it rises from the ashes, with a blank slate and zero expectations, to deliver a powerful story, addictive gameplay, and a shockingly stylish world that's pulsing with personality and is ripe for exploration."

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/4b9441f4a9fca5e244f97184d0471920.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/4b9441f4a9fca5e244f97184d0471920.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13528","description":"

Wasteland 3

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ESRB Rating: M
MSRP: $59.99
Platforms: XB1, Series X|S
Get it on:

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After waiting for a sequel to Wasteland 2 for six years — and suffering through a few delays along the way — fans finally got their hands on Wasteland 3 earlier this year. Luckily, it was all well worth it. Mixing tried and true CRPG mechanics with modern sensibilities, Wasteland 3 is an unmitigated success. 

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There's no surprise that there's a lot to do in Wasteland 3, a game that can take upwards of 71 hours to beat for those looking to uncover everything. Sure, a single playthrough isn't as long as some other RPGs on the Xbox platform, but there are so many different builds and ways to play the game, that multiple playthroughs are almost essential. 

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There's story, there's strategy, there's combat. It looks absolutely fantastic, and it's funny, to boot. 

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We said that "Wasteland 3 is, without a doubt, one of the best games of the year. Despite its dark, gloomy atmosphere, it manages to shine through humor and characterization. The world-building is second to none, with a wide range of locales to visit, creating a sense of epic-scale and adventure. It’s a game where your choices have real consequences as you play judge, jury, and executioner."

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/66e871aab2adc9a72ca9f3a61e987ecd.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/66e871aab2adc9a72ca9f3a61e987ecd.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13530","description":"

Streets Of Rage 4 

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ESRB Rating: T
MSRP: $24.99 - $34.99
Platforms: XB1, Series X|S
Get it on:

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  • Amazon (XB1, Series X|S Physical)
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  • Microsoft Store (XB1, Series X|S Digital)\n
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They say you can't keep a good fighter down, and with Streets of Rage 4, developer Dotemu proves that one of the best beat em' ups of the 1990s is still one of the beat em' ups of 2020s. 

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The most obvious change is the game's updated coat of paint, which looks absolutely gorgeous on last- and current-gen consoles. Peel back the surface just a bit, and you'll find a game that pays respect to the franchise but makes enough thoughtful changes to forge its own path. Combat is as you'd expect it, though that doesn't mean it's any less effective. 

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After playing Streets of Rage 4 earlier this year, we said "Streets of Rage 4 is the best kind of revival. It absolutely revels in the franchise’s roots, but the designers have put a lot of thought into what does and does not work in the old arcade beat-‘em-up formula." Read more here

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/509a8b510064477c899f18c3c783a5c8.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/509a8b510064477c899f18c3c783a5c8.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13529","description":"

Maneater

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ESRB Rating: M
MSRP: $29.99
Platforms: XB1, Series X|S
Get it on:

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Maneater may be one of the most surprising games of the year, and if you like action-packed chaos and mayhem, one of the best.  

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Fans of Jaws and Shark Week will revel in the chum-filled waters of Maneater, which follows an orphaned bull shark out for revenge. As your growing shark swims from the alligator-filled swamps of Fatwick Bayou to the sailboat-clogged harbor of Prosperity Sands and beyond, you'll chomp down on everything from fish and turtles to swimmers and bounty hunters. 

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You'll even unlock new skills, evolutions, and deadly shark skins along the way, giving you extra bones to rip your prey to shreds or electricity to shock them when they fall in the water. 

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We gave Maneater a 9 because of all of the things it does so well, with our review saying "In a time of global crisis, however, a game where you can turn your brain off and eat anything and everything in sight is just the kind of detachment we need. Even if it wasn’t on your radar at all, Maneater is a title that will gobble you up for a few hours of blissful escapism."

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/f20820237186917f53397c1c93cae02d.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/f20820237186917f53397c1c93cae02d.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13519","description":"

Dirt 5

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ESRB Rating: E
MSRP: $59.99
Platforms: XB1, X|S
Get it on:

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Dirt 5 isn't to be overlooked if you've got the itch for a good racing game, especially if you enjoyed its predecessor, Dirt 4. It improves on many of that game's mechanics and systems, even if the Xbox versions aren't able to use the awesome haptic feedback features available in the PlayStation 5 version. 

