Ghostbusters: The Video Game PlayStation 3
Published by: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Developed by: Terminal Reality
Games based on movies, as you all know, are usually average at best and downright disappointing most of the time. There have been some exceptions of course and it's pleasing to put Ghostbusters: The Video Game amongst those exceptions. This isn't a game of the movies, it's an original storyline in fact, but you will get to visit some familiar locations, along with a bunch of new ones, and this all helps to keep you firmly grounded in the Ghostbusters' universe.
Ghostbusters plays like a third-person shooter in regards to how it controls. Of course the use of the proton pack and the traps along with the various gadgets that you'll use and the nature of the enemies you'll face mean that the game manages to feel unique. What really makes the game interesting for fans of the Ghostbusters universe is the range of new gadgets you get to try out during the course of the game. You are put in the role of a new recruit, who doesn't manage to utter a single word throughout the game, and essentially you test all of the new gadgetry and upgrades.
Your AI companions are a bit of a letdown. Certainly in terms of their comments and Venkman's witticisms they don't disappoint but in terms of how useful they are, they leave a lot to desire. All too often you will be reviving them as they don't seem to be capable of getting themselves out of hazardous situations. You'll also find that they don't do as much as they should in helping to catch the ghosts. It never quite feels as though you're a one man team but at times it's certainly not far from it. Fortunately it's a lot of fun scanning for ghosts with the PKE meter, hitting them with a proton beam (in its various forms) and catching them in the trap, so it's possible to overlook the AI's shortcomings. That said, the boss fights are rather easy but that's only a minor complaint in the overall context of the game.
The game does offer an online multiplayer mode allowing you to play ranked and unranked games and it's surprisingly enjoyable. There are several different game types such as Containment, Survival, Protection and Thief. Thief is probably the most fun of the bunch as you and three others have to stop the thieving ghosts from stealing artefacts. The multiplayer modes on the whole are surprisingly fun and will help you to get more value out of the game once you're done with the approximately eight hour long single-player storyline.
Whilst it won't go down as the best looking PlayStation 3 game to date, Ghostbusters is a fairly good looking game. Where the developers really succeed however is in creating a look that's as close as you could hope for to the Ghostbusters' movies. All of the character models are instantly recognisable but the attention to detail the developers have shown with the Ghostbusters' vehicle, their headquarters, the proton packs and the ghosts really helps to capture some of the movies' spirit. There are a few disappointing aspects however. The frame rate isn't as good as it could have been at times and screen tearing is a minor source of annoyance. You could also argue that the character animations could have been a little less stiff at times. Still these are minor disappointments.
Ghostbusters is subtitled, although they are disabled by default. Thankfully you can enable them before beginning a new game. You're getting the bare basics with the subtitles however as there are no character names or portraits to accompany them. At times it can be tricky picking out who is saying what. Of course it's pretty obvious that the dry comments are coming from Venkman and the boffin talk comes from Egon, so it's not as confusing as it could have been. All tutorial information is shown in text and you have access to a variety of tutorial information that you can access at any time. Your objectives are shown in text and can also be recalled whenever you need to remind yourself of what needs to be done. When one of the team is down, a character portrait appears and is accompanied by a directional indicator so you know in which direction to head to revive them. There are no captions for ghost noises and it's possible to be attacked from behind by a ghost but for the most part the game is fairly accessible.
Fans of the movies can pretty much consider Ghostbusters: The Video Game as an essential purchase. No, the game isn't perfect but it really does capture quite a lot of the movies' essence and when you add in that it's a fairly enjoyable game in its own right, you have a game that will definitely hit the spot for Ghostbusters aficionados and also for those with only a passing interest in the movies.