You’re better off with the ghosts.
Ghostbusters On PS4
Licensed video games have never had a ton of luck in producing quality titles that not only stay true to the source material but offer something new as well. Ghostbusters is the newest movie-inspired title looking to recapture the fun and entertainment of this popular film series. Sadly this isn’t the case as Ghostbusters not only fails to bring this interesting universe to life but may make you sick of every iconic catchphrase after the credits roll. It’s important to note that this game is not following the original film, but the new 2016 reimagining that has just released.
Ghostbusters is a top-down shooter that sees you take the role of a new team member in an aspiring ghost catching team. This game takes place after events of the new film and is clearly banking on the player having some familiarity with the setting, characters, and concepts already established in the Ghostbusters mythos. However, the ties to the new film are surprisingly slim with the exception of a few collectibles and an occasional nod to the movie during the cheesy, short cutscenes. The story is incredibly barebones as the game doesn’t even have a true overarching antagonist for your heroes to fight, and treats each of the six locations as a separate story. Each location has two main missions and one remix of a previous level, all of which end in a big simplistic boss fight.
Characters appear at first to have personality, but after the first hour or two spent with them, you realize they’ve devolved into nothing more than catchphrase-spouting machines. They don’t even have actual names on the selection screen and each one at face value appears to have different skills and abilities. Sadly the only difference between them is a single weapon and a different type of grenade that pretty much all do the exact same thing regardless of who you pick. Each character’s weapons span the gambit of typical arsenals such as pistols, assault rifles, shotguns, and mini-guns, with the typical beam weapons used only for capturing ghosts. No character has any actual traits outside of the arbitrary speed or health differences, all of which can be upgraded, making your choice really come down to which weapon you prefer.
This devolves the gameplay into a simplistic room clearing simulator as every mission is filled with empty, uninteresting levels that are populated with the same ghosts you will have to destroy. Every now and again you’ll stumble across a tougher, more beefed up boss that will require you to wither its health bar away so you can capture it. Capturing ghosts, which should be the most dynamic and flushed out part of any Ghostbusters game, is reduced to a simple toggle of your analog stick until a meter fills up. It’s mildly intriguing the first time, but after capturing what seems like over a hundred ghosts (almost all of which share the same character models) the process is nothing but a numbing experience.
Even for those who are terrible at top-down shooters, you will find Ghostbusters a laughably easy experience. In my entire five to six hours journey, the only time I died was on purpose to see if the A.I. was smart enough to come pick me up – which they only did after waiting around my corpse for what seemed like two minutes in a room lightly peppered with ghosts. The NPCs on both sides are absolutely useless, with zombies sometimes favoring to stand in front of you without attacking even as they take damage. Your teammates can barely hit a ghost and most of the time are reduced to nothing more than big meat shields to hide behind and soak up damage.
From an aesthetic design, Ghostbusters isn’t the worst on the market, as the pops of bright, vibrant colors do lend the world some life. However, this will quickly grow old as each mission is nothing more than room after room of the same models, textures, and designs which can lead to you easily getting lost. Ghostbusters does have a variety of hidden paths and there’s a nugget of a good idea with a P.K.E. meter used to find paranormal activity. Yet, because Ghostbusters fails to strive for anything more than the barest of essentials, and this turns the game into a repetitive experience. You will walk into a room, scan the P.K.E., kill any ghosts, look for collectible markings, move to the next room. Every level is like that and Ghostbusters stubbornly refuses to add anything new or dynamic to the gameplay outside of throwing more bosses at you.
Did we mention that the game feels the need to constantly throw out winks and nods to the films? You can almost hear the game try to reverse engineer the script so it can get out another “there’s something strange in the neighborhood” line . It’s pandering in the lowest form and clearly fails to understand anything that made the original film a classic. This is a game without a purpose, plot, or any sense of next generation presentation. If you ever needed an example of what bad licensed titles can look like, this is the game for you. With no heart, soul, or even an ounce of genuine humor, Ghostbusters is a shameful cash-in for the new film. The scariest thing about Ghostbusters is that we have to pay actual money for this.
Score: 1/5 – Bad