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Dirt 5's varied terrain, comprehensive career mode, and lush visuals are a feast for anyone who enjoys the genre even a bit. But don't go into this thinking it's Gran Turismo: this is a rally racer through and through. 

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You can read more about Dirt 5 and all it has to offer in our review, where we said it's "a huge racer with tons to do," has "gorgeous presentation," and comes packaged with "tight, responsive controls." 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/703274a00872f849408d1fcd7d2b8dde.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/703274a00872f849408d1fcd7d2b8dde.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13522","description":"

Ghostrunner

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ESRB Rating: M
MSRP: $29.99
Platforms: XB1, Series X|S
Get it on:

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Ultra fast-paced and brutal, Ghostrunner can put even the highest skilled players to the test with its cutthroat swordplay and silky smooth maneuverability. An action-packed platformer set against a neon cyberpunk futurescape, Ghostrunner is part Mirror's Edge, part Ninja Gaiden where precise timing and movement a strategic keys to success. Get hit, and you die. You'll have to start from the checkpoint. 

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This is a solid buy for anyone who's all about gameplay and isn't too worried about story, at least in the traditional narrative sense. If you pay attention, there's a lot to learn from its world.

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We gave Ghostreunner a solid 8, saying, "it's fast, frenetic, and, even in the face of its weaker moments, endlessly satisfying."

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/d3a8663a7d9f5b80e9e66189ae606d20.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/d3a8663a7d9f5b80e9e66189ae606d20.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13515","description":"

Cake Bash

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ESRB Rating: E
MSRP: $19.99
Platforms: XB1, Series X|S
Get it on:

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There's nothing better for the soul and bad for your interpersonal relationships like a good, old-fashioned party game. Cake Bash doesn't just make you compete with friends in its minigames, campaign, and multiplayer modes  it makes you hungry too! You are trying to become the tastiest treat around, after all.

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Our review for this indie darling perhaps says it best: "With a variety of entertaining games, some lively stages, and good replayability, it’s a fun experience, especially with friends. We only wish there was more of it on offer. Though some minigames feel a little finicky, it’s otherwise a sweet treat all around." Read more about Cake Bash here

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/e5bfe7df695bbdc24d46ad61eb9efaf2.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/e5bfe7df695bbdc24d46ad61eb9efaf2.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13514","description":"

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2

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ESRB Rating: T
MSRP: $39.99
Platforms: XB1, Series X|S
Get it on:

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There's no series that does skateboarding better than Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. Sure, there's the Skate series, which has received favorable marks over the years, but nothing holds a candle to the prolificness of the THPS franchise, or its grip on the cultural zeitgeist 21 years after the launch of the first game. 

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This faithful remake of the first two games in the series can't be beat — even compared to more recent entries. it makes you forget that 2012's Tony Hawk's HD ever existed. 

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Featuring absolutely no cut content from the first two games in the series and even some new additions (skaters, boards, and online multiplayer), as well as tricks from later games, Pro Skater 1 + 2 isn't to be missed.

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That doesn't mean it's perfect, but we gave it high marks for its graphics, faithfulness, and old-school arcade feel. Read more about it in our review.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/4d872732d4dd5c5bb48644543f31af30.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/4d872732d4dd5c5bb48644543f31af30.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13527","description":"

Immortal Fenyx Rising

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ESRB Rating: T
MSRP: $59.99
Platforms: XB1, Series X|S
Get it on:

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Immortals Fenyx Rising may look like just another open-world Ubisoft game, and while it may share certain aspects with games like Assassin's Creed Odyssey, such as its Greek mythology trappings, it takes some of those elements and flips them on their head. 

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As expected, there's a lot to do here, with plenty of places to explore, myriad items to discover, and tons of skills to unlock. There's "breezy combat and excellent writing," and the art style is inviting. It helps that the game is funny too. 

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For us, "Immortals Fenyx Rising has undeniable charm." It's well worth the price of admission for fans of Ubisoft, open-world games, or just plain ol' well-made games.  

