If you spent any time in an arcade, especially an arcade in the 90’, then Ghost Blade HD might just put a tingle in your joystick, or your gamepad if that’s how you do it. Developer Hucast Games actually released Ghost Blade HD in 2015 for the Dreamcast, and I can only imagine that they noticed a shortage of shoot ‘em ups on current consoles and thought that Ghost Blade HD was just the title to fill the pixilated spaceship sized hole in the market.
If you’ve ever played a shoot ‘em up—or shmup as those ultra cool guys in the know call them—then you know the drill. You fly a tiny ship against innumerous enemies, dodge crazy amounts of enemy fire and blast everything out of the sky as you progress to the end of the level, where in the case of Ghost Blade HD, you square off against one of five end-of-level bosses.
You start out with a choice of 3 ships, each piloted by a different well-endowed female pilot, because … of course they are. Each ship (and lady) has a unique set of weapons, but ultimately it’s the traditional single fire, focused fire and bombs for when the sh@# hits the fan. And the fan gets satisfyingly dirty (sorry) in Ghost Blade HD, as the screen is constantly full of bad guys and enemy fire to dip and dodge.
As I mentioned, there are only five levels and because of this, the “campaign” is pretty short. Although I’ll admit I didn’t even come close to beating the game on hard, so there is some replay-ability in that regard if you’re into that. Like any good bullet hell game, born from the likes of Space Invaders and Asteroids, the idea isn’t to beat the campaign, but to rise up that leaderboard one silver quarter at a time and, when the dust settles, punch those initials in with pride. I feel that is where the good folks at Hucast Games put their focus and mostly succeeded. The gameplay is simple, but difficult to master and climbing that leaderboard feels pretty good.
The biggest problem with Ghost Blade HD is that it never really innovates or elevates the genre, leaving you with the same tried and true gameplay, that other titles have done just as well if not better. The levels have their high points, but each one dips into redundancy, and I found 3 of the 5 bosses a bit lackluster. If you’re new to genre, the three difficulty levels (and the training mode) make it user-friendly to jump in and enjoy, but fans of the genre won’t get anything new. The co-op mode is a nice addition, although the balancing seemed a bit off, making it a little too easy.
Ghost Blade HD PS4 Review
The gameplay is frantic but ultimately redundant. The short campaign may turn off some, but for a measly 10 bucks, fans of the genre, who don't have many bullet hell games to choose from on current consoles, will probably get their money's worth.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a digital copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using base PS4.