The new Ghostbusters movie came in for an unholy amount of criticism prior to and after its release, mainly from cretins whose were unable to see that an all-female rendition of Ghostbusters didn’t signal the end of human civilisation. Sadly, despite being an amusing and well put together take on the mythology, it still struggled to gain a huge amount of traction with viewers, and though it made over $220 million at the worldwide box office, chances of a sequel are looking slim.
However, with the release of the first wave of new packs for the second year of LEGO Dimensions, the Ghostbusters rise again, as the new central story pack. It allows you to play through the entirety of the 2016 movie in adorable Lego form. Taking the key moments and crafting six levels around them, this is the most substantial add-on to the Dimensions platform yet, bringing with it a new kit for your portal, as well as a fresh new Melissa McCarthy Lego figurine and her Ecto 1.
Later in the year, we’re also getting a larger tie-in pack for Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them, and the key question will be just how much value these packs provide for their £30+ asking price, and whether we should be disappointed in losing out on another full-length narrative from a true Dimensions sequel.
As in the movie things start with reports of paranormal activity at the Aldridge Manor in New York, which in turn draws the new team to investigate, throwing former friends Abby (Melissa McCarthy) and Erin (Kristen Wiig) together with off-the-wall engineer Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), while subway operative Patty (Leslie Jones) completes the group later on. Sadly it seems as though the pack’s budget didn’t stretch to the original voice-cast, and you’re mostly left with sound-a-like voice work which is, let’s say, variable in quality.
While there’s only an Abby mini-figure in the pack – and it’s an immense shame there isn’t the full cast – you can control all of the Ghostbusters through the course of the story, with each of them sporting the various abilities we’ve seen doled out across the Dimensions’ roster before. You don’t actually need any other characters at all to make it through, though as with the original game there are tons of areas and collectibles you won’t be able to access without a specific figure, or by going through the rent-a-hero option for a chunk of your studs.
It still remains a pleasure to throw all of your characters together – placing new addition BA Baracus and his van into a Ghostbusters game is a demented 80s child’s dream – but it does detract a little from the set narrative you’re playing through here.
Straight off the bat, we see new functions for the Dimensions portal, with Rip allowing you to jump between different dimensions in order to solve puzzles. You have a yellow and a purple portion of the light-up Toy Pad panel, while the central white panel returns you to where you started.
In this first instance, the yellow dimension houses a disco dimension with a glitter ball that gets sucked back to your dimension, while the purple one contains a somewhat less interesting “box-opening robot”. Solving the extra areas sees the bricks you need appear through a portal to the real world, and it’s here that you can see the fiction really supports the technology. Unfortunately there aren’t really the same level of portal-based conundrums that the original game had, making progress relatively straightforward.
Soon enough you get to one of the highlights of LEGO Dimensions – a build – and in this case it’s up there with last season’s DeLorean, as you’re making a tiny LEGO version of the new Ghostbusters’ Ecto 1. My son Noah and I have had a lot of fun with Dimensions over the last year, including actually just playing with the vehicles in the real world, and on the whole the tiny models really stand up to physical play with this new one being no different.
This is swiftly followed by the new portal build – Zhu’s Chinese Restaurant – which is nice and substantial, if a little flimsy, and took us both a good hour to put together. It looks great all lit up, though clearly it lacks the same visual and nostalgic impact as the classic films’ fire station would have had. It’s a shame that you’re treated to a rather rubbish ‘follow the estate agent’ section beforehand.
There are some disappointing technical faults with the Ghostbusters pack, with occasional slowdown during cut-scenes, serious pop-in in open areas, and a central world hub that feels empty and only has a draw distance of about five buildings. The connecting area is – much like the Ghostbusters’ new Chinese restaurant home – a bit low-rent, and that’s a shame when the production values elsewhere live up to Dimensions’ legacy.
There are the age-old LEGO game problems here too, including the indefinite platforming, annoying team AI, and character-switching annoyances that simply won’t go away. The blame for those can’t be laid-bare at the feet of Ghostbusters, but they continue to detract from the experience.
This Ghostbusters Story Pack is a great addition to both franchises – with a couple of caveats. Interest in the narrative itself, and the included portal, figure and vehicle, are going to be limited by your take on the new film, and while I had a good time with it, I know others who would have preferred a full-on Lego game for the original movies. Equally, just as in the new film, there are occasional moments here that possibly aren’t that suitable for younger children. Overall though this is a worthy and substantial addition to Dimensions that fans of both franchises should greatly enjoy.
Version Tested: PS4