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/3dd5bad59ed0ddbe7b936751414663c9.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/3dd5bad59ed0ddbe7b936751414663c9.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13513","description":"

Journey to the Savage Planet

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ESRB Rating: T
MSRP: $29.99
Platforms: XB1, Series X|S
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You may not have heard about Journey to the Savage Planet since it had a relatively quiet launch way back in the beginning of 2020, which was about 624 years ago at this point. But that doesn't mean it isn't a 3D action-adventure game well-worth checking out. 

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Zany, satirical, and totally bonkers, Journey to the Savage Planet sends you to planet AR-Y 26 as part of an exploration expedition meant to find a habitable planet for humanity. It's a tale we've played through before, but the character behind Journey to the Savage Planet — not to mention its creative design choices and fun gameplay — make it stand out. 

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Players can explore and conquer solo or in co op, though co op is relegated to a purely invite-only system. There's unfortunately no couch co op or online matchmaking here. 

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We gave the game an 8 for getting "exploration and traversal" right, as well as it's "colorful and light-hearted" world. We said that "Journey to the Savage Planet is an amalgam of many genres in a single 15-20 hour experience" that stands as a "charming debut from a promising new studio."

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/fa5c80eabd1b7bf8b5511dcd6658df54.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/fa5c80eabd1b7bf8b5511dcd6658df54.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13512","description":"

Star Wars: Squadrons

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ESRB Rating: T
MSRP: $39.99
Platforms: XB1, Series X|S
Get it on:

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  • Amazon (XB1, Series X|S physical)
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    • Part of EA Play through Game Pass Ultimate on console
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Star Wars fans have waited a long, long time for a proper space-flight combat simulator — since the days of the legendary X-Wing and Tie Fighter series. Star Wars: Squadrons delivers (in spades) a thoughtful and respectful modern take on that classic gameplay. recent updates to the game have added the much-requested B-Wing, custom multiplayer matches, and new starfighter armaments. 

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Between a campaign worthy of the storied series and the intensely immersive flight and combat to the blood-pumping multiplayer that serves as a nice middle ground between the old games and Battlefront 2's Starfighter Assualt mode, Squadrons is not to be missed by any fan.

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In our review of the game, we said "Star Wars Squadrons is an instant classic and an ode to the space combat sims that came before it. It's the closest thing to a new X-Wing or Tie Fighter we're going to get."

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/144a7052863d0255e83762892ed273a4.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/144a7052863d0255e83762892ed273a4.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13511","description":"

Watch Dogs: Legion

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ESRB Rating: M
MSRP: $59.99
Platforms: XB1, Series X|S
Buy it from:

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Watch Dogs: Legion is the third installment in the Watch Dogs franchise that began back in 2014. While it features similar gameplay and world-building as its predecessors, the most interesting mechanic Watch Dogs: Legion brings to the table is the ability to recruit any character in London to the grander cause. Such an ambitious addition works extremely well, too, adding a sense of depth unseen in the first two games and a whole heck of a lot of character types to dive into.

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Never before has being a part of a rebel hacker group been so slick, so much so in our review, we said that WDL "throws out a decade of Ubisoft's cluttered-map open worlds in favor of exciting systems that deliver unique emergent moments consistently."

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It's not perfect — as of this writing, there's still a pesky game-breaking bug near the end of the game in the Series X version that Ubisoft is working to fix — but it's a solid entry in the series all fans should check out. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/d7e2a09b4d85d146dd5543575d531090.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/d7e2a09b4d85d146dd5543575d531090.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13510","description":"

Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War

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ESRB Rating: M
MSRP: $59.99 - $69.99
Platforms: XB1, Series X|S
Get it on:

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This year's Call of Duty should be a given for any FPS player with an Xbox Box One or Xbox Series X|S. The perennial first-person shooter's newest offering brings with it a ton of multiplayer gameplay and plenty of weapon customization options to keep any fan busy. There's a sizeable campaign mode, to boot, not to mention the always-popular Zombies mode. 

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Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is on both Xbox One and Xbox Series X natively, though owners of the Xbox One version is backwards compatible with the Series X, or it can upgrade to the Xbox Series X version at no additional cost. So it's really a win, win, win. 

