Ghostbusters: The Video Game isn’t quite as good as I remember it to be.
Being in my thirties, I grew up with Ghostbusters. I watched the films repeatedly, had all the action figures, and tuned in for all the cartoons. These days, I have a LEGO Ghostbusters Firehouse. So yeah, I’m a fan. Needless to say, when Ghostbusters: The Video Game released in 2009 I was on it like a car bonnet, and I have vague memories of having a blast.
I remember an entertaining story with the voices and likenesses of the original cast, and I remember it actually letting me be a Ghostbuster. As the rookie I had access to my own Proton Pack as well as all sorts of experimental tech: it was the perfect setup for a video game based on the franchise. It had its faults, sure, but the good far outweighed the bad. Or at least that’s what I remember.
Revisiting the game some ten years later as Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered, time hasn’t been so kind to aspects of it. Or should I rather say, during the remastering process, certain aspects of the game haven’t received the love they needed. And no doubt there are some issues that have always existed but my mind simply cast them aside to remember the good stuff. Though that’s not to say that Ghostbuster: The Video Game Remastered doesn’t have its merits.
A good script doesn’t really age, and so Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered‘s dialogue still entertains 10 years later. The voice acting is brilliant, too; with the original cast on board how could it not be? On top of that, the core gameplay is also still solid. The process of shooting ghosts with your Proton Stream until they’re weakened then guiding them into a trap makes you really feel like you’ve stepped into the Ghostbusters universe. There are even a smattering of unlockable upgrades and new Proton Pack features to add a bit of spice to the action.
What I didn’t pick up on ten years ago was just how bad your team’s AI is. Strictly a single-player game, the core Ghostbusters cast accompanies you throughout most of Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered, taking down ghosts and other supernatural creatures alongside you. Considering that they’re seasoned pros, however, they spend a lot of time on the ground waiting for you to pick them up, or “Revive” them. And you’ll want to keep them on their feet, as unless you’re playing on easy difficulty you’re likely to get downed quite often yourself.
Apparitions have a nasty habit of disappearing then showing up behind you to get some cheap attacks in. And you rarely find yourself fighting just one enemy at a time. It’s easy to get overwhelmed in Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered, resulting in your character laying on the floor seeking help from your team members. They’ll happily oblige, providing they don’t get stuck on scenery on the way. The same scenery that you sometimes find yourself stuck on, that can cause disaster in the middle of a fight.
But while Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered‘s gameplay can be a bit problematic at times, what’s most disappointing about it is how jarring its presentation is on the whole. Years ago its CGI cutscenes looked phenomenal, and they still look good now. Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered doesn’t look too bad during gameplay either. Some textures have been given some care, and the resolution boost makes everything look sharp. It’s about what you can expect from a remaster.
It’s the many cutscenes from the original release of Ghostbusters: The Video Game that were put together using in-game assets that really bring the experience down. Not improved in any way, they now look terrible. They’re low res which makes them feel totally out of place, and to make matters even worse they have horrible audio quality. The result is a helter-skelter of an audio-visual experience.
With its multiplayer portion ripped out, once you’ve completed Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered‘s ten-hour campaign there’s not much reason to go back. There are hidden artefacts to find, ghosts to scan and multiple difficulties to tackle, but aside from counting towards achievement/trophy progress they don’t really compel you to return. It’s pretty much a “one and done” game, until you maybe hanker to experience the story again further down the line.
Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered is still a pretty good game if you can look past some of its niggling issues. At the end of the day, it lets you battle the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, which is all a Ghostbusters fan probably wants to do. It’s just a shame that its gameplay wasn’t a tweaked a little to make it a little less janky, and that so many of its cutscenes now feel so out of place quality-wise. Also, if you were fan of the original game’s multiplayer action, you’re out of luck.
As remasters go, Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered does the bare minimum to keep a cult classic relevant while simultaneously presenting it to a new audience. So, keep your expectations in check and you’ll probably enjoy it.