It appears that lightning can indeed strike twice. February’s PlayStation Plus line-up includes Planet Coaster: Console Edition, a game that I firmly believe is one of the best PS5 games you’ve probably never played, and Sony is doing it all over again.
The PS Plus free games for March have just been confirmed (via the PlayStation Blog) and among them is another of the console’s most underappreciated gems. This time I’m talking about Ghostrunner, a cyberpunk action platformer that was originally released in 2020 (with a native PS5 version launching last year).
Even if you’re fully booked for the next few weeks, exploring the massive open worlds of Horizon Forbidden West and Elden Ring, here’s why you should clear some time in your gaming schedule to make room for Ghostrunner.
Why you need to play Ghostrunner
Co-developed by Slipgate Ironworks and One More Level, Ghostrunner is a first-person game that casts you as, for lack of a better phrase, a cyborg ninja.
Your goal is to scale the massive Dharma Tower, a futuristic skyscraper that houses the remains of humanity after a global cataclysm. You're on a quest to find the Keymaster, a villainous figure who betrayed you, at the very top. It’s quite a generic sci-fi setup, but Ghostrunner is definitely not a game you play for the story.
As a titular Ghostrunner, you have enhanced abilities including an extensive collection of slick parkour moves. You’ll sprint, jump, wall-run and grapple through a collection of gorgeous cyberpunk interiors. Along the way you’ll encounter plenty of enemies that you can dispatch with your trusty katana.
The wrinkle comes from the fact that both you and your enemies die in one hit. Sure, you can slice through opponents in seconds, but they can gun you down just as quickly. This creates a highly satisfying gameplay loop where you often feel very powerful but still vulnerable at the same time.
Each lengthy level is split into individual rooms and each is its own mini-puzzle. You need to figure out the optimal route to take down all foes while not getting hit yourself, which is often easier said than done. Thanks to instant restarts, frustration is mostly avoided, although some of the later levels may test your patience — it’s not quite Sifu levels of tough, but Ghostrunner can still be pretty challenging in spots.
Ghostrunner is the type of game where you’ll spend 45 minutes trying and failing a single encounter, but where that struggle will be worth it for the feeling of elation you get when you finally nail the perfect run. A standard playthrough lasts around 6-8 hours, which feels an appropriate length as it prevents the game from outstaying its welcome.
But that’s not all
Ghostrunner isn’t the only game coming to PS Plus in March, either. Alongside the cyberpunk action game is Ark: Survival Evolved, a (you guessed it) survival game set in a world filled with prehistoric creatures, plus Team Sonic Racing and Ghost of Tsushima: Legends
The former, a kart racer with Sonic and pals, is a fun one for younger players, while the latter is a surprisingly meaty effort given it started life as a tacked-on co-op mode in an open-world single-player game.
There have been some grumblings online recently about the quality of titles being included in PS Plus, but the likes of Ghostrunner and Planet Coaster: Console Edition suggest that isn't fair. It’s great to see these overlooked games getting their well-deserved time in the spotlight.