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In our review of Black Ops Cold War, we gave it top marks for a "tight, high-action campaign mode, tons of weapon customization options in multiplayer, [and for having] plenty of content right away." We also said that, unsurprisingly, "zombies mode is hard to put down."

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/380bf57fcc58463387f4b6849a451d36.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/380bf57fcc58463387f4b6849a451d36.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13526","description":"

Grounded

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ESRB Rating: T
MSRP: $29.99
Platforms: XB1, Series X|S
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If you've ever wondered what it would be like to play in the backyard of Honey, I shrunk the Kids, you'll want to give Grounded a look. It's a survival adventure game where you're small and the world is big — literally. 

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Grounded may only be in Early Access through Xbox Game Preview with its story and systems still in development, but it already has a lot to offer. You'll craft spears and shovels, hunt bugs, build shelters, and survive myriad dangers — all while trying to get un-shrunk. 

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On top of what's currently available, Obsidian has been dutifully adding new elements and mechanics to the game since it released in July. The extensive development roadmap can be seen over on the Grounded website

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In our Early Access review, we said that "Grounded proudly reveals its unique take on the well-tread survival genre by injecting familiar mechanics with a youthful spirit. With Grounded, Obsidian walks back years of survival games moving ceaselessly toward dreary post-apocalyptic worlds and instead imagines a colorful little-big sandbox where insects are intimidating behemoths."

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/abf57fdaba09f88d3c013814cc1453ba.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/abf57fdaba09f88d3c013814cc1453ba.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13524","description":"

Gears Tactics

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ESRB Rating: M
MSRP: $59.99
Platforms: XB1, Series X|S
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Xbox One actually has a surprising number of good tactics games in its catalog: XCOM and XCOM 2, Wargroove, Battletech, Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun, Mutant Year Zero, Battletech, and Into the Breach are just a few. But fans can add Gears Tactics in as one of the best entries. 

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As with other similar genre games, there are squads, there are over-head perspectives, there are action points, and there are abilities like overwatch. Since Gears Tactics is a prequel to the original Gears of War, the story gives Gears fans another look at the franchise's universe, 12 years before the first game. 

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We played the game when it released in early 2020, saying "Gears Tactics takes the intense third-person action of the console game into the realm of PC-centric turn-based tactical strategy. Thanks to intuitive controls, Gears Tactics is easy to get into even for players who have never played a turn-based tactical squad game before. It’s just a shame there’s not more here."

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/e2c51aa7c969f41dc212943d4ca7ac16.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/e2c51aa7c969f41dc212943d4ca7ac16.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13523","description":"

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

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ESRB Rating: E
MSRP: $29.99
Platforms: XB1, Series X|S
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Ori and the Blind Forest is one of the best platformers to launch on any platform in recent memory. Released in 2015, it currently has an 88 on Metacritic and a commanding 90 on OpenCritic. So how would Moon Studios and Microsoft Studios follow that? With a sequel that's just as good — if not better. 

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Ori and the Will of the Wisps takes most everything fans love about the original game and improves upon it. It's draw-droppingly gorgeous world is only rivaled by its tight platforming mechanics and fulfilling Metroidvania design. There's a lot to do in Will of the Wisps, making it a game fans can come back to again and again. 

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In our review of the game, we said "Ori and the Will of the Wisps is another triumph return for the series — a beautiful game with only the smallest blemishes to its luster. If you want to play a beautiful, often difficult Metroidvania with some of the most satisfying combat and traversal mechanics the genre has to offer, Ori and the Will of the Wisps will give you plenty to be excited about."

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/2/0/2/2020-xbox-series-games-b5094-0afe6.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/2/0/2/2020-xbox-series-games-b5094-0afe6.jpg","type":"slide","id":"216686","description":"

The holiday shopping season is here, which means it's time to stock up on games — or buy them for other people, of course. 2020 marked the launch of Sony's PlayStation 5 and Microsoft's Xbox Series X and Series S, all of which are backwards compatible with their respective prior platforms.

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Although Halo Infinite was delayed out of the Series X|S launch window, leaving the consoles without a launch exclusive title, there are tons of great games ready to fill the void, some third-party, some first-party. 

