The hubbub surrounding the new Ghostbusters movie has been so well documented that even the Internet-deprived people of North Korea have likely heard about it. The response to the first trailer for the 2016 reboot of the supernatural comedy franchise has been nothing short of vitriolic, to the point that it's one of the most hated videos ever put on YouTube. Even Nickelback doesn't have a video with that many dislikes. Perhaps it's selective memory or maybe it's rose tinted glasses, but it seems like a lot of people have forgotten that the "beloved franchise" that Internet warriors are uniting in defence of already had a sequel that everybody moaned about way back in 1989, named Ghostbusters II.
The plot of Ghostbusters II revolved around a river of pink slime flowing under the streets of New York City. The slime would feed off of people's emotions, and the hate, bigotry, anger, and fear in late '80s New York were charging the slime up with negativity. After years of built up emotions, the stuff was basically liquid nastiness, and it would corrupt anyone or anything that touched it with the feelings contained within it.
Presumably, that very same slime has been flowing beneath our cities for the last year or two, and all of the hyperbolic, overblown, and often shocking hatred regarding the new movie has been charging it up. Once the slime was full to the brim with all of the sickness that the Internet could muster, someone at FireForge accidentally dropped a PlayStation 4 disc down a manhole and into the pink goo below. Minutes later, the ground broke, slime rose out of the cracked pavement like a garish, erupting volcano, and hell itself vomited the disc back out.
The disc landed at the feet of a passing Activision executive, who promptly picked it up, wiped away the sludge with a handkerchief, turned to his colleague, and read aloud the inscription emblazoned across the Blu-Ray: "It's Ghostbusters for the PS4. Hey Pauline, do you think we can release this in time for the movie?"
Perhaps it's poor form to spend the first 350 words of a review contemplating an unlikely scenario as to how this game came to be, but it's easily the most fun we've had since starting it. Ghostbusters is the worst kind of cynical movie cash-in. It's dull, repetitive, lifeless, joyless, artless, and bears little of any resemblance to any incarnation of Ghostbusters we've come across before. If you're one of those people that has been furiously down-voting trailers for the Paul Feig Ghostbusters movie on YouTube, then let us give you a fiver's worth of free advice – let it go, because if there's one release this July that's going to drag the Ghostbusters name through the mud, it's not going to be the movie.
Immediately upon starting the game up you'll be greeted by the classic Ray Parker Jr Ghostbusters theme song. I hope you like it because you'll be hearing it over and over again between every single mission. Starting a new game quickly explains that the Ghostbusters are all busy saving the country from ghosts that are trying to assassinate the President, but there's four new recruits ready to clean up the streets. This is all explained in a two minute cut-scene that delivers lines like "There's something strange, right here, in the neighbourhood" with such a spectacular lack of wit that it's unclear as to whether the writers were simply lazy or if they're subversively mocking their own game.
Once the game starts you'll be given the choice of which Ghostbuster you want to play as. There's two men and two women. None of them have names as far as we can tell. Or personalities. They just occasionally shout out one liners so insipid and annoying that by the third time you've heard "Sprite this way" or "I see right through you" you'll pray for a power cut. The first level instructs you in the ways of playing the game. It's a twin-stick shooter. The left stick moves you around in what feels like slow motion and the right stick aims. Pulling the trigger shoots. Each of the Ghostbusters has a different weapon but they're all basically the same. If you're playing alone then the other three Ghostbusters will be controlled by the AI, but there's also an option to play couch co-op with friends.
You'll walk around the level with your PKE Meter out detecting ghostly presences, and then when the ghosts turn up you'll blast them into oblivion. Eventually you'll reach a big ghost that needs to be worn down by concentrated fire, and then you can switch to the classic Ghostbusters proton beam weapon to hold them in place, slam them into the ground for some reason, and catch them by throwing out a trap and hitting X as quickly as you can.
This is probably the first time we've ever reviewed a game in which explaining how the tutorial level works is also a set of spoilers for the rest of the game. You never do anything else the whole time you play. Does this sound boring? It goes beyond boring. This is like the gaming equivalent of Chinese water torture. If 24 were still on TV, you could expect Jack Bauer to forget hooking a car battery up to somebody's nipples to find out where the nuke is – he'd just get them to play this game for a couple of hours and he'd have the terrorist plot foiled in time for lunch. There is literally not a moment of joy to be had playing this game.
As you shoot things you'll earn points that can be used to level up your character and upgrade stats like how much damage you do and how much health you have. Health is important because when you run out of it, you'll fall on the floor and say, "I need help!" and then one of the other Ghostbusters just comes over and picks you up. Yes, the penalty for death in this game is that you're instantly revived and must continue playing the game. We're not even sure if it's possible to get a game over screen. We certainly didn't see one, and we'd remember if we did because it would have been a highlight of our time playing Ghostbusters.
The levelling up system in the game is so poorly designed that it's worth mentioning. You level up for killing ghosts, but your AI buddies don't. They kill ghosts and they get points for it, but they don't level up at all. So by the end of the game you'll be a high level and they'll all still be level one, struggling to deal with the challenge. That's okay. Since it doesn't matter if they die and they can just be revived without penalty, you can just do it all on your own. You could ask a friend to play the game with you to avoid this, but we'd only recommend doing so if you found out that your friend has been stealing from you or has been trying it on with your partner.
Roger Ebert once famously opined that video games are not art, and Ghostbusters is Exhibit A for his case. This is not art. It barely qualifies as a game. Sure, it's not broken like some games are. It's functional. It works. But there's no risk, no ambition, and not a trace of anything resembling the personality of the Ghostbusters movies or cartoons. This is a game that seems like it was made with the specific purpose of tricking parents who don't know any better into buying it for their kids.
Who ya gonna call? The Samaritans, probably.
Remember that awesome Ghostbusters game for the PS3?
Well it sounds like total crap but at the very least it's interesting to see a movie tie-in on console instead of mobile phone for once. Used to be that was the norm, of course, so that's nostalgic in itself.
@get2sammyb I'm redownloading my steam copy!
@irken004 I really liked that game! It wasn't perfect, but I had a lot of fun with it.
Ghostbusters deserves so much better than this!
Oh wow, 2/10, pray for a powercut, lol. Good times.
I consider the game from 2009ish to be the third movie. It had the original cast, a decent plot, and was fun to play/watch. As far as this "reboot" goes, I think it's pretty funny that after 5 years of absolutely terrible franchise reboots, we decide to write it off before it comes out and are considered sexist jerks. I think the movie sucks for the same reason I would think the movie would suck if they had done a reboot with an all male cast consisting of Seth Rogen and his group of stoners; it's just not the right fit for Ghostbusters.
So instead getting a follow up to the really good ghostbusters game. We get a follow up rubbish psn gane and get to pay the full retail price for it.
@meppi to be fair, Activision did release a good Ghostbusters game. In 1984.
Yet a bit later they released Ghostbusters 2 for the NES.
Such a mess. Played that game a ton back then. lol
On the bright side you did get to get to vent in the review. Also Ghostbusters 2 had one good thing going for it, the RUN D MC song on the soundtrack.
@Napples According to Dan Akroyd the 2009 game is the third movie.
take my money
Yup. And this looks like the Sanctum of Slime sequel I don't think people asked for. Not shocked how this turned out, unfortunately.
I genuinely preferred the offer ghostbuster game. If my memory serves me right on the master system, may have been mega drive. A completely new type of game for me at the time.
The funny thing is thanks to having the all-female main cast this movie is going to find some success, eventhough it deserves to fall into irrelevancy. And I think it's quite ironic that people (and there were a lot of them) who got p*ssed because "Ghostbusters can't be women" are part of the reason the movie is going to be successful. I'm not seeing it in theaters. will rent it when it hits bluray, because it just looks entirely unfunny. Flip the genders, change some of the bad jokes slightly (because male and female humor is different whether 'progressives' want to accept that or not) and you have the same thing. An unfunny, unnecessary reboot, only difference is, if it were all males, nobody would go to see it. Sony played this one smart. I don't know if I like the tactic but if you play off the emotions of the radicals on both sides of the gender war, you're going to get a decent payoff at worst, a great one at best and in the end all these higher ups are seeing is $. Even some he-man woman-haters will pay full price to hate watch, which will help the movie turn a profit and then their jaws will hit in the ground in shock That is about as funny as it gets.
