Ghostbusters Review

And it don't look good.

Why are movie tie in video games universally rubbish? Well it’s pretty obvious when you think about it. Every other video game starts as an idea, a spark in someone’s mind that gets that person excited enough to devote years of their lives to making them, whereas a movie tie in is a vehicle to make more money off someone else’s idea. Often pushed to do this in a short space of time, it’s no surprise so many of them come out badly.

With that in mind, it’s pleasantly surprising to find that Fireforge, developers of the new Ghostbusters game, have absolutely nailed it with the first level of the game. The rebooted Ghostbusters are busting something out of town, leaving a new team to look after New York. They’re a sassy bunch – bonus points for letting me play as a big bearded ginger guy – rendered in an art style rather like the old Real Ghostbusters cartoon, and all fully voiced, though there is only one CGI cut scene at the start.

Each level takes the same format, as you wind your way through the location, viewed from an isometric perspective, and hunt the ghosts. With local co-op, up to four players can join in, each Ghostbuster having a proton pack as standard, as well as a specific weapon and grenade. The grenades can stun and shock ghosts and you can combine their effects to really slow the ghosts down.

Some ghosts appear as you wander round, while others have to be located by waving the PK meter around and scanning for slimey markings. The small ghosts, which can take the form of zombies, books, and haunted candles, can be dispatched by sinply shooting them, but the larger enemies need to be softened up with some bullets before being trapped using the proton beams. Wrestling a ghost around with the proton pack is a highlight of the game, with the controller juddering around as you fight the ghost, pushing back and forth as you wear its health down before slamming it in to a ghost trap via a button mashing mini game.

Earlier levels can be cleared in fifteen minutes, but the later levels set on the ship are much larger and offer more paths to explore, and consequently can take much longer to finish. It’s not a particularly long game though, and the whole thing can easily be completed in around seven hours.

Ghostbusters-IL1

Fighting ghosts, many of which are borrowed from the new film, and locating strange devices (also from the film) reward you with Ecto, an XP system that can upgrade your health, speed, and weapons. There’s not much more to it, though. Weapons upgrades simply make them a little more powerful, rather than give you new ones, and levelling up you character doesn’t do anything other than make the number beside them bigger.

The graphics are cute and polished, although there’s little in the way of fancy visual effects, and the sound is similarly well done with the unmistakable thrum of proton beams blending with cheeky one liners and the screams of the undead. That said, some of the sound effects do seem to have been lifted from Team Fortress 2.

The problem is that once you have played the first level, you’ve seen everything in the game. Every level is the same trudge through corridors until you reach a larger area to fight a bigger ghost, with the same ghosts repeated over and over again each level. There’s no plot, no cutscenes to enjoy, no character arcs, just identical levels to wander through until you finish the game with the same, once amusing now tiresome, one liners repeated.

Even when then game does try to do something a little different, by adding a shield to one of the boss characters, you don’t need to do anything special, just shoot it. Every boss is just a big bullet sponge that can be beaten by running around in circles, and the health system is totally pointless as once it reaches zero your team mates can revive you straight back to full health. There is no variation to the gameplay over the whole tiresome campaign, which cheekily offers you “remixed” levels to go back and play, not that you would ever want to.

What’s Good:

  • Busting does make you feel good, for a little while
  • Ray Parker rather than Fallout Boy
  • Slimer!

What’s Bad:

  • Very, very repetitive
  • Very, very repetitive
  • Very, very repetitive

The one saving grace is that Ghostbusters is dull rather than boring. Played in short bursts, a level or two at a time, it’s still rather fun, even more so when you have some friends in tow. Parents with young children who fancy a break from endless LEGO titles may also consider a look at Ghostsbusters, but for everyone else, I recommended you hunt down the far superior Ghostbusters: The Video Game from 2009.

Score: 4/10

Version Tested: PlayStation 4

Written by
News Editor at TheSixthAxis, DJ, Producer of UK#1 album, writer of boppy dance tunes, cat daddy, porn star, gym bunny, #TeamGay, and massively inappropriate. Probs fancies your dad.

