Sometimes the title of a game hints at what to expect. Ghost Blade HD is not one of those games, it features neither ghosts nor blades; hope we did not disappoint you there. It is in fact the latest bullet hell shmup to fire its way onto the PS4. Ghost Blade HD is the ultimate in bullet hell shoot’em ups, expect bullets, loads of them!
The original Ghost Blade was released on the Dreamcast in 2015 (yes really) and it has that retro look right from the start as you’re met with the good old-fashioned Single Player, Two Player menu and a Training and Score Attack mode too. Simple and direct, this shoot’em up leaves the fancy stuff for later. You have a choice of three different ships with different firing abilities and different pilots. They’re not your normal flight lieutenant squadron type of pilot either. They are female, wear spandex and probably whips and day jobs on Channel XXX. Who knows?
Jumping in, the game comes with three different types of difficulty, and you’re immediately thrown into chaos. It’s a controlled chaos that builds well, never too much and never too little. The action is centre stage, and the screen has borders either side, which is a good thing, as you’ll mostly be gazing at the middle of the TV screen. These borders come with different graphics so you can change them if you find some too overpowering. Once Ghost Blade HD kicks in, however, the border is the last thing you’ll worry about, as you’ll be dodging, ducking, diving and not taking your finger off the fire button. Here a slick, visually bright and intense shooter explodes out of the screen.
You have two different firing weapons; a direct targeted one and one that throws its bullets wide and far. If you find yourself in trouble you can let loose your smart bomb. Naturally, you only get a few of these. There are moments where all seems impossible to pass, but learning bullet patterns and where the bigger craft enter from help overcome the tricky stages. Thankfully, with the help of upgrades, your ship quickly becomes a powerhouse of a craft; tooled up and ready to blast through the game’s five stages. This may not be the longest marathon of a shooter, but there is a good challenge ahead. While you may whip through the stages with ease if you’re playing on Easy mode with a friend taking the helm as Two Player but play it on the Medium or Hard settings and you’ll have your work cut out for you.
Ghost Blade HD keeps action rolling continually. Restarts are quick and the game has no cutscenes. It’s music rolls out some awesome electro vibes too with a string of 90’s synth tracks that warrant an increase in volume. Online leaderboards and thirty-seven trophies including a Platinum are on offer.
Where Ghost Blade HD excels is that it welcomes new players to the genre yet caters for the seasoned pro at the same time. There are so many reasons to return; you can try different crafts, up the difficulty or blast away at Score attack mode. Ghost Blade HD is an eyeful and delivers in every area – it’s fast, slick and just damn cool.
Lizard Rating 8/10
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