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In making this list, we tried to avoid overlap with our other list marking the essential games for the PlayStation 4 and PS5. Maybe it's a misguided endeavor because so many great games launched for both platforms, but we had to draw the line somewhere for each list or both would go on and on. 

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Here's that list so you can find even more great Xbox One and Series X|S titles, like FUSER, Assassin's Creed Valhalla, Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time, Doom Eternal, Resident Evil 3, and more. 

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Here we're focusing on some of the other essential titles for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S owners to pick up this season and into 2021, from shooters and space flight sims to everything in between. There's something for any sort of gamer in this list, so let's get started.

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Ghostrunner Review: The World Bleeds Red and Neon https://www.gameskinny.com/nwgdt/ghostrunner-review-the-world-bleeds-red-and-neon https://www.gameskinny.com/nwgdt/ghostrunner-review-the-world-bleeds-red-and-neon Mon, 26 Oct 2020 10:01:16 -0400 John Schutt

In Ghostrunner, death is inescapable for your enemies. You die over and over, but when you’re done, your enemies stay dead, and you are the only one left standing. You carve your way to the top of a cyberpunk megastructure covered in neon as you listen to a slick synthwave soundtrack, keeping time with the death you deal. And, at times, it is as badass as it sounds.

Ghostrunner is a game in dire need of a replay mode for both your failures and final success. Something similar to what's found in Superhot or Katana Zero would be welcome because the game’s aesthetic and its gameplay combine to showcase what a robot ninja is actually capable of. It would have been satisfying to see it from every angle imaginable.

Its story doesn't boast the same quality as its gameplay, sadly. It’s a trope-filled, predictable affair that does little to enhance the core experience. The pacing is all over the place, as can be the difficulty and annoyances. None of it makes the game less enjoyable to play, mind: it just detracts from the overall product enough to be noticeable. 

Ghostrunner Review: The World Bleeds Red and Neon

This is a game meant to be played at high-speed, moving smoothly between traversal one second and a flurry of blades the next. 

Ghostrunner follows the same basic rules as games like Super Meat Boy, Katana Zero, and Superhot: be hit once, and you’re sent back to a checkpoint. Smart play is vital, as is a deep knowledge of all the mechanics you’ve been introduced to. 

Quick reflexes and decision making are key, as well. This is a game meant to be played at high-speed, moving smoothly between traversal one second and a flurry of blades the next. Then, between moments of slaughter, you’re avoiding death traps and dashing over bottomless pits at obscene velocities, only stopping to admire the derelict city around you.

You rely on core skills like wall running and a Sensory Boost, the latter of which slows time and allows you to avoid projectiles and other attacks with more freedom. Over the course of the game, you unlock additional abilities, most of them geared towards more effectively killing your enemies. Style isn’t tracked like in Devil May Cry, but your abilities are intelligently stylish by default. 

Getting Around

Ghostrunner’s levels break down into two distinct area types: traversal and combat. Traversal areas center around precise platforming and judicious use of your various movement abilities. Most of them are about going up, but some have you descending via a slide. Either case has you learning when to jump, dash, grapple, and slide, and by the end of the game, these portions will be lengthy and complicated. 

Each combat arena is self-contained, so you won't avoid any of them. You must combine what you learned in the traversal sections with all the abilities you’ve gained to that point to succeed. You learn about new enemies one at a time before the game quickly ramps up the complexity. 

Your ability to make decisions on the fly is paramount, as, by the game’s end, two things will be true: your reaction speeds will be lightning-fast, and your death count will be high. Until you know how a room or a fight flows, there isn’t much room for error, and you will die at least a few dozen times on the harder ones.

How you use your enemies’ abilities to your advantage determines success in the later levels, as does optimal movement. Experimentation is a worthy tool, as what you think you can do and what you can actually do are often the same

Facilitating your trial and error is a fairly forgiving checkpointing system. Failing halfway through an encounter always sends you back to its beginning. It’s only the start of that encounter and not the level or area. For more difficult platforming and traversal sections, there are additional restart points. Boss fights also have multiple checkpoints, with one exception. 