16 Comments

  1. Ooh, little bit off putting. May pick this up to play with my boy if we get to see a decent price reduction.

  2. Still, can’t be as bad as the movie though, surely?

    (The remake I mean, not the original.)

    • The remake with generally good reviews which made more money in it’s first weekend than the original did? (Adjusting 1984 money into 2016 money)

      Not turning into the disaster some people were hoping it would, is it?

      The game does appear to be as bad as was to be expected though.

      • That’s quite the reaction, MrYd! hahaha… Whoosh.

        Do keep in mind that Ghostbusters (2016) has almost a guaranteed chance to take more on the opening weekend seeing as it’s already a much-loved franchise. Get that emotive-fuelled logic out of here. :-P

      • Of course it made more money than the original. This is exactly the problem I have with movie studios at the moment. Why take a risk on a new original idea when you can churn out a reboot, sequel, prequel, or spin-off and be guaranteed income regardless of quality?

    • I’m going to see the new Ghostbusters movie tonight but I’m not a huge fan of the original so I haven’t really been swayed by the backlash and the reviews seem pretty decent. It’s had a similar reception to the original I believe. The trailer was awful but I’m willing to give it a chance. Really looking forward to it.

      I watched Ghostbusters 2 for the first time recently though and thought it was absolutely awful but the Ghostbusters game that came out a few years back on PS3/360 was great.

    • No accounting for taste, but I and a lot of people I know really enjoyed the new film.

    • Mixed feelings after watching the new movie. I hated it after the first 20 minutes. Then I started to like it. Then I thought ‘this is actually really good’. Then I thought it was awful. Then I thought it was good again.

      There was a lot of stuff in there that I hated and a lot of stuff that I liked.

      I liked the plot but the overuse of CGI made me feel uncomfortable.

      I didn’t like any of the ‘originals’ cameos except maybe for the last one.

      I thought Melissa McCarthy would steal the show but Chris Hemsworth is the best thing about it. WTH is going on with Melissa McCarthy? Her last few movies have been awful.

      Very odd movie but overall I think I liked it. Not sure I’d want or have the patience to sit through it again though.

  3. It looks a bit like the Tomb Raider games Guardian of Light/Temple of Osiris but with Ghostbusters characters. The 4-player/co-op puts me off straight away – I can’t imagine it would be much fun to play solo if the other characters haven’t been given proper dialogue.

  4. Ha! The ‘What’s Bad’ column. :-)

  5. Ah, this brings back memories of when every film had a godawful tie-in.

    That was 5 years ago(ish). Are we seriously going back to awful tie-ins again? I thought that all died out after it was revealed a rushed awful game never sells well.

    As for this? Eerh… yeah, I knew it would be crap. First time i heard about it was erm… well, i kinda can’t recall it but it hasn’t had much marketing, little to no coverage and well, it’s a tie-in. They are rarely any good.

    Naturally, I must put a disclaimer that I am not sexist or racist but I am discriminating against poor games. The poor know their place!

    I may be on the front page of the Daily Mail tomorrow. :P

    In terms of the film, i want to be proven wrong about my all remakes are crap/average but fail to live up to the orginal statement. That said, i kinda feel i can’t trust any reviews about the film due to the crap surronding it.

    I hate people sometimes.

  6. Didn’t they do almost the same game a few years ago?

    • Nah. That one happened to be good.

      It was by another studio and is often regarded as Ghostbusters 3 in game form.

      • Yeah no I was right, Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime. It’s pretty much the same as this, and just as bad (perhaps slightly worse than this).
        On the other hand the 2009 game was awesome, I replayed it about 6 months ago (finally completing it) and it was still a blast to play.

  7. The new film wasn’t as bad as I’d thought it would be. As for this game I was reading another review and they absolutely slated this game giving it a 1/10. I played the “good” ghostbuster game in 09 and that was very enjoyable. I wonder with all the negativity from the movie the developers just thought “let’s make this game s@#+ to” anyway I’m off to work now

  8. Ghost busters for ps3 was actually good IMO. It seems like these new games are missing something title after title

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