Review

Ghostbusters Review

  • First Released Jul 12, 2016
    released
  • PS4
Jason D'Aprile on Google+

Don't call them.

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It’s not surprising that Activision has chosen to release a Ghostbusters game right in time for the movie reboot or that it’s a four-player cooperative twin-stick shooter. Really, the only thing truly surprising about the game is how clueless it seems to be about its own genre and license. Ghostbusters is a nearly full-priced release that feels more like a budget bomb.

To put that in context, I actually like the last-gen Ghostbusters games, including the similarly themed four-way, very arcade-like, Sanctum of Slime. It's slight and disposable, but it nailed the old-school multiplayer groove. It wasn’t a particularly good game, but it was far and away better than this one.

This new Ghostbusters has none of the redeeming qualities of its predecessor. This romp takes place after the events of the new movie. You don’t play any of the that film's Ghostbusters though, instead taking the role of a squad of rookies (just as in the previous game). They’re a bit more diverse than usual, at least--two women and two men fill the team--but they’re standard archetypes for a multiplayer twin-stick shooter: the big guy is a mini-gun carrying tank, while his buddy is the assault rifle-carrying smart guy. The two ladies offer up proton pack versions of a shotgun and dual pistols.

With a full compliment of human players at the controls, they make a fairly well-rounded team, even if their personalities fail to make a meaningful impression. The game takes you all over New York City and, eventually, beyond. There are treks through a graveyard, cruise ship, hotel, and other haunted locales across 10 stages. Each level plays out the same way: you fight a bunch of the same, smaller ghost baddies, then some larger ones who require switching to the traditional proton beam to weaken them further so you can trap them, and eventually a pattern-based boss ghost. This formula is serviceable at first, but it doesn't take long before you start to feel like you're merely going through the motions, completing uninspiring chores.

You can also switch to the P.K.E. meter during non-combative moments to find secret goodies hidden throughout the level. This dual set-up is the standard boilerplate twin-stick shooter template, which isn’t necessarily a terrible thing. The problem here is that Ghostbusters somehow manages to suck the life out of both its own license and gameplay.

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To be more specific, Ghostbusters is mind-numbingly boring. Levels are huge--too large for this kind of game--and filled mostly with empty space and confusing, seemingly random designs. Some levels can take over an hour, devoid of interesting environments or fun challenges--it's enough to put you to sleep.

There are half-baked elements that might have improved things with better execution. The upgrade system lets you increase weapons and stats of each character, but the characters start out so ponderously slow that increasing their speed becomes a priority. Even after these upgrades, though, the controls are unresponsive, and shooting ghosts remains cloying.

While each level tends to introduce a couple new enemies, there’s very little variety overall. You encounter the same larger mid-boss opponents ad nauseam as the drawn-out levels progress. Even with that sense of repetition, you spend most of your time aimlessly walking around more than actually battling spirits. There are huge arena-sized areas with virtually nothing in them. The P.K.E. meter may initially inspire you to search every corner of a level, but there’s little payoff when you do.

And although Ghostbusters uses the Unreal 4 engine, its aesthetics don't redeem its poor accompanying factors. It’s trying hard to summon the cel-shaded animated look of Borderlands, but isn’t up to the task. The mundane looking ghosts are uninspired and landscapes are basic. The soundtrack, however, evokes the proper nostalgia, making it one of the only standout qualities in an otherwise substandard game. The overall score is surprisingly dramatic, making it much better than any other aspect of the game.

In the end, Ghostbusters has rare moments when it doesn't feel like an utter waste of time. But it's mostly a bizarre slog through mostly empty, overly cumbersome levels full of extreme repetition. Even for devoted fans of the films and four-player co-op shooters, Ghostbusters is a disappointment.

Jason D'Aprile on Google+
Back To Top
The Good
Ray Parker Jr.'s theme song
The Bad
Mind-numbingly boring
Unnecessarily large, empty levels
Unappealing characters
3
Bad
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Jason D’Aprile is saddened by the six or so hours of his life he’s never getting back after playing this game. GameSpot was provided with a complimentary copy of the game for the purposes of this review.
160 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
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EastLand

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Quite literally the worst game I've played on my PS4.

Upvote • 
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RoachRush

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Congratulations Ghostbusters! You've made it to #1 on Angry Joe's Top Ten Worst Game of 2016! You've managed to surpass Mafia 3, Umbrella Corps, and even NO MAN'S LIE- I mean SKY! Thanks for being an example on how to not make a game, because the golden prize for suckiness had to go to somebody!

2 • 
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OtherFabbros

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This game is not bad after all, like the film...
BUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUT People of internet said is sh**.

Sorry guys

2 • 
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nyran125tk

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"When's Something strange, in your neighborhood, who you gonna call"?

"NOT THE FCKING GHOSTBUSTERS"

2 • 
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thegroscon

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Can't believe this garbage still got a 3/10...

2 • 
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RoachRush

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@thegroscon: I would've gave it a 2/10. The artwork and some voiceovers being the only saving grace.

3 • 
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thegroscon

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@RoachRush: u got that right brother

2 • 
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deactivated-5ae060efb3bf6

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So much for the reboot. Just was not a good idea.

2 • 
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Arsyad00

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only the song save this game from getting 0

2 • 
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RoachRush

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Edited By RoachRush

@Arsyad00: oh hell no. They had the song on endless repeat. That combined with the soul shriveling gameplay actually made me sick of the song. Activision and Fireforge Games can go to hell.

