It’s been ten years since 2009’s Ghostbusters: The Video Game from Terminal Reality. This game was an instant classic on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. At the time of its release, it was considered one of the best movie franchise tie-ins ever made. However even with the help of the incredibly talented Saber Interactive on this unexpected remaster, the game shows its age in the worst of ways.
In Ghostbusters, you take on the role of a new recruit to GhostCorps and assist the Ghostbusters on missions across New York City. The attention to real-life locations was something that I really loved about the game when I first played. Like the 2009 version, the game’s plot is written by Dan Aykroyd and features all of the original acting talent from the classic films. This includes the late Harold Ramis, who worked on the original release of the game. Peter, Ray, and Egon are along with you for the ride most of the game. They do still dip out at certain areas in the game in order to give you a chance to battle ghosts by yourself.
I found these points satisfying, as for the majority of my playthrough, my teammates often slowed me down or got in my way. I often had to stop what I was doing constantly to revive them, or fail the mission because I was downed by a ghost and my teammates were defeated by ghosts while walking over to revive me. Moments like this made me wish they had improved some of the cooperative A.I. while remastering the game for a more modernized experience.
This remaster is almost solely a visual one. The graphics are noticeably better. The character’s faces are far more convincing and feel more realized, and the environments look and feel fantastic. The voice acting hasn’t changed, even still with out-of-sync game models vaguely mimicking whatever their character is saying. However, there were drastic drops in the frame rate when there were multiple enemies on screen at once. This wasn’t a game-breaking problem for me, but it definitely made it frustrating to keep track of what I was doing most of the time. Sometimes, textures would drop in and out. Other times, only half of a ghost’s character model would spawn on screen depending on the level. This didn’t stop my Ghostbusting, so it wasn’t a big problem.
It’s a lot to expect a complete rebuild of a game from a remaster. Still, while playing Ghostbusters: The Video Game, I almost felt like this remaster didn’t have a reason to exist. I say this because while Ghostbusters was a great game for its time, a simple visual rework isn’t enough to justify a remaster 10 years later. There needed to be something more here in order to make a worthwhile remaster.
The linear third-person over the shoulder gameplay hasn’t aged well at all. The controls work, but they’re incredibly stiff, and running from point A to point B on a mission grows tedious. Combat consists of simply holding down the right trigger to fire proton streams to weaken a ghost. After weakening the ghost, you’ll set down a trap to capture it. Most times while fighting a ghost, you’ll have to allow your proton stream to cool down. This can really slow down your process. Rinse, repeat, you get the idea.
At the beginning of the game, your fellow Ghostbusters supply you with a PKE metering device to detect paranormal activity. The PKE also allows the detection of artifacts, the collectibles in the game. Even in 2009, this was a fun addition to the game, but I never found any incentive to find anything. This is because it ultimately adds nothing to gameplay aside for some background mission information and some fun Easter eggs.
Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered is enjoyable in short doses, but before long, it begins to feel like a chore. While I loved this game as an 11-year-old, I would find it incredibly difficult to suggest this to someone who wasn’t already a big fan of the Ghostbusters franchise. Let’s hope that 2020’s continuation of the original Ghostbusters movies provides a game we can really cross our streams at.
(Editor’s note: GotGame received a review code for Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered before release. Due to various unfortunate circumstances, this review wasn’t able to be published until now. We apologize for the delay and hope our readers understand.)