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Monday, July 13, 2009

Ghosts Busted, New York Saved

I try to generate at least a couple posts for each game that I play: first impressions and a final review. I was going to present my first impressions of Ghostbusters after having played it this past weekend on my Xbox 360. Unfortunately, I finished the game far too quickly. So let's jump straight to my final review of Ghostbusters: The Video Game.

If you've been a regular reader of The Greedy Gamer, you'll know that I don't like to assign number or letter values to my game reviews. I think every game comes down to a simple decision: rent, buy, or pass. Of course, the decision to buy a game depends very much on the price point of the game, how much money you have to blow, and how much value you place on your time. But before I start throwing around recommendations for buying or renting Ghostbusters, let's take a look at the game's pros and cons.


  • The strongest part of Ghostbusters: The Video Game is the story. If you've watched the first two Ghostbusters movies, you have to play this game. Plain and simple. There are very few games that come out with well-written stories - but Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis do a terrific job with this game. The plot makes sense from start to finish. There's very little filler thrown in despite the fact that you're playing a video game that takes the length of roughly 4-5 movies to complete. And best of all, the Ghostbusters game ties in perfectly with the previous Ghostbusters films thus bringing the "trilogy" to a surprisingly satisfying conclusion.

  • Ghostbusters is funny. And I mean genuinely funny. Hard to pull off in games but Aykroyd and Ramis pulled it off admirably.

  • The game's controls are spot on. Weapon selection is easy to pull off on-the-fly while providing no downside to the game's minor strategic complexities. Characters feel "heavy" without making the game feel clunky. Everything just feels "right", for lack of a better term.

  • The graphics, while a little hit or miss when it comes to certain levels or characters, are much better than you'd expect from game based on a couple of 80s movies. I think the graphics were much better in the ZootFly tech demo that was made for a possible Ghostbusters game. Then again, that was a demo and not a full game running on the 360/PS3. I did find some parts of the world to be a little too visually dark for my liking and some of Venkman's facial expressions came off as a little odd but I'm being a little nit-picky here.

  • Trapping ghosts is hella-fun! I loved being faced with a room full of ghosts just waiting to slammed around and trapped.

  • Weapon variety was well thought-out for the entire game. Each upgrade, each primary firing mode, and every secondary fire mode had a purpose and place within the context of the game. It's rare to find a game where you'll find yourself using every available weapon in an attempt to stay alive or clear out all enemies as quickly as possible.
  • Some of the action sequences were a little too insane for me. There was so much stuff happening on screen that it got to be a little overwhelming at times. I usually experienced these feelings against certain types of ghosts and spectres - namely those that could not be trapped. When it came to destroying hordes of possessed objects, the game came up a little short.

  • Ghostbusters was a little on the short side. It took me about 9 hours to finish the game and I was not trying to rush things at all. I read all there was to read and listened attentively to all in-game dialog and cut-scenes. But please keep in mind that I played the game on the Casual difficulty setting (i.e. "enjoy the story" mode).

  • There feels to be an overall sense of the game being rushed at times. I'm not sure if this is just my imagination or if there were some concessions made so that the Ghostbusters video game could be released in concert with the Ghostbusters blu-ray release.
Overall, Ghostbusters: The Video Game is a terrific game. If you're a big Ghostbusters fan, you won't be disappointed with a full-price purchase of this game; for everyone else, this game is a highly-recommended rental or purchase at the $39.99 price point.

To address the game's issue of length, there are a number of hidden artifacts to find in the game which could definitely extend a single play-through by another 3-4 hours. And if you're brave enough to tackle Ghostbusters on the hardest difficulty, I think you could probably tack on at least 5-10 hours on top of that. This game can be quite difficult at times. And there's also a whole online component that I didn't bother playing because, well, I don't go for that "online play with others" thing unless I can make money doing it.

Bottom line: Ghostbusters is a quality game made for fans of the Ghostbusters films. I still find myself singing the Ghostbusters theme song over and over in my head after having finished the game a couple of days ago. And you will too if you decide to play this game...which you should do as soon as possible for your Xbox 360 or Playstation 3.

Bonus: The trailer and a couple video reviews of Ghostbusters: The Video Game. Enjoy!