A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
While Jack is working towards the overall goal of reclaiming his memories and freedom for what's left of humanity, he's still essentially just a tool being used for a specific role.
Positive Role Models
Jack's actions might lead to a greater goal, but he's doing so more out of necessity than anything else.
Ease of Play
The controls have a steep learning curve and the one-hit kill mechanic means players will die a lot. As players adjust to the controls, they're able to string together more moves in a fluid manner, but one misstep still means instant death.
Violence & Scariness
There's no shortage of blood and gore. The game uses a first-person point of view and the player's main weapon is a sword. This makes kills a close up and personal affair, with a graphic view of bloody dismemberments and eviscerations.
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Profanity regularly occurs, including enemies yelling "F--k you!"
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ghostrunner is a downloadable sci-fi cyberpunk first-person action game available on Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, and Windows based PCs. Players run through a futuristic city in parkour style, dodging attacks and killing any enemies in their way. There's a high level of difficulty due not only to the game's controls, but especially due to it's "one hit, one kill" mechanic which leaves little to no room for error. Violence is not only constant but graphic, with close up views of enemies getting cut into pieces, complete with showers of blood and viscera. Parents should also be aware that various enemies will taunt the player with profanity, which also appears occasionally in the main dialogue of the game.
Is It Any Good?
Failure isn't always just an option, it's sometimes an inevitability. At least that's the case with Ghostrunner, because this game is unforgivingly hard. The controls feel awkward and unintuitive at first, going completely against anything familiar in the first-person action genre. And then there's the punishing one-hit, one-kill mechanic, which is great when it comes to taking out enemies but not so much when you realize the same rule applies to you as well. These elements alone make for a learning curve that's more like a sheer vertical climb. But despite all of this, it's insanely fun to play and nearly impossible to put down. With practice and patience, the controls feel more natural and before too long, you're moving in fluid combos that feel like a real accomplishment.
Ghostrunner is gorgeous, with that mix of grime and neon that's almost a staple of the cyberpunk genre. The visuals are crisp and detailed, and more importantly, keep up with the rapid pace of the game. In fact, once everything clicks, keeping up with the movements is almost too dizzying to follow. This can cause its own set of problems, with the game moving so fast that it's easy to miss things like alternate paths or hidden collectibles with no way to backtrack. It can also make it difficult to see exactly where an enemy is, leading to a quick end from a stray shot seemingly out of nowhere. Which leads to comba, because all players need to do is get one good swing in on an enemy and they're toast. But some enemies use things like shields to block players' attacks, requiring more strategy and maneuvering to get in strikes. Thankfully, upgrades can be found and configured to give players an edge, such as reflecting bullets back at enemies or gaining an extra time-slowing Dash. While these upgrades and abilities help to level the playing field a bit, there's never a moment that you're not still the underdog. Still, as frustrating as your climb through Dharma Tower might seem, progress is always right around the corner and one more life away.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.