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Review: Ghostbusters (PC)

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Merely from recent history, I feared for the worst with Ghostbusters. Movie adaptions almost never go well, but it seems that Ghostbusters translates very well into a video game, especially if you’re a fan of the movies. Ghostbusters is voiced by the original actors who also lent their likeness to the their digital Ghostbusting counterparts. Granted, these actors have aged since the last Ghostbusters movie, but in the game, they are as young and better than ever. The script of the game is even written by the same people that penned the movies. And as you would expect, the writers managed to mix light-hearted humor and suspenseful environments perfectly.

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The main character is a new recruit into the Ghostbusters’ ranks. The veteran Ghostbusters refuse to be told your name. Instead, you are dubbed “Rookie” and given the position of Experimental Weapons Technician. In plain English, you’re the person that gets to field test all the dangerous new Ghostbusting tools.

Ghostbusters is fast-paced and packed with great action. There are points that break the action, but they are hardly ever boring or annoying. And there are no minigames or quick-time events to worry about. The combat works great, keeping you deeply invested in the action until the battle is over. Surprisingly, doing the same thing (fighting and trapping ghosts) over and over in this game doesn’t make it boring, it’s fun every time.

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When it comes to third-person games, I almost always prefer to use a controller over the mouse and keyboard, but I’m always sure to test the game without the controller. Ghostbusters offers full support for the Xbox 360 controller, but how does it compare to the mouse and keyboard option? While the controller feels a bit clumsy, I found its controls to be adequate. However, with the mouse, I found that it felt rather disconnected and a little lazy. Granted, you can customize how the mouse responds in-game, but I couldn’t manage to get a working configuration. So, I found myself preferring the controller. Movement felt much more smooth and responsive.

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The combat of Ghostbusters is actually quite good. The bosses are almost overwhelming but overall, the combat is great fun. As far as your weaponry, you start with one weapon on your Proton pack, but as you progress through the game, you unlock the remaining three weapons. For all your weapons and equipment, you can purchase upgrades with the money you get from trapping and destroying ghosts. Everything from faster ghost traps to more powerful particle blasts. Most upgrade systems in games really annoy me with their uselessness and how they tend to break the mood or momentum of the game. In Ghostbusters, the upgrade system works well and is minimally annoying. Although it still seems needless, it gives you something to work for.

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Ghostbusters features some very well detailed characters and environments. All the equipment is modeled beautifully and true to the movies. Ghostbusters even takes a page from Dead Space‘s book, by placing your health and weapon details on your proton pack, which your character wears on his back at all times. This is a great tactic to reduce the game’s HUD.

One of Ghotsbusters‘ largest flaws is the clear fact that it is a console port. With this fact, you get longer loading screens (believe me, they are unreal) and a lack of anti-aliasing, but really, these gripes are rather small compared to many other games. It also would have been nice to play as one of the other Ghostbusting geniuses, and not have it limited to just one character to choose from.

Scores

- Graphics: 7
Although the game features very detailed and well built environments and characters, it lacks any anti-aliasing and this is a big hit for the visual quality.

- Storyline: 8
I will admit, the storyline has a very copy-and-pasted taste to it, but it’s a great premise and the story is pretty solid, despite not being completely original.

- Gameplay: 9
Ghostbusters masterfully combines humor with scary and suspenseful fights for a very unique and hilarious game.  Not to mention, the combat is very well done.

- Controls: 5
The keyboard and mouse setup for this game is usable, but the mouse seems to have some issues that make it feel a bit muddy and not very precise. This becomes a problem in the fast-paced ghost battles. I strongly recommend the use of a controller.

- Lasting Appeal: 4
Unfortunately, this game doesn’t offer a lot of replay value. It was exciting when it was planned for multiplayer, but that feature was cut so the developers could improve the console versions of the game. Thanks, console players.

Overall: 7 Olives

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