Failure is an important part of the learning process, and on PC, at least, the restarts are instant. Your mistakes are almost always the cause of failure too, because, by the time you’ve seen the whole room, you know where an enemy or hazard will be, when, and your preferred route to them.

Enemies and obstacles are easy to understand once you’ve been up against them enough times. It’s ultimately a matter of staying calm under pressure and learning rather than hitting your head endlessly into a wall.

Sights and Sounds

The world itself isn’t a masterclass of cyberpunk narrative design.

A game as fast and frenetic as this one needs a soundtrack that drives adrenaline and pushes the player to greater and greater heights. Ghostrunnerdelivers. Pulsing baselines and powerful synths are at the heart of the score. While the music can be a somewhat standard synthwave from time to time, it’s never boring or intrusive. More importantly, it’s good enough to make repeated failures more bearable. 

The sound of slicing through your foes is just as satisfying. The metal-on-metal zing shows off the power in your sword arm, and the flop of a bisected corpse on the ground tells you just how dead they are. Enemy attacks all have a unique tone, so even if you aren’t looking at them, you know who you’re fighting.

Characters are well-voiced, though there’s nothing spectacular about the acting. It is exactly what it needs to be.

The art design and aesthetics, however, are outstanding. Each section of the tower you move through has its own personality, but everything is bathed in neon. Ghostrunnerloves to show off the power of Unreal Engine 4 too, with stark lighting changes and contrasting colors, blood spatters, and oil puddles reflecting the dying world around them.

While the world itself isn’t a masterclass of cyberpunk narrative design, the artists and environmental designers spared no expense making everything look as slick as the combat and movement.

Falling Out of the Sky

There’s a lot to love about Ghostrunner, but there's no shortage of small things to complain about as well. The biggest issue is its inconsistent wall running. Sometimes my character would stick right to a wall and jump gracefully to the next. Other times, I’d find myself falling into a restart because I didn't wall run when I thought I would.

The pacing is another large problem. Most of the game happens at breakneck speeds, but the portions where you gain additional abilities and upgrades slow everything way down, stripping you of most of your movement abilities in the process. Suddenly, I would find myself standing over a cyberspace abyss waiting for a platform to rotate so I could gather part of a key. 

The cyberspace sections are infrequent enough, but they almost always occur late in a level where you're already on edge and don’t want to come down until the clear screen comes up. But out of nowhere, rote platforming and simple puzzle solving appear in a game about being a stylish robo-ninja with superpowers. To say the transition can be jarring is putting it mildly.

Then there is the customization screen, where you augmented your abilities using a Tetris-style grid and shapes. I appreciate that I could make my killing techniques even more powerful, but more than once, I found myself taking time to optimize the grid just a little bit more, taking the pace of the game and slamming squarely on the brakes. Even the cyberspace levels had me moving. Futzing in a menu did not.

The story is also something of a pain point.Ghostrunner is predictable in the extreme, with each narrative beat existing only as a framework to reach the next combat and traversal area. The villains are bog-standard cyberpunk tropes, and the hero’s reasons for doing what he’s doing are nothing to write home about.

There are several opportunities to expand on the world that never gets explored, like going outside into the rotted wasteland or interacting with the characters you meet over the story’s runtime. 

I encountered a few bugs in my playthrough as well, from getting stuck in geometry to crashes and the like. I played on a pre-release build of the game, and I imagine most of these are likely to be fixed when the game launches on October 27. 

Ghost Runner Review — The Bottom Line

Pros

  • Incredible combat and lightning pace
  • Great soundtrack and aesthetic
  • Smooth performance even on the highest settings

Cons

  • Weak story and worldbuilding
  • Pacing issues
  • The occasional bug and crash

Ghostrunner offers satisfying combat in a well-constructed, beautiful cyberpunk world. You will feel more and more powerful as the game moves on, and moving through the world is always a wonderful experience.

There are a few holes in the story and mechanics that could have seen additional tuning, but if you’re in the market for a fast-paced slash-em-up set in a bleak future, Ghostrunner has just what you need.

[Note: 505 Games provided the copy of Ghostrunner used for this review.]

