DLC Review – Ghostrunner Project_Hel
Released back in late 2020, Ghostrunner is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of my favourite games released in recent years; I even went as far as giving it a 10/10. It impressed me thanks to its ridiculously fast-paced, wall-running gameplay, mixed with challenging encounters, tough combat and fantastic level design. To top things off, the game was highly repayable, with an addictive gameplay loop that kept me coming back for more and more. I was very much looking forward to any DLC coming out for it, and here we are with the first one. Time to give Project_Hel a closer look.
Project_Hel takes place a bit before the events of the main game. As you may (or may not) remember, Hel was one of the major bosses that you’d eventually encounter during your journey. Awakened by Mara after her own rebellion has taken control of Darma city, Hel is sent out to stop the climbers’ resistance and anyone who opposes Mara. There’s more to this story, however, with the lingering question of Hel having an agenda of her own, or not.
Granted, this isn’t a DLC expansion that lingers too heavily on its storytelling aspects, focusing rather on the past events we had already heard about in the base game. We do get to see a bit more of what happened before the awakening of the titular Ghostrunner, though, and that’s always a good thing. Hel herself is a surprising fun character to play, constantly disobeying Mara’s commands in order to avoid casualties. It’s actually rather amusing to see a different side to a character that was originally a simple boss fight in the original. A pretty good move.
As expected, being a DLC expansion, this retains that same fantastic sense of speed and agility from the base game. Hel can still wallrun and jump like the Ghostrunner, but she does have access to a handful of different (and exclusive) abilities. Jumping now launches Hel forward, whilst her dash has an arch. A simple change, granted, but it does a good enough job of differentiating the two characters from each other, also changing the overall flow of the game. Hel also has a rage meter, which replaces the Ghostrunner’s basic abilities. The more kills you perform, the more your meter charges up, eventually letting you use a surge attack or even survive a single shot. Hel also has her own upgrade window.
With a change to the overall game flow, some other changes were also bound to occur, namely with the overall level design. There’s less emphasis on the wall running angle, with the game leaning more heavily on the usage of Hel’s unique abilities. As such, you will be doing more leaping around than ever before in order to deal with new threats. Then we have a few new boss fights, which were honestly rather disappointing. I also need to point out that Project_Hel ended up being significantly easier than the base game.
Unfortunately, Project_Hel felt just a little bit lacking. One of its biggest issues is its length, as it lasts for, at the very most, 90 minutes or so. With that being said, the combat encounters are fun and do enough to change up the game’s core formula. There’s not enough platforming that really makes Hel’s movement abilities shine. It’s also lacking when it comes to a hardcore mode. The base game eventually received post-launch, so I’m hopeful that a similar add-on is currently being developed for this expansion.
Ghostrunner Project_Hel is a fun, if a little bit short-lived expansions. Hel is an interesting character and it was great seeing a little bit more of the world that the base game introduced but rarely explored. Whilst it’s great to be back in the fantastic world of Ghostrunner, with some new abilities to spice up gameplay a little bit more, there’s just not enough content in here to keep you entertaining for more than an hour or two.
Final Verdict: 7.5
Ghostrunner Project_Hel is available now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC and Switch.
Reviewed on PC.
A copy of Ghostrunner Project_Hel was provided by the publisher.