14 July 2009 | ARTaylor
Ready to be a Ghostbuster?
Note: I played the XBox 360 version. I don't know if there are any differences with the PC or PS3 version. I read that the Wii, PS2, DS, and PSP versions are a completely different experience so read another review to learn about those.
In the last year there were two franchise games that I feel really capture the feeling of being the character. The first is Spider-Man: Web of Shadows. The other is Ghostbusters: The Video Game. Although it's a third person "shooter" it doesn't feel like any other shooter. This feels like Ghostbusters. Whether you're blasting ghosts with the proton pack, sliming possessed people, searching for spirits with the PKE, or just running around you feel like a Ghostbuster.
The gameplay is entertaining in itself. None of the controls are complicated. The enemies are varied enough that you're never getting bored or repetitive. There are several problem-solving puzzles so the whole game isn't always point and shoot. It has its difficult parts without ever feeling impossible. And nothing's quite as fun as slam dunking a ghost into the trap.
The graphics are pretty good looking. The character models look real enough. The ghosts look like the movies where they're almost like a muppet. The environments are well done, it's worth several walks around the firehouse to notice all the details. The graphics aren't boundary pushing but they're still pretty good, just take a look at the Stay Puft level.
The atmosphere is really what makes it feel like Ghostbusters. There are times when it's laugh out loud hilarious. Others when it's edge of your seat scary. For example, in the library level Ray is great to listen to as he desperately hunts down the Library Ghost from the first movie. But there's one part where you approach a table in the corner and turn around to find yourself surrounded by book stacks. It creeps you out but Ray chimes in with some quip, you laugh, and move on. It captured that great Ghostbuster dark humor feeling.
The best part of the game is how authentic the game feels. First, all the actors return to voice their characters again. No Lorenzo Music or cheap sound alikes. This is the real deal. Everyone's back in perfect form, plus some great appearances by Alyssa Milano, Brian Doyle-Murray, and even Max von Sydow. It's a shame that Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis didn't return but the story works well without them. It really sounds like a movie. The environments are detailed enough. The firehouse is exactly like the films as are the hotel and the library.
The story is grand enough to be its own movie. It follows the usual film plot device of a powerful ghost trying to take over the world. However, it's not like Ghostbusters II where it's just the same plot over again. This time they added a mystery aspect. There's a question about just who the villain is and what he is doing, and in every mission you find clues to help solve it. The story itself builds off the first movie with respect towards the second.
My one and only problem with the game is that it is too short. It seems like once the story really got me hooked I was finishing it. It's not that the levels are too short or the story is lacking in any way, though it could have been expanded a bit. I finished the campaign in just three days. But maybe it was so entertaining I couldn't put it down until I was finished, and like the movies I enjoyed it so much I just wanted more. It is entertaining enough to warrant more than one play through.
This is a must for Ghostbusters fan. Whether you've watched everything Ghostbusters a hundred times over, love the first and refuse to acknowledge the second, or simply grew up on the cartoon show(s). It has everything you could want from another Ghostbusters film. Even non-Ghostbusters fans who are gamers of any level should check it out. It may not be the must-have game like Halo, Grand Theft Auto, or Call of Duty but is definitely worth a rent at the very least. Simply put: every gamer should play this game.