Busting Makes Me Feel… Bored
HIGH Some nice art and models
LOW Horrible writing and audio
WTF No online co-op
I enjoy the Ghostbusters franchise. The original movie was great, its sequel was fine, and the recent remake was enjoyable. I even liked the 2009 game on Xbox 360 and PS3. As such, I was hopeful that the newest Ghostbusters entry would be a solid experience. Sadly, it’s the opposite of entertaining or funny.
Ghostbusters starts positively enough. In fact, it cheats—when booting up, players are greeted by the famous theme song done by Ray Parker Jr. It was the perfect way to get me excited about busting some ghosts!
…And then I started playing.
Ghostbusters is a top-down twin-stick-esque shooter. Up to four live players (or one solo and three AI characters at minimum) explore subway tunnels, cemeteries, and so on. Each of these areas contain ghosts and other paranormal enemies, like flying books or demon dogs, and of course New York City needs to be saved.
On paper, a Ghostbusters game sounds easy. Whip up a team, fight strange and colorful enemies with different tools, and get paid. The elements seem to naturally translate into video game mechanics, yet this new title only succeeds in being boring.
The intro cinematic looks and sounds cheap, and the writing is some of the worst I’ve heard in a while. It’s so bad, in fact, that I felt pity for the actors who read the lines. The characters they portray are annoying, and all seem to be trying (and failing) to channel Bill Murray. Winners like “In your face ghoul-friend!”, “I’m the MVP of EVP!!” and “Guess who just altered your state?! This GUY!” had me constantly groaning, and the only thing worse than hearing them once was hearing them over and over and over again. The audio quality is also awful, sounding like the voice actors recorded using a tin cup taped to a cassette deck.
Visually Ghostbusters is actually… kind of nice-looking! Some of the loading screen art between levels is great and the character models have a vibrant, colorful look to them. Ghosts (especially the bigger ones) look great, and the Proton Pack beams look fantastic— the red and blue wiggly laser is one of the best parts of this game.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t using this iconic device to catch most of the ghosts I encountered. No, instead I was using weapons that fire proton blasts to eliminate them. Weapons like a shotgun, a gatling gun, dual pistols and an assault rifle. Most of my time was spent mindlessly gunning down hundreds of zombies, ghosts and floating books. It quickly became tedious, and I would look for any excuse to put my controller down and do something else to avoid the overly long, dull levels.
Each mission ends with the camera panning by the team, and the person with the highest score is happy and cheering while everyone else looks sad. A score and some skill points are awarded, and points can be put into different things like moving faster or shooting longer without overheating. Upgrading made a noticeable difference when my character was maxed out, and I was hating Ghostbusters less than I was earlier, although that’s not the same as saying that I was enjoying my time. The joy came from being super powerful so I could blast through areas and spend less time in them.
Ghostbusters is an abysmal piece of garbage. It runs poorly, it sounds terrible, it has awful writing and it’s just a drag to play. Some neat visuals and potential co-op can’t save it from being a terrible waste of time and money. For those who need a Ghostbusters fix, go see the new movie in theaters instead. I had more fun watching the end credits than I did playing this miserable game.
Disclosures: This game was developed by Fireforge Games and published by Activision. It is currently available on PS4, Xbox One and PC. This copy of the game was obtained via a publisher provided code and reviewed on the PS4. Approximately 7 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was completed. You can play 4 player co-op on the same screen. No online mode is available.
Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated E10 and contains comic mischief and fantasy violence. There is no blood or gore. The violence is mostly done to ghosts or zombies. No body parts fly off or heads explode. Ghosts just poof out of existence or leave a pile of goo. One ghost vomits, but the vomit is green and comical. No swearing or offensive language.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing: Some enemies have sounds for when they are going to charge, but without audio the game is still able to be played. There is a option for subtitles but turning them on never worked.
Remappable Controls: No. Actions are spread across all buttons of the controller with no way to remap them or choose an alternate control scheme. You will need to use the shoulders and both sticks at the same time
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available in the options.