Review – Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered

Video games haven’t been kind to the Ghostbusters. Few have breached the threshold of mediocre and some, like the NES version of the first game, are among the worst games I’ve ever played. It doesn’t make much sense, the depiction of ghost busting as a profession should make it ripe for video game adaptations, but more often than not, they fall way, way short.

For years, I considered New Ghostbusters II on the Game Boy and NES to be the only worthwhile games in the franchise. My prayers were eventually answered in 2009 when Terminal Reality and Atari released Ghostbusters: The Video Game. As a huge fan of the Ghostbusters, I remember how excited I was to finally get my hands on it.

Now, the game has found its way onto modern consoles with Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered. I’m well prepared to don my tan flight suit, strap on my positron collider, and get down to trapping some ghosts.

I looked at the trap, Ray!
I looked at the trap, Ray!

WHO YA GONNA CALL?

You’re placed in the boots of a nameless rookie Ghostbuster who was just hired to help test out some extremely dangerous new equipment. If there’s ever been a game that has cried out for a character creation system, or at least a gender option (a feature which was in the PS2/Wii version), it’s this one. Unfortunately, you’re stuck with a somewhat dopey looking mute. You’re mostly just looking at the back of his head for the full game, so I guess that’s okay.

The game picks up two years after the events of Ghostbusters II. Things have been going pretty swell for the guys until a surge of paranormal activity puts them into overtime. The plot centers around Ivo Shandor, an architect that was briefly mentioned in the first movie and cult leader devoted to the resurrection of Gozer the Gozerian.

The plot is actually kind of terrible. It seems only to serve as a vehicle to allow players to experience a lot of different things from the movie. It takes you through the Sedgewick Hotel, the Museum, and the Library — all locations from the movies. If you’re not a fan, there’s not a lot that’s likely going to appeal to you in terms of plot, but if you are a fan… Well, actually, I kind of hated the plot too and felt like it was trying to hard to pander to me, so maybe it’s just a bad narrative.

GHOSTS AND GHOST BUSTING

Where it really counts as a fan is with the gear. Oh, boy, does this excite me! A lot of Ghostbusters games make the mistake of just having you blast ghosts into oblivion like it’s a shooter, but here, you have to go through the whole process. Wear down the ghost with your proton stream, wrangle them, then drag them into a trap.

It’s so satisfying, especially since your proton stream absolutely disintegrates everything it touches. There’s little doubt that whatever room you’re wrangling in will be an absolute wreck by the time you’re finished. I found it to be so satisfying to walk through the ruins of the various locations, examining the destruction caused in the chaos.

The other Ghostbusters do their best to help out, as well, and, boy, do things get frantic. Streams get crossed, people get slimed, and one-liners are repeated ad absurdum. It’s a bit Gears of War in the “roadie run” style sprints and reviving of your downed allies. Coop seems like it should have been a given, but alas it’s missing here (though, again, present in the Wii version, for some reason).

He’s an ugly looking spud.

WE COULD REALLY BUST SOME HEADS

Here’s the dish: Ghostbusters: The Video Game is exciting for a few reasons. Firstly, it includes the original cast in their roles, so you get to bust Ghosts alongside Egon, Ray, Peter, and Winston. Secondly, it’s apparently written by Dan Ackroyd and Harold Ramis, though, as we covered, that’s not necessarily a good thing in this case.

If you’re a fan of Ghostbusters like I am, this game was tailorbuilt for you. Soft-science terms are thrown around, all the equipment is lovingly represented, and it tries its best to make you feel like a part of the team. Its adherence to the source material is admirable.

For gameplay reasons, it does deviate and make its own additions in the form of new equipment, but it feels, for the most part, like it fits. I’m a geek for the Ghostbusters equipment, and I was only delighted to see it expanded upon. It also ties into the gameplay, with different ghosts having a weakness to a specific type of weapon. They found a way to tie in everything, including the ecto-goggles and PKE meter, which are used to scan for ghosts and small collectible pickups hidden in the environment.

WE’RE READY TO BELIEVE YOU

Gameplay is largely linear, which is a bit disappointing. It’s maybe a bit predictable that it would be, but I guess my ideal Ghostbusters would involve some sort of business simulation to go along with it. After all, typically the guys go out on calls, catch ghosts, bill their clients. This formula has you being pushed through a paranormal catastrophe in the most straightforward way possible. It’s one thing to not meet my standards for an ideal game, it’s another thing to be this… unimaginative.

That’s probably the word I’d use to sum up the whole experience: unimaginative. As much as it’s nice to have a game stay so true to its source material, something more could have been done to make it a more compelling experience. Instead, we’re railroaded through encounters with a lot of already established entities. Slimer, Mr. Staypuft, Ivo Shandor. We really couldn’t come up with anything new?

It doesn’t help that the whole game feels tonally off. The actors sound way to excited to be reprising their roles, aside from Bill Murray who sounds like he’s trying to just get by with the bare minimum. The dialogue lacks the underlying sense of danger that underlines the movies. Instead, everyone jokes around like there are no consequences to their actions. Maybe they’re not rookies anymore, but they could at least show some concern when their lives are imperiled.

You can’t just make me love you, game.

I FEEL SO FUNKY

The remaster also has the multiplayer stripped out of it. While the multiplayer wasn’t anything too special, it helps make up for the lack of co-op by having you enter some friendly competition with other busters. The developer says that multiplayer will be added later, but, enh, I’ll believe it when I see it.

So, really, what we have here is a game that is exactly something that should appease fans, but nothing more than that. It has nothing more to offer aside from reverence to the source material. If you’re a fan, you’ve probably already played this game. If you’re not a fan, that hurts my feelings. Why not? It’s an amazing movie. Don’t you see how great it is?

This probably won’t be the last time I play this game, but I recognize that it doesn’t appeal to me beyond the license that’s attached to it. In other words, I’m happy, but not thrilled, that this game exists.

5/10

This review was conducted on a standard PS4 using a disc-based version of the game. It was paid for by the author.

About Adzuken 161 Articles
Adzuken has been gaming for as far back as they can remember. Their eclectic tastes have led them across a vast assortment of consoles and both the best and worst games they have to offer.

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