Game Review: Ghostbusters (2016 Video Game)

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The new all-female Ghostbusters movie released last week and with it came a brand new Ghostbusters video game. Will this new game be a worthy addition to your library or is this just another shameless movie tie-in destined for the bargain bin?

Upon first impressions of this game after just seeing it for pre-order on the PlayStation Store, I thought that something was amiss. The game was only priced at $64.99 here in Canada whereas most new games are priced at $79.99. That one subtle fact for a game that isn’t a remaster is usually a telltale sign of a publisher not believing that their game is  quality game. Let’s be honest, most games that are movie tie-ins are rushed to market and the quality suffers. Ghostbusters is a perfect example of this issue.

I’ll be the first to say I was extremely excited to see a new Ghostbusters video game. The last entry on a console that I can think of was 2009’s Ghostbusters: The Video Game which was a solid 3rd-person action game and 2011’s Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime. 2016’s Ghostbusters is a 4-player co-op top-down shooter which seemed like a good idea in theory. Well, theories aren’t necessarily executed well as this game is easily one of the most uninspired offerings I’ve played in years.

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The brought the B-team out for this one.

Ghostbusters gives you the option of controlling one of 4 nameless characters who beyond the first cutscene don’t provide any meaningful character development or relationships with each other. Realistically, the game would have been better off just throwing you right into it rather than a bad attempt at making you care about some resemblance of story.

Fortunately, the shooting mechanics are generally pretty good. It’s a very cookie-cutter way of doing things with each character having different types of weapons (shotguns, miniguns, etc). In any normal game that would be acceptable, but when do you ever see the Ghostbusters using regular weapons? Sure, they throw proton in front of the names, but it constantly feels like this game was already being built as something else and they just slapped the Ghostbusters license on it. Bosses do need to be captured with a Proton Pack mini-game, but it still doesn’t change the fact that this feels very distant from the franchise it is trying to re-create.

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One of the types of uninspired enemies you’ll encounter.

The enemies are repetitive and not very challenging whatsoever. Even the elite enemies are just more target-fodder. There’s no need for tactically taking down an enemy at all because you can sit there blasting them with little consequence. Some of the enemies have different modifiers like exploding into a slime that immobilises you, but it’s all very basic. You rarely die and if you do, your teammates can revive you to 100% health an unlimited number of times. In all fairness, the later stages do become a bit more difficult but still aren’t something that any veteran gamer is going to have much issue with.

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This is about as close to the film as you’re going to get.

There is an upgrade system present in this game, however, it once again is a rather shallow and linear leaving very little room for experimentation. It’s mostly flat boosts to health, damage, etc. There really isn’t much use for the RPG elements in this game because it’s not long enough to really make much of a difference and it doesn’t really change your experience in the way that a game like Diablo would. I would also like to point out that while this game has 4-player couch co-op (a big plus these days!), it doesn’t have any online component! How you cannot include any online mode for a 4-player game in this day and age is simply mind-boggling!

It’s quite puzzling that a game that had so much potential turned out to be such a cash-in. These types of games are usually among my favourites, but this one just doesn’t have the redeeming qualities that others have and certainly offers little to no replay value. There were no recognisable faces, very few recognisable characters, and generally no much effort put into making this a worthwhile purchase. As a Ghostbusters fan, this game truly disappointed me, especially considering it was exclusive to this generation of consoles and PC. It could have easily been a PS3/360/Wii U title. If you have kids who are really in to Ghostbusters, this will provide around 6-8 hours of enjoyment for them, but I can’t recommend this otherwise. This game was certainly rushed out to capitalise on the movie and definitely suffered because of it.

*This game was provided to FYIG by Activision for review purposes*

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