Despite the fact that the marketplace has been flooded with Metroidvania style games over the last few years, Ghost 1.0 manages to stand out from the crowd and demand attention. While it proudly wears its influences on its sleeve, Ghost 1.0 also forges an identity all of its own.
Gameplay mixes standard elements from classic Metroidvania titles such as Symphony of the Night and Super Metroid with a frantic, almost Metal Slug-esque, run and gun mechanic. While the controls can at first seem a little cumbersome, it doesn’t take long before they start to feel incredibly intuitive. Using your left hand for movement and right hand for weaponry/shooting with a twin stick control feels really natural. Your character is constantly upgrading and learning new attacks and powers (as one would expect from a title like this), but there is also a surprisingly robust skill tree which gives the game a nice, well-rounded RPG feel. Add to this the multiple gameplay types and challenging bonus missions ,and Ghost 1.0 feels like a very deep game that you can get a lot of mileage out of.
Presentation and level design are excellent and often bring to mind criminally overlooked DS classic Aliens Infestation (which is no bad thing!). Graphics and animation, whilst not exactly technologically astounding, are also great and give the game an almost ‘90s Saturday morning cartoon feel, particularly in the cutscenes. There is an awful lot of character in Ghost 1.0, and the colourful artwork really does pop off the screen nicely.
The soundtrack too is top notch. Clearly influenced by Michiru Yamane’s timeless SOTN soundtrack, it essentially sounds just like “future Castlevania in space” which is pretty much exactly what you’d want (trust us).
With so much going on gameplay-wise, it would be easy to overlook the story, but developers Unepic clearly put a lot of time into it. You play a freelance spy who has been hired by two hackers who wish to infiltrate the space station of a giant and somewhat sinister corporation. The plot is complex and has a fair few twists and turns, but never feels convoluted or contrived. While the cutscenes can be a little too frequent at times in terms of breaking up the gameplay, they never overstay their welcome and the narrative is interesting enough that you never really mind.
Overall this is a fantastic game that easily ranks among the best Metroidvanias of all time. From gameplay, to visuals, to longevity, to soundtrack, we can barely think of anything negative to say about it. Surely a legitimate candidate to be considered amongst the console games of the year, we really can’t recommend Ghost 1.0 enough.
GHOST 1.0 / DEVELOPER: UNEPIC / PUBLISHER: UNEPIC / PLATFORM: PC, PLAYSTATION 4, SWITCH, XBOX ONE (REVIEWED) / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW