‘Ghostbusters’ game welcomes players to ghostbusting


Illustration by Alexandria Moore.

Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered” is a treat for fans who long yearned for a third installment. For everyone else, it is a fun third-person shooter with a unique element in the form of playing as a person whose job is to catch ghosts rather than kill aliens with a big gun.

For years, fans of “Ghostbusters” wondered if there would be a third movie in the beloved series, and after the passing of actor/writer Harold Ramis in 2014, the likelihood seemed lower than before.

Fast forward to 2019, and there’s a third “Ghostbusters” movie coming out in 2020 courtesy of director Jason Reitman. Back in 2009, though, the third film of sorts was released in the form of a video game. Ten years later, and “Ghostbusters: The Video Game” has been remastered and re-released for current-gen consoles.

Set two years after “Ghostbusters II,” the game follows the paranormal investigators and their new recruit as they investigate strange goings-on in Manhattan. An explosion of psychic energy has resulted in a surge of ghostly activity, including the return of many familiar foes from the movie.

With a script that features involvement from the original writing duo of the first two flicks, not to mention the involvement of most of the original cast, there’s a feeling of authenticity to this game that elevates it beyond the average licensed title.

For fans of the movies, it’s a treat to see so many iconic sights and sounds, but it’s not all fan service. The story goes into new directions that expand upon the world of the movies in interesting ways.

This is a video game, though, not a movie, and from the gameplay side, it’s a satisfying experience. As the unnamed rookie, the player acts as the guinea pig for all the new equipment the Ghostbusters have been developing.

Using proton streams, shock blasts and slime blowers to weaken and trap ghosts feels great. It’s not just ghosts that gamers will have to contend with, and the game does a good job at mixing up the encounters over the course of the seven-to-eight-hour campaign.

Visually, the remaster looks similar to its original 2009 release, albeit with smoother textures and faster loading times. Some of the facial animations during in-game cut-scenes look stiff, resulting in an uncanny valley look to the characters.

“Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered” is still a delight to play, but its biggest problem is its lack of replay value. Zapping and trapping spooks is fun, but after the game is finished, there isn’t much of an incentive to go back and revisit older levels.

The original release of the game had both single-player and multiplayer, the latter of which is absent in this re-release. However, leaders at Mad Dog Games have said multiplayer will be added back in at a later date.

Though some aspects of “Ghostbusters” haven’t aged well, the game as a whole is solid. It’s a bit on the short side and could have benefitted from some added replay value, but it’s hard to argue with those problems when the rest of the title is so good.