Ghostbusters – Video Game Review

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I stayed up late because I knew I was right at the last stage of Ghostbusters, the new game which is set between Ghostbusters 2 and Ghostbusters 3 movies.

Ghostbusters seems like it should be a very good game, all original voice actors, fairly good digital rendering, and new gadgets added on to the standard proton pack.  The game plays fairly well, and the story is decent enough to keep you interested.

I just quit the game in frustration and I really doubt I’ll put it on again, let me explain why.

I’ve heard a lot of other reviewers remark on how the game is basically a montage of all the good parts from the movie with some new parts that don’t make a lot of sense and don’t flow well.  This wasn’t a big concern for me, the story moved along well enough that I didn’t dislike capturing Slimer, or destroying the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

One of my big problems with Metal Gear Solid 4 was that you basically are playing a movie, you walk down a hall, 15 minute cut scene, you jump down an elevator shaft, 15 minute cut scene.  After playing it for 5 or so hours, I really would have preferred just watching an animated mini-series, and I think it’s mainly because of my lack of investment in the story.  Ghostbusters does a very similar thing, run into a hotel lobby and you get a short cut scene, capture a few ghosts and another cut scene, but the difference is I like the story and I understand what’s going on.  I might have felt the same way if I’d never seen Ghostbusters (the movie) because there is no real attempt to explain what is going on.

There is a setting in the game (the lowest difficulty) which basically says “just watch the movie”, which for the most part it did.  The fights weren’t that hard, I didn’t die a lot, and the fights were short.  I was happy with that and if I’d reached the end of the game on that setting I’d probably give this game a better review.  Unfortunately I came up against the fight most people are complaining about – near the end there is a fight with a dozen or so flying, flaming cherubs shooting flaming arrows at you while different little creatures attack you on the ground.  You have to use one proton pack setting to quickly get rid of the ones on the ground and the normal setting for the flying cherubs.  You must also tether the cherubs and slam them into a gate to open it, unfortunately the slam mechanism isn’t all that precise and as soon as they slam into anything they explode, which means you need to grab another one.  The entire time you are trying to fling these things into the gate, the rest of them are attacking you and if you get knocked down, Ray can save you, unless he gets knocked down, at which point you restart the fight.  I tried this a half-dozen times then decided the end of the story isn’t that important to me.

Summary: The game was sort of fun while it lasted, but as soon as it got a little frustrating the fun wasn’t enough to keep me playing.  If you are interested in another story of the Ghostbusters, rent the game and see if you make it past this one super annoying part.  Otherwise you could skip it.

Edit: I got up this morning and decided to give it one more shot, and also to take a look at the extras on the disk.  I’m never a big fan of cross-promotion, because a couple months down the road and the cross-promo seems antiquated, like seeing “coming soon” trailers before a 1985 movie on VHS it’s a bit laughable.  This disk has a promo for “Year One” which I think is because Harold Ramis directed it.

There is a really good “Restoring the Ecto-1” video on the disk though that I’m glad I went back to watch, amazing job.

Here’s my new biggest problem with the game, last night when it asked if I wanted to try again or quit, I chose quit, went back to the main menu and turned off the PS3.  This morning when I went to career mode, my only option was “New Career”.  I guess it deleted my save game, so I definately didn’t want to play all the way through it again.  The worst bug you can have in a game is accidentally deleting the only save game it allows.

I also wanted to mention that this game has a great engine, I had forgotten until I watched a vignet about it that at times there are what seems like hundreds of items floating around the screen with realistic physics.  Some creatures are made up entirely of real world items stuck together (like books, etc.).  This is not something to be overlooked, nor is the particle system, which is fantastic, you really feel like you are playing the movie.

I just wish the game played a bit better.

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