GAME REVIEW | Busting Makes Me Feel HD with 'Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered'
Nostalgia is a difficult thing to get right and various projects based on the Ghostbusters franchise have had different levels of success. The series seems like a perfect fit for a game, so when the original Ghostbusters: The Video Game came out back in 2009, it had some fans excited to see how good bustin’ would make them feel. For various reasons, I missed out on this initial release, so I was excited to give the game a go with the release of Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered. What I found was a video game packed to the gills with nostalgia that takes some cues from another popular spirit-hunting game.
The practice of busting ghosts spells itself out pretty well in the films and would seem like an easy fit for video game mechanics. In Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered, this fact turns out to be fairly true when the concept is transferred into a third-person shooter format. Ghosts need to be blasted with the proton pack for a while and then once they have been properly worn down, they can be lassoed into a trap. The lassoing and trapping portion of this process feels very satisfyingly like you might have imagined it watching the movies. Wearing it down, however, is less exciting due to a lack feedback from the ghost being attacked. This is a problem across multiple third-person shooters, but thankfully it does not detract too much here. What did slow down the experience in a negative way was how fast the player character went down in a fight. There were a few fights, especially towards the end, where it was very hard to stay alive, Ben knowing exactly what needed to be done
Funnily enough, the ghost trapping concept has already been tackled in another game about hunting ghosts: Luigi’s Mansion. Instead of wearing ghosts down by blasting them, they spend most of the fight trying to escape as they are snared. Ghostbusters: The Video Game goes a different route by giving the player several different modes for the proton pack. The standard and slime modes are both straight from the movies, but they have included a few extra types of shots that are brand new. One of them, the stasis beam, has a mode that acts a bit like a shotgun, while the meson collider, another weapon, fires rapid bursts like a machine gun. These new types of weapons add variance that the game desperately needs over the campaign. I am glad they didn’t copy the Luigi’s Mansion concept wholesale, but it does seem like they could have learned a bit more from the similar title. Overall, the various enemy types and puzzles justify the use of all of the weapons and keep the combat feeling fairly fresh even with enemies not being reactive enough to the blasts from your pack.
Re-releasing a game from a previous generation can tend to show its age and this is true in some areas for Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered. Aside from the lessons that third-person shooters have learned since 2009, the game certainly looks like a PS3/360 game that has gotten a good facelift. The graphics look very crisp, clean and the frame rate feels consistent throughout. The cut scenes, still rendered to look how the original game looked, are muddy to say the least. Overall, I was impressed at how well the graphics help up over time. In particular, the likenesses of the main cast are spot on and it was great to see them all together again. The only exception here was Janine, who looked nothing like Annie Potts. The player character, who is referred to mainly as “the rookie” is also so bland that he could easily have been made a customizable character.
The one thing that Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered has in droves is nostalgia. Nearly every set piece in the game is meant to evoke a scene from one of the movies, including a surprisingly early appearance from the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. The winds of nostalgia can shift at any moment, but I was surprisingly susceptible to it in this case. It was amazing to hear the voices of the entire original cast who returned back in 2009 to voice this game. This includes Harold Ramis who has passed away since this game was originally released. Some of the off-the-cuff dialogue gets a little repetitive, but I enjoyed the performances overall. There are a lot of little easter eggs in there as well, including a giant painting of Vigo the Carpathian who will talk to you while you explore the firehouse. The ghosts themselves also feel like they fit the original vision of goofy, but slightly creepy-looking, ghosts. Even the soundtrack is straight out of scenes from the movies.
- Filled with Ghostbusters nostalgia that worked well
- Lassoing and trapping ghosts feel good and evokes the movies well
- Good variety of weapons that all feel useful for combat and puzzle-solving
- Blasting ghosts to weaken then does not feel as good
- The Rookie not being customizable feels like a missed opportunity
- Co-op not currently in the remastered version
Remastering older games can show the age they have acquired over the years and Ghostbusters: The Video Game is 10 years old. While the gameplay feels a little antiquated in parts, the nostalgia and fun of getting to be a Ghostbuster still shines through in this game. If you are a fan of the series, it is easy to recommend giving this game a shot from the nostalgia alone. Riffing on Luigi’s Mansion in a few ways, and even potentially inspiring Luigi’s Mansion 3 in some others, they managed to find a way to successfully translate busting ghosts to a video game. I think, knowing what they know now, that a sequel could take this even further and improve on some of the weaker aspects. For now, Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered is a great way to bust some ghosts on your PS4, Xbox One or Nintendo Switch today.
Promotional consideration provided by Sandbox Strategies. PS4 version played for this review.