Around a year and a half ago I took a look at the original Ghostrunner. As soon as I started playing I became a really big fan of the game as the combination of parkour and melee combat was addicting. When I heard that the game was finally getting its first major DLC I was excited to see what else the game had to offer. Ghostrunner – Project_Hel takes the fun gameplay of the original and tweaks it into a unique experience that fans of the original game will love.
Ghostrunner – Project_Hel acts as a prequel to the original game. You play as Hel who was one of the bosses you defeated in the original game. Hel has been dispatched by Mara to end the Climber’s rebellion before it threatens the current power structure of Dharma Tower.
The gameplay of Ghostrunner – Project_Hel is both similar and different from the original game. The game is still a blend of parkour platforming and combat. The battles require planning and quick movements as the amount of damage you can take is limited. When you die you will be sent back to the last checkpoint you reached. Between the combat sections you will be jumping across gaps, running along walls, and performing other parkour skills.
The gameplay has two major changes to suit the new character that you are playing as.
As Hel was designed to be a killing machine, combat has a bigger emphasis in the game. You will encounter more combat scenarios and have to face more enemies in each one. All enemies are one-hit kills, but so are you with one exception. You only have access to one special ability which allows you to shoot energy beams out of your sword. This is recharged by collecting pickups scattered around the world as well as by killing enemies. This energy fills your rage meter which allows you to use your special ability, and when it reaches a high enough level it will provide a shield which will protect you against one attack.
On the parkour side Hel has one major addition. When you press the dash button while jumping time will slow down like the original game. In addition to slowing down time, your jump path will be highlighted which allows you to aim where you ultimately want to jump. This is combined with the fact that you can jump considerably higher/farther than in the original game. These new jumping abilities are added to the parkour skills of the original game.
Heading into Ghostrunner – Project_Hel I personally thought it was mostly going to be just more Ghostrunner with new levels. This by itself would have been fine as I really enjoyed the original game. I was ultimately a little surprised though as while the game shares similarities with the original game, it plays quite a bit differently as well. This mostly comes from the character you play as. Jack was a more methodical character as you had to plan out how to attack each situation. This required a lot more trial and error as you got the timing and order of moves down correctly.
The gameplay in Ghostrunner – Project_Hel is much faster and requires less planning in my opinion. A lot of this has to deal with the fact that Hel can build up protection from attacks if you kill enough enemies. Being able to jump further and precisely know where you are going to land helps as well. While moving in slow motion you can line up your jump to land right in front of an enemy and kill them before they can hit you. Instead of having to follow a certain path in order to be successful, I found that you could be much more flexible in the DLC as long as you keep moving.
I wouldn’t say that this is necessarily better or worse than the original game, just different. I enjoyed the original game and I thought the DLC was a great addition as well. I think some people will prefer the gameplay of the DLC, and some will prefer the original game. I don’t have a strong favorite as I enjoy both for their own reasons. Ultimately if you enjoyed the original game, I think you will really enjoy the DLC as well.
One thing that I think the DLC improves upon the original game is the level design. What I liked about the level design of Ghostrunner – Project_Hel is that each section feels larger and more open. This gives you more flexibility in combat while also creating more variety in the locales. In particular the collectibles are harder to acquire as they are hidden better and require a keener eye to spot how to reach them. Instead of having to approach situations in very specific ways, the DLC gives you more flexibility due to having a larger area to explore.
While it only seems natural to play the DLC after playing the main game, I wanted to quickly talk about whether you actually have to beat the original game to play Ghostrunner – Project_Hel. You don’t have to actually play the original game before checking out the DLC as the game is a prequel. I think you will get more out of the story though if you already know about the characters. Having a familiarity with the gameplay will help, but Hel plays different enough that I don’t think you need to beat the original game before trying out the DLC. I personally would probably recommend playing the original game first, but if you really want to I don’t really see how playing the DLC before completing the original game would hurt the experience in a significant way.
As for Ghostrunner – Project_Hel I will say that I actually found the DLC to be quite a bit easier than the original game. This does not mean that the game is easy, as it isn’t. You will still die quite a bit and be reset to your previous checkpoint. I attribute the fact that the DLC is easier to the new abilities you get access to. Being able to see where your dash will land along with the game providing you a bigger jump makes the platforming easier while also giving you more options for movement during fights. Hel is a much stronger fighter as well since you can really mow down enemies. While the game usually has more enemies, they are easier to dispatch as you can get around the world quicker and the temporary shield allows you to protect yourself from a hit every so often. The game is still challenging enough where you will feel a sense of accomplishment beating it. At the same time it avoids some of the frustrating moments of the original game. If you were looking for the DLC to be as challenging as the original game though, I think you will be disappointed.
With Ghostrunner – Project_Hel only being DLC for the original game, I didn’t expect the game to be particularly long. While I enjoyed playing the game, I wouldn’t say that it is a long game. At max I would say that it is half the length of the original game if not even shorter. The length will somewhat depend on a couple of factors. How good you are at the game will play a role. As the game is easier than the original game, you likely won’t have to repeat sections as many times which will make the game play quicker. The other factor is whether you are mostly interested in just beating the game or if you are also interested in finding all of the collectibles. The collectibles are quite a bit harder to find in the DLC in my opinion as they generally have more indirect paths to get to them. With all this said I would guess that most players could beat Ghostrunner – Project_Hel within 2-4 hours. I wish the DLC was longer, but I really enjoyed what it had to offer. I just wish there was more to it as I was really enjoying it when it ended.
In many ways Ghostrunner – Project_Hel was what I expected from the first major DLC for Ghostrunner, and yet it kind of surprised me as well. The parkour and melee combat returns, yet it also feels different. Where the original game relies more on planning and methodical movement, the DLC is much faster and gives you more flexibility. Hel jumps considerably further and is stronger in combat allowing you to slice through enemies much quicker. While quite a bit different, the gameplay is still really fun. In some ways the level design is even better than the original. With more flexibility though, I did find the game to be quite a bit easier than the main game. It is also on the shorter side which isn’t all that surprising due to the fact that that it is DLC after all.
My recommendation for Ghostrunner – Project_Hel is actually quite simple. If you have not played the original Ghostrunner, I would recommend checking it out before picking up the DLC. Fans of the original game though should highly consider picking up Ghostrunner – Project_Hel as it is a great addition to the game bringing you more of what is great about the original game while also being a unique experience as well.
Ghostrunner – Project_Hel
Release Date: March 3rd, 2022
Systems: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
Developer: One More Level, 3D Realms, Slipgate Ironworks™, All in! Games
Publisher: 505 Games
Genres: Action, DLC, Indie, Platformer
Official Website: ghostrunnergame.com/
- Maintains the fun gameplay of the original game.
- The level design is arguably better than the original game and plays quite a bit differently.
- On the shorter side at only 2-4 hours.
- Quite a bit easier than the original game.
Recommendation: 3.5/5 For fans of the original game that want an interesting twist on the formula.
We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank One More Level, 3D Realms, Slipgate Ironworks™, and All in! Games for the review copy of Ghostrunner – Project_Hel used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.