JACK is BACK! - Ghostrunner II Bits & Bobs, Twists & Dodges


This is going to be some highlights every now and then, as I'm just getting the feel of the game. I, like many others, have been anxiously awaiting this sequel after the thrill ride the original was. It's also refreshing that despite the graphics looking even better than the original, I can still play it on max settings on my old hardware. It's especially nice after seeing what a hardware hog Alan Wake 2 is.

This one has even better maps, they are at times quite large, with MANY routes and nooks and crannies to explore. This also well facilitates the many collectibles and parts you can find, the latter of which can make you more effective at combat. Jack now basically has a motherboard which you plug skills into, which are acquired as data after defeating enemies. There are also memory shards, which as you collect them increase the number of skill categories you can employ.

Another nice feature they've added are challenges. So far I've only done 3, which were two types, "The Run", and "Shuriken Master". The Run challenges involve hoops you grapple, dash, slide, jump pad, and rail glide through. Shuriken Master challenges involve cubes you toss Shurikens at. And these are more than just for bragging rights on the Bronze, Silver, or Gold medal times you can get, you are also awarded memory shards. I'm not 100% sure if you get a shard for any level of medal, but if you get a Gold, you get a shard.

One minor disappointment so far is collectibles wise, for swords and gauntlets, I've only seen different color schemes for the exact same sword and gauntlet. In the original, you could find different looking swords and gauntlets. The one I liked using was a sort of a jagged cold steel looking thing, with an ice fog coming off it. I'm hoping eventually there will be other swords and gauntlets, but I'm not counting on it.



These are yet another thing you explore to find. They are activated by a terminal somewhere in each level. On the one hand, they can be a bit of a respite from the constant dodging of projectiles and melee attacks. On the other, they can also be another form of stress in trying to memorize a course or cube spawn points, while going as blazing fast as you can. If you manage to improve your time each try though, they are definitely more fun than stress.

Will Bushido Allow It? - Ahriman Boss Fight

This is basically a short but difficult level that comes early in the game involving a pretty cool cutscene and a fight with a big guy whom can move very fast and has a very large supercharged sword. I had a bit of a DOH! Homer Simpson moment after the fight when I saw there was a prompt in the lower left corner of the screen to tap F to call for help from the friendly who's flying around with a jet pack. I think I accidentally tapped it once (and the fight starts with a scripted one too), but other than that, it was just me trying desperately to avoid his attacks.

Setting The Stage

This is just the latter half of a level where a new version of shield generator is used by enemies that's a sort of ground placed power terminal, vs the spherical batteries, which can often be harder to get to. The plus of the terminals is they can be exploded with Shurikens, which also kills nearby enemies. Therefore it became a strategy for me to save the guys wielding dual swords for last, and lure them toward one.

The Hackers Den

This is a very long level with a pretty big map, but I captured all but a very short intro. There are 3 terminals you need to hack, each taking you to the "Cybervoid". It can be hard to figure out first playthrough, as at times you come to spots that you cannot gain access to until you get to higher places. This level is also the first that introduces the big mechs seen in the original game. A nice new feature though is wall panels you can pull down to crush enemies standing near them.

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Here's a few more vids, the Behind The Curtain level, the Slasher challenge in it, and a clip from a combat simulator at the HQ.

Behind The Curtain

This level ushers in a new ability called Shadow. It allows you to at any point split yourself in two, leaving one behind, and become invisible for a short period. The body you leave behind also acts as a sort of decoy. This level uses many beams of light you can interrupt with the body you leave behind, which opens doors, makes wall run panels solid, monkey bars pop out, etc.

This is a long level, and took many tries to get through. One of the problems I was having was dealing with the enemy that wields dual swords. In the Hacker's Den level I was resorting to dodging him, but had a hard time doing it here. I found out all I was doing wrong trying to kill him via a counter was tapping, vs holding block. You still have to time it, but it's far more consistent, so I use that method now.

Near the end of this level we hear a familiar voice, "Whisper" (AKA the Architect), the main villain we thought we killed at the end of the first game. He's now determined to convince you the old world is dead, and that you should join with him. He is the man "Behind The Curtain", and when Jack finally meets up with his huge holographic face, he says, "You shouldn't have peeked!"

Behind The Curtain - Slasher Challenge

This is a another type of challenge in which you have to defeat all enemies, with the time doing so resulting in Gold through Bronze medals again. A handful of the enemies are drones, some of which are placed pretty high, so there's only one or two practical routes to take. I managed to just squeak out a gold without using Flux, a laser type device. I've only seen one other person on YT do it that way. AFAIK, completing this challenge rewards you with more than just a memory shard, but Blink instead, a way to kill two enemies at once instantly.

Simulation - Stage 1 - Final Battle

I have to apologize on this one, as after taking so many tries to get the Behind The Curtain level finished, I'd forgotten I captured the whole stage, which is a handful of battles plus one or two lottery type rounds where you take a chance whether the item you select will be granted. Unfortunately I'd already deleted the raw clip before I remembered I captured the whole stage. However my main purpose of showing this was to demonstrate that we now have a combat simulator at HQ, which is not only a way to practice different types of battle scenarios, but also get new skins for your gauntlet, sword, or bike once you complete them.

In summary, I made the mistake of focusing too much on just the combat in Behind The Curtain, so only found 5 of the 9 memory shards. I will likely play this level over to get the ones I missed before taking on the next one, which is a boss fight level against Rahu The Avatar. It looks like a ton of fast, on the rails platforming mostly, but also some battling of course.
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