Review: Ghostbusters (PS4)

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Title: Ghostbusters
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PlayStation Network Download (2.9 GB)
Release Date: July 12, 2016
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Over the Top Games
Original MSRP: $49.99 (US), €49.99 (EU), £39.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: E10+
PEGI: 12
Ghostbusters is also available on Xbox One and PC.
The PlayStation 4 download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
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There have been several games based on the Ghostbusters franchise. With the release of the controversial new film, we also have a new video game. Set just after the movie ends with a different set of characters. There are obviously some spoilers but I doubt the film is going to have a major twist that would be ruined by this game.

Gameplay:
I played the majority of this game alone with the three other co-op characters being controlled by the often stupid Artificial Intelligence. Admittedly they always follow a few steps behind and never became lost or stuck, but they needed reviving all too often for my liking. At least the developers had the sense to give unlimited revives with full health.

The biggest part of a Ghostbusters game has to be catching the ghouls and ghosts. You want to use the proton packs to ensnare a poltergeist and kick out a trap at the perfect moment, just like in the classic films. Well, I am happy to report this game does a good job of busting a ghost, until you have done it for the twentieth time.

Each character has two modes to their proton packs. Everyone has the good old trusty beam that many of us will recognize, but now there is also a gun mode and there’s a different type of gun for each character. I chose the one with the shotgun style weapon and then picked a different character with an Uzi for the main playthrough.

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Most of the enemies, like the floating books and candelabra can be dispatched with just the proton guns. It is only the tougher apparitions that require the proton beam and a few slams to the ground. Yes, you slam attack the ghosts. Then you send out the trap and mash Cross to build up the score multiplier while it is sucked in.

You follow that same attack process for the entire game with every enemy, including the bosses. You do not have to work as a team. That is made abundantly obvious when my A.I. partners are stood there doing nothing while I wrangled a spirit into the trap. They aren’t as bad compared with a few other games and can be at least relied upon to revive you if needed.

… a long drawn out chore …
The formula for this game seems to be stretched out until any kind of fun has ebbed away and only boredom remains. Each level is bland and dull with only a few basic walls and pieces of furniture repeated countless times. It feels like you’re wandering the halls of a nightmare, reliving the same thing over and over again, just to give it some longevity.

Then we have the reason for this game’s dull story, the ghosts. They too are repeated, not only during a level, but also during the entire game. The same candelabra and books that attack you at the start of the game are back repeatedly, along with every other menacing entity.

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Slowly upgrading the character’s gimped weapons and abilities to the point where they are maxed out and deal a decent amount of damage is a long drawn out chore. By the time I reached the final boring boss I still had a ways to go. My character had reached rank seventeen and the idea of replaying the same monotonous levels until the maximum of twenty was definitely not in the cards.

Aside from the utter boredom, I only encountered one glitch. After a long drawn out battle with the penultimate boss, I was in the process of capturing it using the proton beam. It flew around the room trying to get away when it became stuck on the piano in the middle of the room. I was then unable to do anything and it just stayed there doing nothing. Luckily, I was able to restart that tedious encounter from the beginning.

… such a pointless thing …
Visuals:
The graphics are good and portray a nice cartoon style. The Unreal 4 engine never stuttered even when the action became very intense. In fact, I only ever noticed two occasions where it faltered and that seemed to be where it loaded or saved at a couple of mid-level segments.

You can unlock different outfits for your characters to wear, but you will hardly notice any difference, especially between the new and classic clothing that’s available to buy on the PlayStation Store, for a hefty price I must say. Only a super-fan of the movies should consider forking out their hard earned cash on such a pointless thing.

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Audio:
The Ghostbusters theme song by Ray Parker Jr. is here in all its glory. It plays during the level select screen and my kids made me turn it up while they boogied and sang for five minutes. There is some decent voice work during the animated intro and ending, plus some very annoying and repetitive comments during the game.

Squelching splats of slime is often heard as the players are hit by an enemy, along with screams and groans as they attack. It is all as you would expect, nothing special, nothing exceptional. The audio balance is a little off and needs adjusting unless you grow weary of their pointless drivel, in which case, just leave it.

… a boring and dull slog till the disappointing end …
Online/Multiplayer:
The game includes local multiplayer for up to four players where everyone plays together to plod along through the tedious levels. It does feature drop-in and drop-out play, but it became a struggle to get any of my family and friends to play more than a level before dropping-out. There are no online options to speak of so I couldn’t torture any long distance friends.

Each character has a glowing circle beneath them which helps massively when the action occasionally ramps up, I do not recall losing my character during the chaos which is a great thing for a co-op game. It helps that you can swap their outfits and there are one or two that differ enough to the standard attire.

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Conclusion:
Ghostbusters is a fun game for the first half hour, then it becomes a boring and dull slog till the disappointing end. Battling the same enemies repeatedly in the uninspired levels is enough to make you scream.

I pity the fool that fights their sanity to get the Platinum for what would inevitably be an uneventful chore until the agonizing end. Okay, that is may be a little bit too harsh, but I cannot see anything that drags it from a mire of mediocrity. This game is such a wasted opportunity.

The short cinematic opening and ending is of a decent quality and the graphics are nice too, it just gets very repetitive after seeing the same couch and potted plant in each room. It wouldn’t be so bad if this were a third of the price and had some more variety to the locations and ghouls and ghosts but sadly we are left with yet another disappointment.

Score:
5.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

You can find me on everything: PSN, Twitter, Wii U, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

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  • You poor poor man having to play this.

    • ChazzH69

      I was stupidly looking forward to it and wish it turned out better.