We've gone full circle, once we had loads of bilge with the odd class game (early 90s) then slowly games companies started to go out of business but the quality improved (2002-2012) now we are again getting load of junk with the odd class game.
Other than mgs 5, uncharted 4, gta and witcher where the bloody hell are the marque games this gen? It's like the ps4 is becoming home of junk food games and throwaway rubbish.
I don't know, I thought all of the 90s were a great time for games and for current-gen I'd throw a few more games in there that I really like but I agree gaming isn't as good in 2016 as say 2000-2010. I think a lot of factors. Obviously as businesses all companies want to see is profits and taking risks doesn't usually turn profit, so that stifles creativity. We also have a current culture, at least here in the U.S., that is overly sensitive, overly politically correct, offended by everything and is becoming as freaking close-minded as Xbox fanboys accuse the Japanese of being in regards to American products.
@themcnoisy Definitely. Most developers are just using the Ps4 for quick cash without caring about their game nor the buyers since money is the most important. Wouldn't it be a better choice in releasing it for the IOS? I'm surprised Sony let this type of games pass, along with Dynamite Fishing, Torquel, Koi, Godzilla, etc.
The only good ghostbusters that deserves a revival is Ghostbusters 2009. I mean, if Activision doesn't have a problem bringing Prototype and Deadpool for the Ps4, why not the last gen ghostbusters as well? It could have been so much better instead the piece of despicable mess we got.
@SoulsBourne128 There's going to be a saturation point, I've hit mine - others will follow. We pretty much accept mobile games are crap. That's filtering its way back onto console the way cheap arcade ports did. Its only going to damage gaming consoles reputation in the future.
@Gamer83 I deregistered from an American site which shall remain nameless due to this, heck I believe in fairness to all. I really do if you told me my daughter couldn't be a leader in business or was only good to clean some mans dishes I would be the first person to knock your block off, I get the sentiment and the need for equality but using discrimination and concluding that Zelda was / is racist or Chun Li and her ridiculous bouncing boobs are more deserving of derision than the ripoff bare bones whole sf5 package is beyond me.
What would a game have to do to get a 1? Fail to boot?
@Gamer83 Sounds like people in America are all Daily Mail Readers. (awful newspaper in Britain)
lol how to rape a franchise
Bollocks you know what August ps plus game will be. Sony loves to give away twin stick shooters.
'but it's easily the most fun we've had since starting it.'
yet IGN have it a 4 😜
At least there's no bogus sexism controversy haunting the release of the game so that we can actually get some honest reviews about it.
At least the marketing team can't shame feminism to try to sell this one...
@Madotsuki While personally I would have considered it a blessing if the game hadn't booted, yes, failure to work in some way would have garnered the game a 1.
@DarkmarkUnited Had you heard about the hubbub surrounding the new Ghostbusters movie before I brought it up?
@Fandabidozi It's the royal 'we'.
Garbage game to go along with a garbage movie.
"but the kids love us."
This review is a work of art seriously. Well done @johncalmc! This had me laughing out loud constantly, reminding of some of the reviews you'd get in N64 and NGC magazine. Brilliant.
Looks like a crap attempt to mix Diablo and Ghostbusters, that 2009 game though that was a proper Ghostbusters Film and game.
Buy the bad game and you get the bad movie bundled in and can have a crapfest weekend.
Ghostbusters on the sega Genesis was still to me the best one!
Wow, and I thought we needed more licence games.
Wow, and I thought we needed more licence games.
@get2sammyb I really enjoyed that one! I'm gonna have to find a copy at the local game store soon.
Tap here to load 41 comments
Leave A Comment
Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...