16 October 2019 (released)
17 October 2019
Now Ghostbusters is an iconic stable of childhoods from the 80s and 90’s while being a fun film for adults and pretty much every one ever! Even to the point where word or any other writing software doesn’t bug you to say Ghostbusters is an incorrect spelling but something like Athem is a mistake. Oh wait, that’s completely different. Now Ghostbusters has had a rough time over the last couple of decades with a third film being promised but never coming to like (thanks Bill Murray) and instead we got 2016’s ecto splat and a game that was just so awful and insulting how they could get a mix of Ghostbusters and Diablo so wrong.
But back in 2009 the true sequel or third Ghostbusters did come out in the form of a video game. One which I never played but heard very good things about from friends and fans of the films. So this Remaster was a great chance for me to check it out.
Now I do like the first film and have a soft spot for the animated series “The Extreme Ghostbusters”. This game is a direct sequel to Ghostbusters 2 and takes place 3 years after the events in that film. Namely a haunted painting, a baby, rehashing elements of the first film and Peter MacNicol who was probably the best thing in that movie. Seems like strange things are happening once again and this time it’s ….. Gozer …. Again! Well no matter, because it’s time to bust some ghosts as …. The new guy?! Wait, what?
Okay so kind of early on this is one of my main complaints, the story. It’s not bad at all and it does offer the ultimate fan service for fans of the films and animated series. There are plenty of throwbacks including infamous ghosts, locations and iconic characters. They’re all neat and the original cast voice all the characters. They’re funny, witty and pretty much it’s like being with the actors themselves. But you don’t play as them, you play as some random guy who hardly speaks. I get as to why but this guy lacks any personality or a voice which is kind of strange. Also this could’ve been a great time to allow players to create their character if the angle was to have players embody the new guy.
Plus the story is literally just Gozer again, right from the beginning Gozer makes their return. As I mentioned before it’s not bad it’s not a bold next step as it could’ve been. I think due to the Luke warm reception of Ghostbusters 2, where most likely both Harold Ramis and Dann Akrold thought it would be best to repeat certain elements. These elements being from the first film and the animated series as they’re the most loved. It’s amazing fan service but maybe this could’ve been done different. Like how Rockstar’s smash hit The Warrior from 2005, took the main story and added events before it. The Ghostbusters game could have been the reverse of that, with an adaption of the first two films and having the core of the game be an entirely new story.
In terms of gameplay, Ghostbusters has a pretty unique way of handling combat. Considering that everything around that time wanted to mimic Gears of War and thankfully Ghostbusters is doing something a different. Taking on the role of the newbie, you’ll have your hands on the Proton Pack as standard along with a few other neat gadgets and weapons to trap those Ghosties. But as previously mentioned, the proton pack and the ghost trap will be the two main items you’ll mainly be using.
In order to trap ghosts, player must lock on and zap ghosts until their live bar is low. Once this is done, you’ll have to perform a few slams to get them good and ready to drag over to the trap. Once over the trap, it’s up to you to keep that ghost within a certain area for a few seconds. As the ghost lowers this becomes a little more difficult but doing this correctly for a set amount of time will result in the ghost being trapped. This is the basis for combat encounters throughout the game, but the developers have made sure that there’s plenty of enemy variety and different set pieces to make the most of this dynamic form of combat. I will admit that the overall combat does become a little tedious, but as mentioned the developers do as much as possible to incorporate some awesome set pieces and boss battles.
Level design is very simple yet the arrangement of locations is pretty great and there always seems to be a series of events unfolding, each one raising the stakes. So for example in the first level at the hotel, things begin simple enough where you’re trying to find Slimmer, soon enough you’ll come face to face with a ghost sea captain who floods the entire hotel. Then the Stay Puff Marshmallow man comes along to destroy the city. There’s plenty of spooky moments too and some which creeped me right out!
This is kind of magnified by the use of the spec-tromiter, this puts the player in a first person view and allows them to hunt out certain aspects of the unknown, including hidden ghosts and secrets to collect.
While Ghostbusters has certainly aged over the last ten years with clunky controls, simplistic level design and a story that feels massively part of the era. It’s still a great deal of fun. The developers behind the Remaster have also done a wonderful job at making a game which is a decade old, look pretty good and play well enough. Ghostbusters has a soul and is of a time when developers put in some serious creativity into their game. Not that there’s any games which are fun and creative now, they’re just far and few in between. This certainly has some problems but as fan service for Ghostbusters fans. It’s a no brainer. For those looking for a nostalgic kick, it’s a no brainer. For those just looking for a fun thrill ride with some neat dynamics then check it out.
++ Creative, fun filled Ghostbusters fan service
+ Good Remaster that shows polish and refinements
- Story is not entirely bold or fresh
- Combat can be a little tedious at times
A PS4 review copy of Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.