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Friday | December 9, 2016
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Ghostbusters: The Video Game (X360 & PS3)

Ghostbusters: The Video Game (X360 & PS3)

 

A portion of the audience reading this review will have seen the legendary Ghostbusters movie from 1984, even if you aren’t old enough to have been around when it was first released. The new game from Atari is damned good fun and is set to appeal to a huge cross section of the gaming audience – especially as it is based on a possible forthcoming third movie in the franchise.

Ghostbusters: The Video Game is set in 1991, two years after Ghostbusters 2 and the paranormal gang are expanding their team. You, as the new member join to take the role as an experimental weapons technician to test Egon’s latest creations. As we discussed in our preview a few months ago as soon as you join up a force of ghostly energy originating from a museum starts to spread across New York City. This evil force of afterlife stirs up all the spirits in the area and the Ghostbuster gang already have their hands full.

The four original Ghostbusters- Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson and Harold Ramis handle the voiceovers and even the receptionist played by Annie Potts makes an appearance. The dialogue is sharp and witty and as the original co writers of Ramis and Aykroyd are responsible this is to be expected. The character you play is rather dismissively referred to by the other guys as “rookie” but as we learn from the backstory the team don’t want to get too close to the new guy in case he gets prematurely killed by the failure of one of the new devices he is testing.

Between missions you get to play about in the firehouse and you can listen in on Janine’s telephone calls as well interact with the jumping toaster on the pool table – these are all little touches which make you feel more a part of the Ghostbuster experience and while you aren’t allowed to roam about in New York City, there are key interaction ideas which make for a better and more fun experience.

The game is at heart a third person action shooter and the screen is cleanly designed with your Proton pack detailing the game information. The Proton pack can now overheat and needs “vented” to keep it cool, if you fail to pay attention to the meter on the right side then it can remove you from the game from a considerable amount of time. The pack also depicts the mode you are in – Egon has altered these to allow for four modes of fire. The classic movie mode is self explanatory but there is the addition of a Boson Dart which is a fortified ball of energy which explodes on contact as a secondary fire option. Using the D pad gives access to other fire modes – such as if you push left the pack switches to Dark Matter abilities which visually pops out a few blue light meters. These attacks offer Stasis Stream which slows your foes to almost a standstill and a Shock Blast which works in a similar manner to a high powered rifle or shotgun. Pushing down on the D pad toggles Slime Blower which can be used to cover enemies and items in goo – the pack will change the four red lights to green and a slime reservoir appears on screen. Pushing right on the D pad selects the Meson Collider – an electrical charged system which fires particles at your enemies.

The combat system is very well handled and there is great diversity at hand when dealing with the various spirits, such as using the proton streams to fight with ghouls and the slime tethers to set traps — it all works just like the movie. When you combine the solid core gameplay with the fact you can get around 20 upgrades to buy along the way to improve your weaponry it adds to a great all round experience. Thankfully the spirit types are diverse as well which means you won’t be playing for hours using the same tactics to deal with the enemy. Every new ghost you meet (around 60) has to be scanned with the PKE meter to work out how they need to be dealt with – some can’t be trapped and need destroyed and interestingly they all have history and stories to read when they are scanned and logged.

The PKE Meter plays an integral part of the experience and it is accessed by a face button on the controller. When it is utilized the game switches into a first person perspective behind your goggles with the meter in the middle of the screen. The various bars on the meter detail objectives (green), hidden artifacts (blue) and enemies (red). The artifacts are a set of Easter Eggs (42 in total) which detail a story accessible from the start screen.

The difficulty level seems well rounded and I only ran into a few sections which proved troublesome, thankfully if any of the team are near you, they can revive you and likewise if the situation is reversed, the healing powers are in your hands.

Multiplayer is offered and you can enter into games with three other online players. The idea is to see who can earn the most cash by capturing ghosts and this cash is logged and then converted into experience points so that you can rise through the 20 levels of the Ghostbuster ranks. As well as leaderboards the game stores details on almost everything from the number of ghosts captured to how often you have been killed. Based around these core elements are the various modes which range from Containment – trapping as many ghosts as possible in a specific time frame. Destruction – have to destroy a specific number of evil relics. Slime Dunk – a competition to see how can get Slimer into a trap the most and Survival, – how long you can stay alive and keep time on the clock by trapping various spirits.

I can’t say any of the online modes held my interest for very long but this could very well be just personal taste rather than a problem with the online component – it is all very well coded and implemented, it just didn’t really appeal to me to keep coming back for more.

 

Graphically the game is quite impressive with a lot of attention to detail when it comes to the various lighting effects of the streams and the ghosts. The CGI graphics are also nicely rendered although the voiceovers sometimes don’t match the graphics perfectly and it can be rather noticeable. I wouldn’t say it is a big issue at all, but its noticeable. Graphically there are not many differences between the Playstation 3 and the Xbox 360 version. The Playstation has to undergo a 4gb game install however and it doesn’t really seem to make a difference when compared with the 360 loads speeds, which is rather disappointing. The Playstation version has some exclusive video content which is interesting and missed on the 360. There are a few minor details also missed from the PS3 version which aren’t really noticeable unless you studied both side by side. Both versions however have been well optimised and I didn’t notice any glaring issues with the frame rate or pop in.

Ghostbusters: The Video Game is a great game from Terminal Reality which deserves to sell well, both for fans of the movie and for people who just want to play a solid action game. There are not many movie tie in games which cut the mustard and I am glad to say this is one of them. It was clearly made by people with a lot of love for the franchise and it shows – It is a hell of a fun game to play and at the end of the day that’s really all that matters.

Gameplay
84

Surprisingly diverse and great fun.
Graphics
80
Overall an impressive showing with only a few niggling issues lowering the score.
Sound
82
Voice acting from the original actors and solid ghostbusters background music.
Value
78
Around 9 hours single player and potentially a few weeks with multiplayer.
Overall
83

A solid showing which should sell well.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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