Sometimes, video games get remastered releases that are easy to ignore, but there was something about Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered that caught my eye from the moment it was revealed. I didn’t get around to playing the game when it initially released back in 2009, so it was exciting to be able to play it now with a few modern bells and whistles added onto the experience – the fact that the game was presented as a bona fide follow up to the movies with the original cast on board was just the cherry on top. Of course, time isn’t always kind, so there was also the worry that the ten-year gap since its original release might not have been kind to the game…
Thankfully, Ghostbusters: The Video Game manages to hold up well today in its remastered form, especially on the Nintendo Switch where a few sketchy visuals aren’t as noticeable as on the more powerful 4K-enabled consoles. However, whilst it’s certainly fun to play, there are some aspects of the gameplay that felt a little bit too repetitive in design to make it an unmissable release.
Taking place two years on from Ghostbusters II, Ghostbusters: The Video Game puts you in the shoes of a new recruit for the team as they look to thwart a new paranormal threat that hits New York that seems to be rooted at a new exhibition at the Natural History Museum. Of course, things are never straight forward for the Ghostbusters, with returning threats (as well as one very familiar white puffy giant) adding even more chaos to the mix.
Ghostbusters: The Video Game’s narrative is fun, silly and complimented by the great performances by the original actors who have returned to reprise their roles. There’ll definitely be a satisfying sense of nostalgia as characters interact with one another with their witty quips, whilst seeing familiar locales such as the Ghostbusters’ firehouse base so authentically re-created will definitely bring more than a few smiles to fans of the movies. The narrative was written by the original duo of Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis too and it’s made up of some ideas they had for a potential movie follow-up, so you know you’re getting something special here.
Ghostbusters: The Video Game sees you working through seven chapters which are spread across all-new locales as well as a few familiar spots from the movies (you can expect to see a few returning ghostly apparitions too). Whilst there are a selection of puzzling elements thrown into the mix, the majority of the game just sees you exploring the eerie environments, scanning them with your trusty PKE meter to uncover secrets, and then capture the ghosts that are causing havoc. It’s everything you’d expect from a Ghostbusters video game really, with the accuracy of the gear you’re using and the vibe of each encounter with the ghosts feeling like they could have come straight out of the movies.
Capturing ghosts will feel authentic to anyone familiar with the Ghostbusters, with the player having to blast each one with a proton beam to weaken it, sling it around a bit, and then capture it in one of their traps. The ghosts won’t make it easy for you and you’ll have to keep pulling the proton beam away from them to keep the momentum with you as they struggle, whilst they’ll go out of their way to try and cause you harm too – something that’s all the more apparent when facing off against multiple ghosts at the same time. Fortunately, you’ve got your trusty ghostbusting team mates with you to help you out along the way, so you won’t struggle alone (even if it can feel like you have to help them out more often than they do you).
It all feels neat to pull of in-game with both your proton pack and the beams they blast looking like they’ve come straight out of the movies, whilst the destruction you can cause with them adds a satisfying sense of chaos to each encounter. As you capture ghosts you’ll earn money, which can be spent to purchase upgrades for your gear. Want a piece of advice? Make sure to upgrade your trap – you WON’T regret it.
You’ll unlock additional prototype weapons too, allowing you to blast out the likes of slime, kinetic energy, and electricity as alternatives to the traditional proton beam. Certain ghosts are more vulnerable to different types of fire (something you can discover by scanning them), so swapping them around can give you an easier time. Admittedly, their use doesn’t change up too much from a gameplay perspective, but it’s nice to have that extra bit of variety.
Whilst Ghostbusters: The Video Game’s gameplay mechanics are sound, the structural design of the game could feel a bit basic. Whilst there are seven chapters to work through that span across a multitude of interesting locales, the gameplay itself is a little linear and doesn’t offer much in the way of variety. Some levels drag out a little bit too, with certain set pieces feeling a little bit longer than they should. It’s nothing too problematic because the game itself remains fun throughout (especially for fans of the Ghostbusters), but it did hit a point where it felt like the game ran out of ideas and I was doing a lot of the same things over and over again.
It’s worth noting that the game’s original multiplayer mode isn’t present here, so those who may have enjoyed the co-operative action in the initial release may be disappointed. The publisher has stated that multiplayer will potentially return in a patch in the future in a new form, so that’ll be interesting to see. For now, it’s single player ghost-busting only…
Presentation-wise, Ghostbusters: The Video Game looks surprisingly good. Sure, you can tell that it’s a game that has come from last-gen consoles and there are some sketchy textures here and there, but it does manage to hold up well. I didn’t come across any performance issues whilst playing on the Switch’s handheld mode either, so portable play is definitely a fun way to experience the adventure.
Oh, and I’d be remiss not to mention the sound design which is absolutely on point. As mentioned, the original actors do a brilliant job of reprising their roles, but hearing familiar sounds and the iconic theme song just made the experience all the more special.
Ghostbusters: The Video Game is good fun to play and it holds up well ten-years on from its initial release, but it is guilty of feeling a little repetitive in design. Sure, it’s enjoyable to take down the ghosts and there’s an air of authenticity to almost every facet of the game’s design, but there’s just not enough variety in the overall experience to make it feel like essential playing.
Fans of the Ghostbusters are definitely going to love the game though and there’s certainly fun to be had – just don’t expect Ghostbusters: The Video Game to reach the same brilliant heights that the movies did.
Developer: Terminal Reality, Saber Interactive
Publisher: Mad Dog Games
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox One