Screenshot of Ghostrunner 2 with a laser beam stretching from the protagonist to a distant enemy on a cyberpunk rooftop.

Ghostrunner 2: The best skills to unlock throughout the campaign

By Jason Rodriguez, Contributor

Ghostrunner 2 promises fast and frantic action in a dystopian cyberpunk world. Developed by One More Level and published by 505 Games, Ghostrunner 2 pits you against vicious enemies—but be careful, because a single hit is enough to take out your character. Survival is of the essence.

Don’t worry though, because we’ve put together a guide to Ghostrunner 2’s best skills, with top picks that should help as you progress further in the campaign. Below, we detail how to unlock the best skills and how to equip them. We also break down the available options for each category, including our suggestions on what you should choose. Hopefully, with a little help, your character will be well-prepared for the battles ahead.

How to unlock and equip skills in Ghostrunner 2

To unlock and equip the best skills in Ghostrunner 2, you’ll need to acquire Data. This currency can be obtained from enemy kills and challenge completions. Once you have enough Data, interact with a GR Augmentation Unit, a pod-like machine found in the Dharma Tower hub (and in other locations later in the campaign). This panel shows you the skill chips you can purchase using Data. More skills become available as you progress through the game.
Ghostrunner 2 Best Skills Guide 1a
Once purchased, open the menu and select the Motherboard tab. Here, you’ll see a screen where you can equip your unlocked skills. There are some caveats, however:

  • Every skill chip has its own corresponding cost in Data, as well as Memory slots.
  • Only a limited number of slots are available early in the game. To increase your Motherboard’s level, you’ll need to collect Memory Shards, purple chips that are scattered throughout various levels.
  • By default, each column only lets you equip skills that belong to the same category. To remove this restriction, you’ll need the Rooting skill chip (more on that below).
  • Some perks have bonus effects depending on where you place them on the Motherboard panel, such as being in the last/topmost slot in a column or being surrounded by other chips.

Ghostrunner 2 Best Skills Guide 1b

Sword skills

The Sword skills provide additional effects when you use your blade in Ghostrunner 2. Here are some examples:

  • Smart Deflect: Deflected projectiles return to where they came from. Costs 8,000 Data and 3 Memory.
  • Fear Stimulator: Performing a perfect parry regenerates 35% energy. Regenerates 50% energy if there are no adjacent chips on both sides. Costs 5,500 Data and 3 Memory.
  • Short Circuit: Performing a perfect parry electrocutes enemies around you. Costs 8,500 Data and 5 Memory.
  • Blade Coating: Block Scorchman and Chook laser attacks. Costs 6,000 Data and 5 Memory.
  • Sharpened Blade: Can slash through a blocking enemy at the cost of 40% of your stamina. Has no stamina penalty if there are no adjacent chips installed. Costs 10,000 Data and 8 Memory.

Smart Deflect is the one Sword skill that you’ll want throughout the campaign, as it helps you take out opponents armed with guns. Later you can unlock Blade Coating and Sharpened Blade, though those are purely optional.
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System skills

System skills offer utility boosts that also affect other core gameplay mechanics:

  • Tactical Overlay: Enemies are outlined in red. Costs 4,500 Data and 2 Memory.
  • Smooth Moves: Performing a perfect parry and deflecting projectiles is a lot easier. Costs 4,000 Data and 3 Memory.
  • Air Focus: Killing an enemy in mid-air slows down time for two seconds—or three seconds if there are no adjacent chips. Costs 7,500 Data and 2 Memory.
  • Ultimate Booster I: Increases the level of your ultimate abilities. Costs 6,000 Data and 3 Memory.
  • Ultimate Booster II: Increases the level of your ultimate abilities. Costs 6,000 Data and 3 Memory.
  • Rooting: You can install chip upgrades on the Motherboard regardless of their type. Costs 12,000 Data and 8 Memory.

The System perks category has some of the best skills in Ghostrunner 2. Early on, you’ll want to acquire Smooth Moves to increase the parry and deflection windows, which will certainly help against enemy combatants. There’s also the aforementioned Rooting perk, which lets you slot any purchased chip in any column regardless of its type, bypassing the default restriction. Lastly, you’ve got the two Ultimate Booster perks, which apply additional effects to your ultimates, making them deadlier when cast.
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Traversal skills

As the term implies, Traversal skills affect how much stamina you consume and how you move about using your dashes:

  • Artificial Senses: Sensory Boost costs 25% less stamina. Costs 500 Data and 1 Memory.
  • Hydraulics Adjustment: Dashing costs 15% less stamina. Costs 5,500 Data and 3 Memory.
  • Ghost Thrusters: Dashing during combat makes you invulnerable to all projectiles and melee attacks, but it also uses 10% more stamina. Costs 5,500 Data and 4 Memory.
  • Tactical Retreat: Dashing backwards launches you into the air. Costs 5,000 Data and 5 Memory.
  • Long-Distance Thrusters: Dashing while on the ground launches you 50% further, but it uses 25% more stamina. You’re launched 75% further if there are no adjacent chips installed. Costs 6,000 Data and 3 Memory.

