REVIEW: Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered

Dec
31

REVIEW: Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered

Ghostbusters. A timeless classic – hailed by many to be the long awaited (unofficial) sequel to Ghostbusters 2 that some of us have been waiting for. Re…mastered…released..? Whatever – now with achievements and in-game texture upscaling support!

Released: Steam
Type: Single-player
Genre: Third-Person Shooter,
Action, Shooter, Linear
Developer: Saber Interactive
Publisher: Mad Dog Games, LLC
Release date: 17 Nov, 2020
(4 Oct, 2019)

At a Glance

A year has passed and another Epic Game Store 1 year exclusivity deal has expired – bringing Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered to all the PC gamers out there that have an understandable preference for housing their video games under a single roof.

At a glance – Ghostbusters: The Video Game is great. Exactly how great is was back in 2009 when it was first released – they didn’t change a thing (almost).

I’ll come right out and say it – this ‘remaster’ is akin to how I imagine a museum conservator-restorer would go about remastering something digital. Were it not for the addition of in-game achievements and higher resolution support in the settings menu – I would have ‘alt-tabbed’ to the Steam client just to check if I hadn’t installed the original by accident.

That’s not to say it isn’t a great game, but for those of us who bought and played the game in 2009 – it’s a bit lacklustre. They didn’t even bother to re-render the pre-rendered cutscenes at a higher resolution.

If you’ve never played the game before however – this is a solid gold classic game that belongs in your library, especially if you have any love or appreciation for the Ghostbusters franchise.

It features most of the (important) original cast members, save Sigourney Weaver as Dana Barett and Rick Moranis as Louis Tully. Even William Atherton’s Walter Peck makes an appearance as does Max von Sydow as the voice of Vigo.

The game is the first of many attempts to bring what fans would expect from a proper Ghostbusters game: bustin’ ghosts with the maximum possible amount of collateral damage in proper fashion. Sap’em (shoot to tire the ghosts out), Cap’em (wrangle them towards the ghost trap) and Trap’em (confine them in the patented Ghostbusters(tm) ghost trap).

A short but sweet (about 7.5 hour) campaign sees the Ghostbusters tackling a new and slimy mystery that is tightening its grasp on the Big Apple – while dragging a new recruit along for the ride. Yes indeed – you get to be that recruit.

The story ties in nicely with the original Ghostbusters film – to the point of conveniently (but most satisfyingly) setting the stage for a battle with the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man on your very first mission. Clever and satisfying fan service right there.

While the story is not overly deep nor deeply intriguing (no more than the movie) – it suits its purpose and wraps the overall gaming experience in a fluffy blanket of classic one-liners, deadpan comedic delivery, winks and nods towards slapstick as well as lots of 1980’s reminiscence.

If you like the (original) Ghostbusters but never played the 2009 game – get the remastered edition as it’s totally worth it. If you like Ghostbusters and played the 2009 original – then wait for a discount. If you don’t like Ghostbusters then… well read a different review I guess.

The Good

  • Satisfying gameplay (as the song goes: “Bustin’ makes me feel good”)
  • Entertaining, humorous experience
  • Updated in-game graphics
  • All-new Steam Achievements

The Meh / Not-so-Good

  • A bit short
  • Immersion breaking low-resolution cutscenes

Team’s all here – rockin’ it like it’s 2009.

Analysis / In-Depth Review

Gameplay

Wait is that?

Narrative

Some undetermined amount time after the Ghostbusters successful defeat of Vigo the Carpathian (as well as Peter Venkman’s apparent 2nd break up with Dana Barett), we find the Ghostbusters busy as ever doing what they do best. Amidst destroying hotels, ruining bar mitzvah’s and tweaking their gear – they find themselves ready to train a new recruit – whose primary task it is to field test their latest, greatest and possibly most dangerous hardware to date.

Good thing too – as it seems they’ll need all the help they can get as PKE readings are spiking to unprecedented levels and ghosts are running a muck all over the city. This wouldn’t have something to do with the soon to open Gozer exhibit would it..?

Guess Vigo didn’t like the changes to his painting at the end of Ghostbusters 2.

Mechanics

In broad strokes, Ghostbusters: The Video Game is a fairly straightforward 3rd person shooter with a smidgen of 1st person perspective rolled in for good measure.

Come on Stay Puft. Bring it.

Players will scour corridors and find themselves arena-battling ghouls and ghosts armed with their field-upgradable proton pack, head-mounted PKE meters and a bunch of ghost traps.

When not confronted outright by ghosts – players will be scanning for anomalies in 1st person view mode, letting their PKE meters feedback lead them in the right direction.

Scan her for the database.

The game is based on linear progression – so no exploring, looting or crafting is involved aside from finding collectibles in the form of cursed objects.

Upgrades are purchased in-mission thanks to the swelling of players (financial) accounts with each and every ghost trapped as well as the financial rebates that are (automatically and silently) issued for scanned anomalies. Collateral damage and proton-blasting priceless artefacts into oblivion also has some financial consequences – but the ratio of which is a little unclear.

Give it the ol’ tickle with the slime.

The battle mechanics are split into two basic types, the expected type which is shooting and eventually trapping regular ghosts – and the unexpected type which entails destroying objects that have been animated by ghosts in one form or another. The latter of which (sadly) makes up the bulk of the in-game battles. Players will find themselves fighting off animated objects a lot more often than shooting, tiring out and trapping regular ghosts.

Presentation

Graphics

Graphically Ghostbusters: The Video Game was great at time of release and still holds up reasonably well by today’s standards. That said – photo-realism isn’t what the developers were aiming for – nor should any enthusiast.

Facial expressions are engaging and hilarious, ghosts and weaponry match the original source material perfectly and environments are immersive – definitely to the point of warranting the game’s unofficial title of ‘Ghostbusters 3’.

Still – that really is an accurate digitisation of Ernie Hudson.

Audio

As the game is an officially (studio-)licensed iteration in the franchise made in cooperation with the films original cast and writing staff – the game’s audio is flawless. Weapons sound as they should, Ecto-1 is spot on and voice acting leaves nothing to be desired. It’s Ghostbusters – nothing held back or omitted.

Ooh collectible!

Technical

Performance

At lower resolutions this game should run well on a smart fridge or toaster at this point, while at 1080p a GPU with 7 or more compute units should do nicely (i.e. a Ryzen 5 4650G).

Eat protons you class II animator!

Bugs / Glitches

None encountered.

Conclusion

Value for Money

Although the game has relatively limited replay value with its relatively short and somewhat predictable campaign – it’s a must for any real fan of the Ghostbusters franchise.

As far as remasters go however – this is arguably the laziest and least meaningful attempt at polishing something that I have yet encountered. They added achievements and applied a smidgen of texture scaling – nothing more. No features were added, no content was added – heck they didn’t even bother to re-render the pre-rendered cutscenes.

It’s worth the asking price if you don’t own the original – as it is a very good game. But for owners of the original however – wait for a very steep discount.

Financial security – release once a month for guaranteed cashflow.

Verdict

Recommended-ish.

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