- Format: PS4 (version reviewed), Xbox One, PC
- Unleashed: Out Now
- Publisher: Activision
- Developer: FireForge Games
- Players: 1, 2-4 (local co-op)
- Site: https://www.activision.com/games/ghostbusters/ghostbusters
- Game code provided by the publisher
With the new Ghostbusters film now playing in cinemas, the time is ripe for a new Ghostbusters game. We still remember fondly the 2009 game which had the original cast reprise their roles, in what turned out to be the nearest we got to a Ghostbusters 3 film with the original team. So does this new game re-spark the proton pack of nostalgia, or is it more akin to being slimed by the bloated belly of Slimer, the greedy spirit caught stuffing his face with hotdogs?
This Ghostbusters game uses a new cast of characters that have no relation to either the original films or the reboot. There are a total of four characters, two women and two men, perhaps to appease those offended by the fact that the new Ghostbusters team are all female! Each of these characters has a different selection of weapons to make them unique. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for the characters themselves, who are as bland as legendary snooker player Steve ‘Interesting’ Davis on a night out. The same is true of the one-liners and jokes which are so embarrassingly bad, that the characters can regularly be seen shaking their heads and covering their face with their hands (or “Facepalm” for our younger readers). Which is how you feel yourself when you hear the inane banter. There is also no plot to speak of, as the new team receive phone calls from various people who report hauntings that the Ghostbusters need to investigate. There is a slight link with the new film, as the team mention that the girls are out of town, and some of the larger ghosts and the final boss are all in the new movie. But the story is as bare bones as some of the spectres that you face, and could be written on the back of a tarot card.
The weapons the characters carry include uninspired proton versions of assault rifles, shotguns, miniguns, dual-wielded pistols and grenades (to take down smaller apparitions, and help break down larger ghosts’ defences) before unleashing the iconic proton pack to capture them. While trying to catch a ghost, you have to perform a couple of mini games, where you have to rotate the right stick in the direction prompted on the screen, then hit another button to slam the ghost into the deck, which takes down its energy. You need to do this three or four times before you unleash the trap, and tap the relevant button as fast as you can to build up a better bonus multiplier of Ectos. The Ectos are used to rank up your characters and weapons using a simplistic system that lets you increase your characters’ health, speed, and the power of your weapons. There aren’t any extra weapons to buy, which would help alleviate the game’s main problem – it’s very very repetitive.
The game uses an isometric viewpoint, and it controls like a twin-stick shooter, with one stick used for movement and the other controlling where you look and shoot. The graphics are crafted in an attractive cartoon art style, with levels set in places like graveyards, mansions and a ship. These levels are very large, and some of the later levels took about an hour to complete. This would be fine if there was a bit of variety to them, but you basically wander through the level taking down the smaller ghosts like flaming skulls or flying candlesticks before taking on bigger ghosts, until you reach the boss stage at the end of the level. There are health pickups along the way, along with sections where you use your P.K.E. meter to follow a trail of ghostly tracks to the four hidden pickups in each level; and that’s about all there is to it. The ghost catching sections are fun for a while, but even they start to get a bit monotonous after a few hours of play. Another problem is the game is a breeze to play through, with little in the way of challenge, and it was several hours before we needed our comrades to revive us – which only adds to the bore factor. There is a four player co-op option which helped ease the boredom slightly, but this is restricted to local play, and the game doesn’t support online co-op at all.
Unfortunately this game feels like a cheap and quickly made cash-in on the new Ghostbusters film, which is frankly disgraceful, considering this game is a full price title. The source material is perfect for making a decent game, as the 2009 Ghostbusters game proved; but this game is more akin to the slime on Peter Venkman’s boots. For the price they are charging, this game is just not worth the money. Even if it was on PSN or Xbox Live for £10 or so, we would still struggle to recommend it.