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REVIEW: Ghostbusters: The Video Game (XBox 360)

In Game Reviews on June 17, 2009 at 4:24 am

Ghostbusters: The Video GameI was born 4 months after Ghostbusters hit theaters. I grew up somewhat addicted to the series. I had the toys, from action figures to the giant plastic Proton Pack, I watched the series religiously, and I still to this date have a Sta-Puft plushie. So when word of a new Ghostbusters game came out, needless to say my reaction was somewhere along the lines of leaping in to the air grinning and screaming with joy. Well, the game is here. And I just finished it.

And I’m still leaping in the air grinning and screaming with joy.

I could go on about the bad things, sure. The game is short, for starters. I mean really, really short.  I finished the single player campaign in about 6 hours.  There’s still plenty of achievements, other game play difficulties, and I need to find the rest of the Cursed Artifacts and Ghost Scans, but I’ve finished the story.  The upgradable proton pack is upgradeable only in the loosest sense, with their being four modes and 4 upgrades for every mode that you’ll have bought all of by the 3-4 hour mark.  The graphics are pretty but on at least two occasions are their own worse enemy, with items flying fast and furious and you being unable to see much of anything.  The lip sync is usually off, there are standard issues with AI, and then there’s those goddamn kamikaze Concrete Angels.

Pictured: Standard Reaction to Ghostbusters Concrete Angels

Pictured: Standard Reaction to Ghostbusters' Concrete Angels

The good news?  That’s really it.  The controls are absolutely beautiful, trapping the ghosts is unreasonably fun, its just a perfect game, and a beautiful love letter to a franchise I’ve grown up with.  I really can’t begin to gush about this thing and give it enough love.

The story revolves around you as a rookie in the team, as a wave of paranormal activity hits New York City.  Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson and the rest of the cast of the movie return to reprise their roles, and have not missed a single step.  Unfortunately missing from the game are Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis, who declined the opportunity to return to the game.  Instead, we get new damsel Ilyssa portrayed by Alyssa Milano.

Really, We Could Have Done Worse

Really, We Could Have Done Worse

The game controls very much like a Gears of War-lite, which is not to say its a GoW clone but you probably could have guessed that by now, right?  So, let’s go on about trapping.  Weaken the ghosts with a proton stream, catch them in a capture stream and then get them over a placed trap.  The trap automatically opens and then you just have to keep them in the “capture cone” until they’re in the trap (a later game upgrade allows you to “slam dunk” ghosts in to the trap).  Your other weapons (Dark Matter Generator, Slime Blower and Meson Cannon) are also capable of trapping, but are primarily offensive weapons for enemies that can’t be trapped.  I’d say there’s not a lot of focus on the trapping in the game, but they do a pretty good job of mixing it up.  You also have your PKE meter, which is capable of detecting your enemies weaknesses, making all boss fights pretty simple matters of select the right weapon and hit the weak spot.  The PKE also does great with helping you locate ghosts or supernatural items (such as the dreaded Black Slime that plagues much of the mid-game) and helping to locate the Cursed Artifacts scattered throughout the levels.

The gameplay is traditional over-the-shoulder third person.  They don’t deviate from this, thankfully.  Its always been a pet peeve of mine when a game throws in a driving level or some different control scheme randomly, instead of delivering a straight-forward experience.

You’ve usually got one of the other Ghostbusters with you, on a few occasions three or four of them. The AI is pretty good, but they do tend to stand in the way of your stream, or walk by without reviving you. Oh yeah, you can’t really die. You can take enough hits, but it really takes a lot to actually kill you, you’ll usually be revived by a teammate.  The boss battles are large in scale and entertaining, but ultimately nothing is harder than those goddamn kamikaze Concrete Angels.

Seriously, Fuck Those Angels.

Seriously, Fuck Those Angels.

So in case you can’t tell, the game is pretty great.  There’s a bunch of online multiplayer, but LIVE has been down all day for maintenance, so I haven’t been able to actually test out anything other than the Containment mode.  But its a great title, and I highly, highly recommend it.  Yes, its short, and $60 seems a bit much for that, but this is a solid game with lots of replay value, and a loving tribute to a beloved franchise that everyone wants to see more of.

Final Grade: A.  As if there was any doubt.

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