Artificial Senses is the one mandatory pick among all of Ghostrunner 2’s Traversal skill options. Considering how often you’ll use Sensory Boost to slow down time, lowering its cost is beneficial in the long run. Later, you can install Ghost Thrusters, but be forewarned that you’re only invincible during the dash animation, and it’s still possible to get hit just as the animation ends.
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Flow skills

Flow perks focus primarily on your combo counter, which increases as you slay consecutive enemies within a short duration:

  • Flow Energy Regen: Fully regenerates your energy when your combo counter reaches x11. This decreases to x9 if socketed in the topmost slot of a column. Costs 6,500 Data and 3 Memory.
  • Flow Extension: Your combo multiplier lasts 50% longer, or 100% longer if it’s surrounded by chips on all sides. Costs 8,500 Data and 4 Memory.
  • Flow Booster: Increases your movement speed by 5% for each multiplier in your combo counter. Costs 9,000 Data and 7 Memory.
  • Flow Shield: Become protected from one deadly hit while your combo counter is at x10—or x8 if the chip is in the topmost slot of a column. Costs 7,000 Data and 8 Memory.
  • Flow Surge: Launch a Surge projectile when your combo counter is at x6—or x5 if there are two or fewer chips in a column. Costs 9,000 Data and 7 Memory.
  • Flow Stamina Regen: Fully regenerates your stamina when your combo counter reaches x6—or x5 if there are two or fewer chips in a column. Costs 7,500 Data and 4 Memory.

Flow Extension is easily one of the best and most useful skills in Ghostrunner 2. There are many situations when you want to slow down the pace of the encounter, but you still want to maximize your combo multiplier. Likewise, you’ve got Flow Booster and Flow Shield, which grant increased movement speed and temporary protection against instant-death, respectively.
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Shuriken skills

The Shuriken is a tool that you’ll use often throughout the campaign, and there are some skills that grant it additional effects:

  • Oiled Machinery: Shurikens cost 20% less energy. Costs 5,500 Data and 3 Memory.
  • Tracking System: Hit enemies more easily with the Shuriken. Costs 8,500 Data and 6 Memory.
  • Gap-Blinker: Blink toward a stunned enemy instead of Gap-Jamming. Costs 7,500 Data and 7 Memory.
  • Energy Distribution: Launch three Shurikens instead of one, but the action costs 30% more energy. Other upgrades affect the additional projectiles if there are two or fewer chips in the same column. Costs 8,000 Data and 7 Memory.

We feel that Oiled Machinery is the best Shuriken skill in Ghostrunner 2, since you throw projectiles to stun Mechs, Tentacles, and various large foes. It’s also fairly cost-effective when compared to the other options.
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Tempest skills

The Tempest ability allows you to push away hostiles that are in front of you—and potentially grapple toward them to follow up with a melee strike. There are a few passives boons you can unlock:

  • Pressure Extender: Increases the range of the Tempest ability by 50%, but it uses up 30% more energy. The range is increased by 100% if the chip is surrounded by others. Costs 7,500 Data and 8 Memory.
  • Custom Pressure Chamber: Tempest casting costs 20% less energy. Costs 6,500 Data and 3 Memory.
  • Pressure Adjustment: Tempest kills enemies instead of pushing them away, but uses up all your remaining energy. Costs 9,000 Data and 7 Memory.
  • Proximity Shield: Enemies and projectiles around you are pushed away. Costs 5,500 Data and 3 Memory.

Sadly, we don’t recommend any of the Tempest perks due to their Memory costs. Custom Pressure Chamber is the most viable one as you only need 3 Memory to equip it—but even then, there are better options from the other categories.
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Shadow skills

The Shadow ability creates a holographic copy of Jack, while he himself turns invisible for the duration. This allows him to move freely to another spot. The copy can also block beams in puzzle sections.

  • Shadow Booster: Increases your speed by 40% when the Shadow skill is active. Costs 9,000 Data and 4 Memory.
  • Advanced Hologram Projector: The Shadow skill uses up 20% less energy. Costs 6,000 Data and 5 Memory.
  • Multitasking: The Shadow skill uses up 20% more energy, but the Shuriken and Tempest skills use up 50% less energy after casting. The Shuriken and Tempest skills don’t use up any energy if there are no installed chips on both sides. Costs 8,000 Data and 10 Memory.
  • Static Shock: The Shadow skill uses up 20% more energy, but the hologram triggers an electrical discharge when the effect ends. Costs 5,500 Data and 1 Memory.

The Multitasking perk is very expensive, but it’s also one of the best skills in Ghostrunner 2. As long as you place it in a slot that has no other chips beside it, you can cast Shadow, then spam Shuriken and Tempest at your leisure. This is further complemented by Static Shock’s electrical discharge and low Memory cost.
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Rootkit skills

The Rootkit perks in Ghostrunner 2 are related to your stamina and energy usage, though there are also certain penalties:

  • Energy Absorption: When you perform an action in combat and you don’t have enough stamina, your energy will be drained instead. Lowers stamina regeneration by 20%. Costs 7,500 Data and 3 Memory.
  • Adrenaline Injector: Killing an enemy regenerates 40% of your stamina, but you will no longer be able to Gap-Jam toward a stunned enemy. Costs 6,500 Data and 4 Memory.

Adrenaline Injector might sound nifty at first, but be careful since it prevents you from grappling toward stunned foes. This limits you to dashing just to hit them before they’re able to move, which can be very risky.

Hopefully these skills will keep you alive as you explore the cyberpunk world of Ghostrunner 2, available now on the Epic Games Store. And if you’ve yet to check out the events of the first game, pick up Ghostrunner: The Complete Edition while you’re at it.