Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered Review – PC
+ Great visual upgrade
+ Film-worthy story
+ Feels like Ghostbusters
+ Challenging combat
- Cutscene quality
- Clumsy AI
I generally find remasters annoying, especially when I’ve already played the original, but on those rare occasions when I never played the original, like the 2009 release of Ghostbusters: The Video Game, I’m secretly glad somebody out there is taking the time to remake these classics. Originally released on PC, PS2, PS3, and Xbox 360, I’m still not sure how I managed to miss reviewing this game on at least one of the available platforms, so when I heard the game was getting a remastered released I jumped at the chance to busts some ghosts.
There have been a lot of Ghostbusters games over the years and most have been critical and fan flops, but Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered is the rare exception; a game written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis who wrote the original films, and featuring voice performances and visual likenesses of all your favorite cast members; Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson along with Annie Potts and a whole bunch of familiar ghosts and supernatural characters like Slimer and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
The first thing you’ll notice when starting the game is the movie studio logo and the all-too familiar theme music. While the gameplay is 100% true to the original the visuals have definitely gotten an extreme makeover with all sorts of options to scale the game to a variety of PC’s while offering 30 and 60 locked fps and 4K resolution. The pre-rendered and non-upgraded cutscenes definitely show their age; a severe drop in visual quality compared to the sharp and snappy gameplay graphics. One particularly nice feature is the minimal HUD. Important info like your health and the proton pack status are clearly shown on the proton pack indicators along with lights for the upgraded firing modes. Textures are nicely detailed and the lighting and shadows have been enhanced greatly. Most impressive is the trail of destruction left behind while busting ghosts. Objects will break apart, random items will scatter about and clutter the room, and your plasma arc will tear through objects and burn trails into the environment. The audio package is fantastic with great positional audio within a 7.1 surround sound mix, some great dialogue from the hilarious cast, and all sorts of spooky sound effects and chilling music including some familiar themes. Creeping around in the green glow of your PKE vision goggles as the clicking gets louder and more rapid is as chilling as an Alien hunting down Sigourney Weaver, and there are some true pants-crapping moments when a discovered ghost bursts forth from a vase or a painting.
You’ll be playing as the newest member of the team while also wearing a new experimental proton pack that could atomize you at any moment. Early on in your induction you will accidentally release some ghosts from the firehouse containment unit including Slimer, which triggers your first training mission on how to bust some ghosts around the firehouse before moving out into the city. I have to say I was impressed with just how realistic and difficult this process is to master, even after purchasing upgrades for your equipment using the cash earned by capturing ghosts and locating supernatural artifacts scattered about the levels.
The main gameplay loop has you exploring various locations, some from the movies and some new environments using your PKE meter and special goggles to find paranormal items and hidden apparitions. Once you get a ghost out in the open it’s time to break out the proton pack wand and unleash a stream of energy at them to wear down their defense meter. Once the meter is drained you can throw out a trap and start slamming the ghost around as you guide it into the cone of light that will slowly ensnare the spirit. Naturally this is much easier when you combine (but not cross) streams with your coworkers.
The collaborative nature of the game really makes the lack of any multiplayer component a real shame. Admittedly, it would be nearly impossible to get four players on the same screen and nobody wants to play split-screen these days and finding three others in your circle of friends with a copy of this game would be unlikely. Thankfully, the AI is pretty good at having your computer-controlled compatriots work together during combat and revive you when you fall – just make sure to return the favor because if you all go down you’ll have to restart from a checkpoint. Voice cues and visual indicators show the location of fallen comrades.
The career mode clocks in at around eight hours and will take you to all your favorite spots from the films in a story set five years after the events of the original movie. Gozer is back and causing all sorts of new trouble in a wonderful narrative full of charming wit and humor. You get Bill Murray hitting on every female in the game while Dan Aykroyd drifts into streams of tech-talk and Harold Ramis tries to maintain his sanity and safety. The game will pair you off with various teammates to keep the gameplay and the conversation fresh. You’ll return to the firehouse between missions to regroup and get your next assignment. There is limited replay potential outside of replaying at varying difficulty levels. Casual offers easy access for younger gamers while Experienced offers a balanced challenge and Professional will put your ghost busting talents to the ultimate test.
Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered took me back to a time when licensed movie games actually existed and they didn’t all suck. Today, gamers are left with only a handful of IP’s each year that get their obligatory updates and anything new that comes along is some live service game meant to string you along and drain your wallet for the next several years. This is a fully self-contained action-adventure game that you can enjoy from start to finish for only $30. There is no built-in grinding or artificial padding, and you’ll actually earn more than enough money to purchase all the upgrades before you are halfway through the game. Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered respects your time as well as the original 2009 game and the license that inspired it. If you haven’t played this game yet then I highly recommend it, and even if you did play the original, there is enough visual improvements that might make it worth a second trip to NYC.