Review – Ghostbusters The Video Game Remastered
Ghostbusters is 100% a movie that defines the era it was made. That isn’t to mean that it hasn’t aged well. The fact that the 2016 Paul Feig reboot of the franchise can’t hold a candle to Ivan Reitman’s original is proof of that. It will never be confused with Gone with the Wind, but it’s a movie that instantly takes you right back to the 80’s. Ghostbusters The Video Game is no different. It will never be confused for The Last of Us or God of War, but it doesn’t want to be. It wants us to remember a time where entertainment was entertaining. It also still, to this day, one the best licensed games out there.
That’s the real gem here and what causes most of these games to fumble: its licensed IP. Rather than simply pushing a product to cash in on a theatrical release, real attention and care was paid to the development. Original writers, Harold Ramis and Dan Akroyd, were heavily involved in the script, and returned to star along with Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, and Annie Potts, as well as other familiar faces. Ghostbusters The Video Game acts as Ghostbusters III. And ten years later, Ghostbuster The Video Game Remastered pays every bit of love and care the original.
Technically, Ghostbusters The Video Game is a 2009 release for cross generation consoles. Terminal Reality developed the Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions while Red Fly Studio developed the PlayStation 2, PSP, and Wii versions. This time around, Saber Interactive and Mad Dog Games bring us the remastered version for PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.
The Ghostbusters movie was released in 1984, just 11 days before my 9th birthday. What I am trying to get at is simply that I grew up with the movies, action figures, and cartoons and I have a certain nostalgia for Ghostbusters. I was that kid who would play Indiana Jones, Star Wars, and Ghostbusters at recess. I am still that adult that will randomly say, “Are you the Gatekeeper?” or, “That’s a big Twinkie.”
You play as the Rookie, which is seriously the name on your uniform, a new recruit to the Ghostbusters: a team of misfit parapsychologists who pursue and capture ghosts in New York City. The story is set some two years after the events of 1989’s Ghostbusters II. Ghostbusters The Video Game starts with the original team training you before you get called to a familiar location to bring in an even more familiar and slimy ghost.
By the time you finish your stay at The Hotel Sedgewick, you are pretty comfortable with everything that Ghostbusters The Video Game will throw at you. The game is basically a 3rd person shooter and has you learning to blast away with your proton pack (shoot) and to vent pressure that is built up (reload). Once you get a ghost’s health down to a certain level, you can grab it and slam it around to stop it from escaping while you get it closer and closer to your trap. As you get to tougher enemies, you will have to employ other tactics and upgrade your current equipment.
Although your proton pack is easily the star of the gameplay, and what every kid immediately thinks of when it comes to Ghostbusters, it isn’t the only ghost capturing hardware you get to use from the films. You also don your iconic ectoplasm sensitive goggles, entering a type of 1st person “detective mode”. That’s right, and a full two months before Batman: Arkham Asylum stole all the credit! Suck it, Batman! This allows you to use your PKE meter and track down ghosts as well as hunt for cursed collectibles and familiar objects from the movies.
Gameplay can become repetitious as the loop is small and constant: Track ghost, weaken ghost, slam ghost, capture ghost, repeat. Occasionally, you will need to revive your teammates mostly just so they are healthy enough to revive you when you fall. However, this loop does more than enough to carry you through the moments that you are really playing this game for: Being a Ghostbuster, Bill Murray’s sarcastic one-liners, Dan Akroyd’s on-the-point naivety, roaming the firehouse, and seeing old favorites like Viggo, Slimer and Stay-Puft.
Ghostbusters The Video Game is nostalgia done right, and puts you right back in 1984. It isn’t a masterpiece of a game, and neither was the movie, but it reminds us again that it is ok for entertainment to just be entertaining. It is a game that deserves to be remastered and remembered. And 35 years later, it also serves to remind us that a remaster doesn’t always need to be Fall Out Boy and Missy Elliott. Sometimes, Ray Parker Jr. is exactly who you need to call.
It is a remaster of a ten year old game, not a “from the ground up” rebuild. They do it well but there are obvious limitations.
Standard gameplay with fun but limited loop of track, shoot to weaken, slam, trap, repeat.
Call it nostalgia, call it fanboying, but getting almost the entire main cast, including protagonists, makes this game.
Fun Factor: 8.0
Gameplay may be limited in its repetition but it gives you more than enough to get to what makes it excel… the cast, writing and overall universe.
Final Verdict: 8.0
Ghostbusters The Video Game Remastered is available now on PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.
A copy of Ghostbusters The Video Game Remastered was provided by the publisher.