Monday , April 22 2024

Videogame Review: ‘Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed’

I am normally not a huge fan of 4V1 games, but when I saw the previews and trailers for Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed I knew I had to try the game and I am glad I did. Developer IllFonic Inc. has made a game that is true to the spirit (pun intended) of the Ghostbusters franchise as well as fun and quick to get into.

One of the big selling point of this game is the return of Ghostbuster alumni Dan Aykroyd as Ray Stantz and Ernie Hudson as Winston Zeddemore, and boy do they deliver. The game starts with Stantz introducing a new Ghostbuster recruit (us, the player) to the world. From there the story, which I frankly was surprised existed, kicks in and had a few nice twists and turns.

The story elements are actually quite fun, as Stantz, Zeddemore and newcomers Catt and Eddy guide us through what it takes to be a Ghostbuster. As this is a 4V1 game there is also a neat hook with Ghost training (someone has to play the ghost each round) performed by a spectrally reanimated Tobin’s Spirit Guide voiced by Rahul Kohli.

The story progresses as more jobs or ghost hunts are completed, which brings us to the meat of the game, Bustin’ Ghosts or Haunting environments. Once a character is created and short tutorials are completed you can launch custom games or join quick online games.

Getting into the action is quick and easy, with AI bots filling in any missing people, and surprisingly out of the box the game features full crossplay between PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and PC. While it is designed to be a multiplayer co-op game, solo play is fully supported with bots filling out the team and Ghost role as needed.

This meant that games were generated really quickly, and I even noticed that when a player in the role of a Ghost went MIA the system replaced them with an AI in between captures. I thought our team was just that good, but alas the player was inactive so we had a quick and easy session until the AI took over.

I have played many times as Ghost and Ghostbusters and I have to say I enjoy Busting Ghosts way better. As a Ghost the goal is to haunt an environment by scaring civilians, possessing objects and sliming the Ghostbusters. I found the role of Ghost (for me) to be a lot more shallow than the role of Ghostbusters.

As Ghostbusters you continually get new customizations while leveling up as well as new secondary items and buffed gear. This, coupled with the neat strategies used to search for Ghosts and trap them, make the Ghostbuster role far more fun and dynamic.

When you’re playing as a Ghostbuster the game truly shines. Teamwork is essential to find and destroy rifts (Ghosts can respawn when any of the three rifts are still active) and to take down and trap Ghosts. Using tools such as the PKE Meters, Ghost Traps and of course the trusty Proton packs is just plain fun as levels are scoured for Ghosts and Ghoulies.

There is something so satisfying in seeing a few teammates join you in tethering a Ghost while a trap is thrown and watching the Ghost spiral into the vortex. It really is special every time and feels so completely satisfying.

Levels are not just about finding and trapping the Ghost. Rifts, as mentioned, need to be closed and civilians calmed down with a mini game to stabilize the haunting and give you more eyes to spot the Ghost. There are news clips to gather and even collectible spores and molds (a nice nod to the Egon character) to find as the levels are explored.

All of these tasks help complete jobs, which adds experience and levels which progress the story and add customization options. It is a nice loop that works quite well to entice players for just one more round.

The game has a great look, feel and sound as well, with the iconic Ray Parker Jr. theme song in full effect at key moments. Graphically it made me remember the late ’80s cartoon The Real Ghostbusters and that is actually a really cool thing.

All in all, Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed is a hell of a good time and it is obvious this was crafted by true fans of the series. Little touches are everywhere, in the firehall and out on jobs, that just add ambiance and authenticity to the Ghostbusters universe.

This is a game purely designed to be fun and give the feeling of Bustin’ Ghosts to everyone who has a chance to play it. To me that is a great accomplishment and a game well worth checking out.

Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed is available right now for PlayStation and Xbox platforms as well as PC via the Epic Games Store. We were provided a PS5 copy of the game from IllFonic for review purposes.

About Michael Prince

A longtime video game fan starting from simple games on the Atari 2600 to newer titles on a bleeding edge PC I play everything I can get my hands on.

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