To the chagrin of many, there is a new Ghostbusters movie in theaters that features an all-female cast. To coincide with the movie, Activision has released a game that is considered to be an extension of the new movie simply titled Ghostbusters. Even more interesting, the game is a top-down, action RPG game akin to the likes of Diablo. Having not seen the new movie, but knowing the premise, it is really hard to see how this game is an extension of the movie. If there are elements of the movie used in this game, it will certainly upset fans of the original movies and cartoons.
Ghostbusters, the video game, stars four random people. There are two females and two males, each with their own separate set of attributes. Each of the ghostbusters also have their own guns that are a byproduct of proton packs. The idea of having a proton shotgun, dual pistol, automatic rifle, and a chain gun are really strange. The Ghostbusters lore has always had proton packs that wrap up ghosts like a lasso so they can be trapped. While that exists for boss battles in this game, it takes away the feel of this being a Ghostbusters title. Ectopoints are earned to level up each character separately depending on which one is chosen for that level. Players can find some secret areas using the K2 Meter to gain extra Ectopoints.
As for the gameplay in Ghostbusters, players will play alongside three A.I. characters. There is also four-player local cooperative play which almost adds an arcade element to the game. The A.I. is not atrocious and can be helpful. The levels are spread throughout New York City and there is not much that makes these areas special. These levels are long, mundane, and repetitive. There is no map for navigation, but ‘O’ can be held down to help your navigation through these linear areas. There is also the ability to throw grenades, which 99% of the time are completely useless. The timing takes forever, and most of the time the area is clear of enemies by the time it explodes. Each character has their own type of grenade to help add some difference to the characters, however when have the Ghostbusters ever used grenades in the past? Just another aspect to annoy fans of the franchise.
The game is labeled as an action-RPG, but most of the time the game lacks action. The best encounters are the boss battles. After wearing down a boss, you will actually get to use a true proton-pack to slam and trap the ghost. That is cool, but why are there multiple encounters with the same sub-boss during a level if that ghost has already been trapped? It makes no sense. The final boss on each level takes a bit more bashing to take down, but none of the bosses or sub-bosses pose much difficulty. It is just the better interaction in the game. The enemies you eventually encounter through a level are not really from Ghostbusters lore. It almost feels like the enemies from the old 8-bit and 16-bit games, and they make no sense. Ghost zombies, flying lanterns, and flaming skulls are just examples of enemies you encounter in this game that you have never seen in a previous movie, and honestly, can someone shed some light on the premise besides the ghost of a zombie which is already dead? It seems the developers just came up with campy horror ideas to incorporate into the game.
If you take out the Ghostbusters license and just look at the game from an actual “game” perspective, it is not awful. Besides being boring and redundant, the game controls really well and does have the ability to level characters strategically. There is just enough character difference that each one feels different. There is a dodge button to get out of the way of enemies.
While the game features a four-player local co-op option, why is there no online play? That is ridiculous for a game like this in this day and age? Even stranger, if you pause the game, there are greyed out options to join and leave a game. Maybe this is planned for the future or it was forgotten about and forced out quickly to coincide with the release of the movie. Online play could have certainly have added to this game.
The one thing that does stand out about Ghostbusters is the artwork. The game is very colorful, and the cutscenes are cel-shaded. The characters and backgrounds do look very pretty and it helps to fit the quick whip comments that are random from the characters throughout the game. It does feel like a cartoon that does not exist. Sometimes frame rate bogs and slowdown will occur when a lot is going on during the game, and while this game does look good, it is not graphically demanding.
If you are looking for a good Ghostbusters game, stick with the one released on PlayStation 3 back in 2009. This game feels far from a Ghostbusters game despite the official theme song and logo plastered at the beginning. The game is repetitive and overall lacks a lot of action. While it gets a nod for being one of the few games nowadays to feature a four-player local co-op experience, that becomes completely irrelevant with the lack of any online play. While the levels may be long, there are not a tremendous amount of levels, and the overall game lacks length and any sense of accomplishment nor any desire to play through this game more than once. The nail in the coffin is that this game costs $50. It would be understandable for $20 or maybe even $30, but $50 is too high and really helps to complete the thought that this is a quick cash crop on a movie that people are not really fans of to begin with.