Last year we finally got what could best be described as the 3rd installment of the Ghostbusters series. It was written by the writers of the films, and got the original actors who played the four Ghostbusters back together. Why didn’t you see it in theaters? Because it was a video game. Now I’ve played it, so now I’m gonna review it. No, I’m not going to reference the Ghostbusters theme song in the intro.
Title: Ghostbusters: The Video Game
Developer: Terminal Reality, Inc.
Publisher: Atari, Inc.
Release Date: June 16, 2009
Game Type: 3rd Person Game
It’s 1991, 2 years after Ghostbusters 2. After a supernatural shock wave erupts from the new Gozer exhibit at the Museum of Natural History, the Ghostbusters, along with their new recruit (the player), investigate a new wave of hauntings, which leads to a new threat against New York City.
Nothing more risque than the film. Actually, it might even be more tame than the film.
This is Ghostbusters, as it should be. Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, and Ernie Hudson are here. Ramis and Aykyroyd wrote the script for the game, and the game is very funny. The player’s character, the Rookie, doesn’t steel the show, but he gets his little moments of comedy too. Additionally, the act of busting ghosts also feels right. Wrestling with the ghosts, slamming them into line, and finally dragging them kicking and screaming into the trap? It works perfectly, and there’s a certain feeling of exhilaration you get the moment that trap closes.
I found myself getting lost in several of the levels, particularly as I got further into the game. Additionally, when I died in a mission, the loading screen to get back into the mission was at least 30 seconds long. This is in spite of a 7 minute long install time when you first put in the disk. To be fair, there are no loading screens accessing menus, and the loading screens in transition between levels or between cut-scenes are pretty small. Still, the end of level loading screens are nuts.
Additionally, the game is short – I beat it in less than 10 hours.
Originality: While this is the Ghostbusters game to depict the act of Ghostbusting in this fashion, it’s otherwise not a very original game. With the exception of the green slime gun and the Proton Beam, most of the other weapons in the game are variations of standard shooter guns. Additionally, the game literally re-treads a lot of ground from the first movie. We go back to the Library and to the Hotel Sedgewick. We even fight some of the enemies from the first film, like Slimer and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. However, they do a good job of justifying it with the plot setup of the game. 3 out of 6.
Story: The game’s story is good. While it’s not on par with the first film (and I can’t compare it with the second because I haven’t seen it), the story’s enjoyable and internally consistent. Additionally, the writing by Ramis and Aykroyd is fantastic, and gives me hope for the quality of the planned Ghostbusters III film. 5 out of 6.
Graphics: The game’s graphics are very good. The realistic look of the internal engine they’re using helps provide the game with a realistic look, without totally falling into the “Real Is Brown” aesthetic that games that use the Unreal Engine tend to fall into. Additionally, the characters look really good as well, complete with the models being capable of more subtle acting touches in cut-scenes, like eyebrow movement. 5 out of 6.
Sound: The voice acting in the game is fantastic. The sound design is also excellent, particularly some of the ambient noise in the environments, which adds a lot to the immersion. 5 out of 6.
Playability: The controls are solid, I never felt like I suffered any cheap deaths, the AI of the Ghostbusters is intelligent, the camera never got in the way, and targeting was fine. 6 out of 6.
Immersion: The PS3 version of the game has more realistic visuals than the PS2 or Wii versions of the game, and this actually immersed me a bit more. I actually got creeped out at some portions of the game – though never actually scared. 5 out of 6.
Overall: This is a good game. It was fun, and I enjoyed it, which is almost all that I could ask for. However, the length of the game can’t lead me to recommend it for more than a rental. Yes – there is multi-player in the game, but it doesn’t feel like it makes up for the game’s short length. 4 out of 6.
In Total, Ghostbusters: The Game, gets 33 out of 42.