System: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch | Publisher: Mad Dog Developer: Saber Interactive, Terminal Reality | Released: October 2019 Reviewed On: PlayStation 5 (PS4 Version)
Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered, is 2009s original game but brought up to todays standards graphically. Yes, that’s right, we get the banter of the original Ghostbusters all over again alongside our silent protagonist. It is through the rookie’s eyes that the story unfolds with a new threat looming over New York City. As the game takes us on a ride of biblical proportions, an energy blast sweeps through Manhattan, alerting our team that something is afoot.
This game act’s as the third movie instalment we never got, except we are getting one now in the form of Ghostbusters: Afterlife 2021, but we did not know that back then and this remaster still looks the part in making you feel like a Ghostbuster. The game is set two years after the second Ghostbusters movie, it is a third person action-adventure game, that puts you in the role of the Ghostbusters newest recruit, the rookie. As the story unfolds you quickly discover that the supernatural energy blast has led to ghosts popping up all over the city, go back to places like the Sedgewick Hotel (from the first movie), the New York public library, as well as, returning ghosts such as the iconic Slimer and Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. Battle through various level designs and uncover the plot of how, once again, New York City finds itself engulfed with the paranormal.
Ghostbusters gets off to a quick start, giving you a run down of how everything works, after the energy blast, Slimer escapes down to the basement of the firehouse, giving you some training with the proton pack. Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) explains that your life bar is shown on the pack, rather than a traditional HUD, in fact the game looks exceptionally clean, as everything you need is on the proton pack, allowing you to focus on the game itself rather than looking all over the screen at different information.
On your proton pack you will find the aforementioned life bar as well as an overheating bar, which when firing your proton stream will begin to increase, as it increases it will change colour, from green to eventually bright red to indicate to the player that they need to vent their pack which cools it off, allowing you to begin firing at the ghosts once again. When firing your stream at a ghost you will see a round circle with small green blocks, this is effectively the life of the ghost and to stand a chance of capturing the ghost you must deplete the green bars to weaken your enemy enough that you can trap em. Once you have weakened the ghost enough your stream will wrap around the ghost allowing you to throw the trap down, when the trap is down a ray of light will appear out of the trap, this is where you now need to guide the trapped ghost in your stream towards the light. This part of the action can get a little cumbersome as the controls have not been amended in any way, only the graphics. It takes a bit of getting used to, but it is straightforward enough once you get the hang of it. That is the biggest downside to this game in my opinion, is the controls, they lack a certain amount of polish and at times feel clunky. Remember this is a remake of a 2009 game, a lot has changed since then, and it is an aspect of the game they did not look into. This remaster feels purely a paint job.
The proton pack can be upgraded over the course of the story to combat new enemies such as the iconic slime stream. The PKE-meter is on hand to scan artefact’s and ghosts, which gives you some nice backstory and lore into the universe. The level designs feel great, with plenty of detail and enemy variations across to keep you busy, however, is let down but the repetitiveness of the combat, it is still fun do not get me wrong I was just left wanting more. There are boss battles on each level but again it is the same method as with all ghosts, weaken them with your stream until they can be captured. At times, the levels feel overly long, although you will not notice at times due to the dialogue keeping you thoroughly entertained throughout with the great writing. I never felt that I was going to fail a level either, as every time I was downed the A.I was always on hand to revive me, making the game feel easy and taking away some challenge from it. It should be noted that the multiplayer from the 2009 version, did not make it onto the remastered game due to coding issues.
This remaster looks great for the most part, it’s still great seeing the likeness of the original Ghostbusters, in some cutscenes the animation feels slightly janky, but It did not ruin the experience for me. Everything from the proton pack, your proton stream, the ghosts and of course the character models looked great with this remaster touch up. The games look and feel made me truly feel a part of this world and most importantly like a real Ghostbuster.
The music and sound design in this game is straight out of the movies, from the haunting music of the New York Public Library, the sirens from Ecto-1 (Ghostbusters car), the sound of the proton stream blasting at your enemies, made the game come alive and bring all that nostalgia back that you had from the series. The original cast lending their voices make this game truly feel like a spiritual third movie in the franchise.
Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered is roughly 8 – 10 hours for completing the story, the story itself feels like it would only work as a game however you can see how much love went into the product from Dan Aykroyd and the late Harold Ramis. For the most part I enjoyed my experience, but this was mainly down to the nostalgia of the series and never getting tired of feeling like an authentic Ghostbuster team member. The silent protagonist helped make me feel that I was that character and that I was living out my boyhood dream. I must give the games trophy list a shout out as well, as most of the trophy’s names are quotes from the movies which I found to be a great treat when they popped up on my screen. I must admit I got more enjoyment with the 2009 version due to this being a one-of-a-kind type of game, but with the industry more advance than it was back then, I really felt the games limitations. This could have been a genuinely great remaster if they modernized more of the game such as the combat and controls rather than just focus on the visuals. For anyone that is a fan of the franchise and has fond memories of the 2009 game then you will enjoy this if you can look past its obvious flaws.