Image Source: illFonic via Twinfinite

Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed Review – Oozing Potential

This hands-on impression of the Ghostbusters Spirits Unleashed title shares details about this fps shooter game.

Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed on PS5

Recommended Videos

The Ghostbusters franchise isn’t done haunting our culture, thanks to the new live-action movie sequel Afterlife. To keep the spirit alive, illFonic released the AAA-worthy title Ghostbusters Spirits Unleashed. Fans of the franchise and anyone who enjoys horror-inspired action can finally don a proton pack and start busting ghosts to their satisfaction.

Right from the beginning, you’re taken straight into the Ghostbusters firehouse, then you’re treated to a lengthy cut scene meant to immerse you in the world. You immediately start to feel like you’re a new recruit being shown the ropes, and for anyone who enjoys the movies and cartoons, it feels amazing to now have the opportunity to explore a fully-realized replica of the iconic firehouse building.

Image Source: illFonic via Twinfinite

Immersing players is critical since the game lacks a standard campaign story mode, instead having players focusing on performing regular jobs around the city. There is a constant plot line, but it remains to be seen how the entire narrative plays out. Overall, you’ll still feel like you’re part of an unfolding story that’s sure to fill with surprises and plot twists.

You’ll need to explore the detailed firehouse and talk to NPCs to get your necessary proton pack, PKE meter, and ghost trap, then you’ll be able to complete a tutorial using your proton pack, and then you can start taking on jobs via phone calls. But before you get going, you’ll also be able to customize your character with loads of tweakable options. Everything from facial features to hairstyles can be changed to your liking. This feature is a welcome addition that brings to life the roleplaying simulation aspect of this game, and it seems like character customization is becoming necessary in all modern games.

For the most part, the routine during a job is straightforward, albeit somewhat repetitive. Explore the stage with your PKE meter, alert your teammates when you find a ghost, throw your trap, open it, and then blast away until the ghost is captured. You’ll also have to blast rifts until they close, as these are the gateways that more ghosts use to enter the world. Civilians will run around frightened for their lives, and you’ll have to chase them down to help them.

When you’re up close with a scared civilian, you’ll have the option to interact and calm them down. To do this, a circle appears, and you’ll need to use rhythm-game timing to press a button as light traces the circle at three different points. Succeed, and they’ll be back to normal; fail, and they’ll run off until you succeed.

Image Source: illFonic via Twinfinite

Some repetition during gameplay is expected due to the thematic nature of being a paranormal investigator, but there’s plenty of frantic action and flashy graphics to keep you entertained. This also lends to an intuitive experience that rewards players for getting faster and better at their jobs. At the end of a job, you’ll gain money and experience that you’ll use to upgrade and customize later on.

Being a 4v1 multiplayer game, it’s important that everything plays and runs as fast and smoothly as possible, with teamwork being the key factor when it comes to succeeding or failing at a job. An interesting element of the gameplay is how a player on the hunt for paranormal activity can never be eliminated. This might make the game sound easy, but it’s far from it. You can still fail at a job, but by allowing the players to remain in the game and part of the job, no one will ever be left out.

A job is successfully completed when you catch enough baddies to fill the completion bar to 100% completion, and you close all rifts before the haunt timer reaches 100%. It’s not as easy as it seems because you can’t keep spamming your equipment since your proton pack can overheat and will need to cool down. Traps need to be recharged if overused, and your PKE meter must also be used carefully; otherwise, it’ll temporarily malfunction. The only main nuisance is the unclear area of effect that your traps have because it seems to be small and limited.

Ghosts can be hard to see, and they often hide in objects. When uncovered, they fly around the area at supernatural speeds making it difficult to blast them. You’ll need traditional first-person shooter skills to nail the ghosts and keep your proton pack locked onto them until they’re captured. You can also get slimed by these paranormal critters, and if you take too much slime, you’ll be momentarily stopped and forced to hold down a button until you clear off all the slime.

The stages are richly detailed and full of treats and surprises, but they’re not perfect. During the first several jobs, it’s overly dark and can be hard to see with all the slime and proton pack special effects. I understand how the darker mood lends to the spooky horror genre, but it’d be nice to have more variety of stages during the day, especially earlier on. Otherwise, everything played out smoothly with very minor frame-rate drops that were barely noticeable.

Image Source: illFonic via Twinfinite

There are plenty of hidden items to be found and unlocked throughout the missions to be used as cosmetic upgrades for your player character and also for the monsters, while some items unlock new gear for you to use on jobs. Your equipment can also be upgraded and customized to better serve your play style. All of these detail upgrades are a fantastic expansion to the game and the lore of the franchise.

While the main attraction of this game is playing as a Ghostbuster, there’s also a mode where a player can be the ghost instead, having to scare civilians, hide in objects, and slime the other players by using ectoplasm (that replenishes over time) as the resource to perform these actions. As the ghost player, the more you’re able to successfully do these things, the faster you’ll fill up the haunt gauge, putting you closer to victory. When the haunt gauge reaches 100 percent in this mode, the game goes into a time trial where the supernatural hunting players have a super short amount of time to catch the ghost player or lose outright.

The art style is another strong point of this title since it pays homage to the original movies, and there are colorful uniforms and a variety of cartoony-looking ghosts inspired by the retro cartoons. AI bots are generally cooperative and are able to handle AI-controlled enemies but might start to show their limitations when going up against a human-controlled ghost player.

A noteworthy achievement, this game captures the essence of being a Ghostbuster for any fan. If you’re not too keen on the franchise, you can still enjoy this game, a pseudo-horror first-person shooter based around 4v1 team-play. I hope this game brings success to the developers and the franchise as a whole; that way, we’ll see additional DLC and updates in the future to further improve and expand upon this game. I, for one, am hoping to see more homage to retro cartoons in whatever ways possible. This is the perfect October release to coincide with Halloween but can easily last beyond the season. Consider it a successful effort that’ll bust out of any ecto-containment system.

Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed
A noteworthy achievement, this game captures the essence of being a Ghostbuster for any fan. If you’re not too keen on the franchise, you can still enjoy this game a pseudo-horror first-person shooter based around 4v1 team-play.
  • Deeply thematic immersion and gameplay makes you feel like a Ghostbuster.
  • 4v1 team play requires communication and coordination.
  • Inspired by elements from both live-action movies and cartoon series.
  • Plenty of nonstop action.
  • Gameplay can become repetitive.
  • Majority of beginning environments seem similar and have low light.
  • AI teammate bots not as useful against a human-controlled ghost player.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review. Reviewed on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X|S.

Twinfinite is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy
Image of Dennis Limmer
Dennis Limmer
Dennis is a freelance writer for Twinfinite covering all things video games and anime since August 2023. A storyteller and artist who enjoys partaking in the art created by others and promoting culture.