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GhostRunner Demo Impressions: Cyberpunk at Lightning Speed https://www.gameskinny.com/5brew/ghostrunner-demo-impressions-cyberpunk-at-lightning-speed https://www.gameskinny.com/5brew/ghostrunner-demo-impressions-cyberpunk-at-lightning-speed Wed, 13 May 2020 16:25:25 -0400 John Schutt

In GhostRunner, you are a cyborg. You have a katana. And you have a mountain of bodies to build while getting from point A to point B. 

It's a game in the vein of fast-paced hack-and-slash fair like Katana Zero, but instead of high-quality pixel art, players experience some of the highest-fidelity graphics possible on modern hardware, at framerates even most AAA games dream of.

But how does it play? Is it worth your time? Let's take a look.

GhostRunner: One-Hit Kill

Sure, you are a machine of death in GhostRunner, but it only takes one hit to kill you. Thankfully, your enemies are just as fragile.

Problem is, they have guns, and all you have is a razor-sharp blade and expensive cybernetics.

The game gets around this problem by combining two classic mechanics: bullet time and air dashing. Enemy projectiles have a travel time, but if your reactions are fast enough, you can enter bullet time to dodge them in mid-air.

When you exit bullet-time, you'll dash towards the enemy. Hopefully, it's without eating a bullet for your trouble.

Should you fail, though, GhostRunner has a robust set of checkpoints set up before each challenge arena, and you load into them instantly after dying. I was playing the game's Steam demo on an M.2 SSD, and there was no loading time between death and respawn. Slower hard drives might need a second or two.

That might be a blessing in disguise, as GhostRunner's pace will set your heart to overdrive.

Given that the demo is only about 10 minutes long, even with plenty of failures, difficulty ramps up quickly, and the introduction of new mechanics comes fast and furious. You'll learn how to climb, wall run, slide, and kill in a matter of moments. 

From there, you'll learn how to enable and work within bullet-time, and then you'll combine everything you've learned into a singular methodology to use in more and more demanding arenas. The last thing you'll learn is a grapple, which gets put to use immediately.

Chaining abilities is as satisfying as you might hope in a game such as this, and it should be. Failures can be frustrating, especially because the game's enemies are incredibly accurate, and your margin for error so small. 

Don't let that dissuade you from trying the demo out, though. GhostRunner is not a forgiving game, but it rewards successful kills and flawless parkour. It's well worth the price of admission. 

Wall-Running Like a Dream

GhostRunner, even in its demo state, shows the power of Unreal Engine 4, and it runs better than I would have ever hoped. Even with everything on maximum and RTX turned on, I was easily breaking 60fps at 1080p. The game's recommended specs aren't demanding either, so while a top of the line rig can push this game's limits, even mid-tier and budget-builds should be able to have a good time.

There are plenty of customizable settings too, and the developers have even gone so far as to push an update to the demo, adding more options, including an FOV slider and fully-unlockable FPS. It's clearly a game built for PC first and foremost.

While something like this is playable on a controller, the sheer speed of the gameplay on offer is probably best experienced with the freedom of movement a mouse and keyboard provide.

More importantly, the game looks amazing. I would go so far as to compare it to Cyberpunk 2077 at times, both in terms of fidelity and the quality of its art style. Everything looks and feels like a badass dystopian future, from the propaganda to the cybernetics, animations, and environments. 

Whispers in Your Head

The story of a game like GhostRunner only really exists to string together the various gameplay challenges, and we don't get much of it in the short Steam demo.

What we do have is pretty standard cyberpunk fair. Something about a prisoner with tech abilities that needs rescuing, the player character having messy cybernetics, and the usual corporate overlords in control of more than you'd ever realize.

All that doesn't mean the story will be bad, and the final scene has me itching to know more. There's definitely more underneath the surface, and nothing is ever as it seems, but if GhostRunner wants to capture audiences with its narrative, it needs to follow Katana Zero's example.

In other words, it needs to have interesting characters and story-gameplay integration. I see shades of that already in the demo, and the environments show directions a story could go. I'm excited either way.

I'm intrigued enough by GhostRunner to put it on my excited-for list, and you should keep it on your radar as well. Even if it's not your kind of game, it is one that shows what's possible on the latest tech. 

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