2 • 
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BludshedX

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Good to see the game is better than the movie

4 • 
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jewell21

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I hate to nitpick, but the headline or link or whatever you call it for this article should have been more clearly labeled as describing the game. It looks like gamespot is giving the movie a 3/10, especially now that the site does movie news and reviews. Just a suggestion.

5 • 
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RobDev

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@jewell21: not really. they never give numerical reviews to any of their movies.

2 • 
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EdwardNygma

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@jewell21: You're right. The movie should be rated a 1. 3 is way too high and is misleading.

3 • 
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darksouls

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@edwardnygma: True

2 • 
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Gravity_Slave

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Edited By Gravity_Slave

-unappealing characters

What people had a problem with all along concerning the new movie. Lesson: leave the classics alone. Didn't need the "girl power" reassignment.

6 • 
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darksouls

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@Gravity_Slave: Everything needs girl power nowadays

2 • 
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Ezioprez9709

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Was this a rough draft for Diablo III?

4 • 
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darksouls

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Edited By darksouls

This game doesn't have enough of "mah womynz" to get a higher score. Silly developers.

2 • 
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SkyHighGam3r

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The movie was amazing, but this game was just plain awful.

They should have just re-tooled the one from '09 to play the plot of the new movie.

4 • 
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darksouls

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@skyhighgam3r: The movie was amazing? What are you on?

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Gravity_Slave

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@skyhighgam3r: amazing? You must huff glue and watch Tyler Perry movies...

5 • 
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SkyHighGam3r

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@Gravity_Slave@darksouls:

Sorry that you guys didn't like it for w/e reason. It had ghostbusting, that's all I wanted.

That's just fucking insulting to say I like Tyler Perry though, jesus.

3 • 
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keichimorisato9

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@Gravity_Slave: to be fair, Tyler Perry actually has made some decent non comedy films, i feel that he works best with drama (him not starring in said drama of course) than he does with comedy, but it's the comedy films that pay his bills.

2 • 
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darksouls

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Edited By darksouls

@keichimorisato9: No, no he does not.

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EdwardNygma

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@Gravity_Slave: LOL!

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Rhysis

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@Gravity_Slave: my hats off to you sir, that's the funniest comment I've read all day. It's a bad movie.

4 • 
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EdwardNygma

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This should have been the movie score as well.

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Gravity_Slave

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Edited By Gravity_Slave

@edwardnygma: I haven't seen the movie (you couldn't pay me) but the trailers of how they Vag'd it up pushed me to say it's more a -1

4 • 
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AQWBlaZer91

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Edited By AQWBlaZer91

Just as bad as the reboot film. To be honest I don't know what's better the crappy 2016 film or this.

7 • 
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DrRockso87

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Edited By DrRockso87

I still can't believe Activision tried selling this for $50. Maybe $15. Maybe. But $50?!

Activision, you probably should've just remastered the 2009 game instead.

5 • 
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MAXTHUNDER99

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@DrRockso87: Don't feel so bad it's $73.45 in Ontario, Canada.

2 • 
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Redrivar

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@DrRockso87: That wouldve been a solid ROI

2 • 
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keichimorisato9

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@DrRockso87: i'd spend $50 on a remaster of the 2009 game in UE4.

2 • 
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Gelugon_baat

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@Pipboy360: I have indeed read the synopsis, and the movie's plot feels like a wasted opportunity to me.

3 • 
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XenomorphAlien

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Another shitty cash in from Activision. That company needs to die.

4 • 
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RUMADBRAH

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It's published by Activision. No wonder it did bad.

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Kyelo

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Damn, Metacritic score film: 60, so not bad but mixed. For the game 33! Yeah 33, that is terrible!

3 • 
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darksouls

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@kyelo: The movie is worse than any game I can think of.

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BarcaAzul

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Why am I not surprised.

In guessing the film won't be much better

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CptJohnnyRico

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@barcaazul: film is shit.

8 • 
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ZmanBarzel

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@barcaazul: The film was actually pretty good. I have some problems with the third act, but that can be said with most films, especially summer blockbusters. The actors' chemistry and the dialogue made up for it, though.

4 • 
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darksouls

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@zmanbarzel: Cancer.

2 • 
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ZmanBarzel

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@darksouls: That is indeed my zodiac sign, but I have no idea what that has to do with "Ghostbusters."

3 • 
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darksouls

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@zmanbarzel: Lol, that amused me.

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Keitha313

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So just like the movie.

13 • 
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Evil_Sidekick

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Edited By Evil_Sidekick

A stupid game based on a ridiculous movie.

NEXT...

11 • 
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deactivated-58b0b257815cf

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This game could change the industry as we know it.

2 • 

Ghostbusters More Info

Follow
  • First Released Jul 12, 2016
    released
    • PC
    • PlayStation 4
    • Xbox One
    Have you and your friends been experiencing paranormal activity? Grab your Proton Pack and join the Ghostbusters as you explore Manhattan, blasting ghosts, and trapping those runaway ghouls.
    3.8
    Average Rating15 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Ghostbusters
    Developed by:
    Activision, FireForge Games
    Published by:
    Activision
    Genre(s):
    2D, Action, Fixed-Screen, Shooter
    Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up. May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
    Everyone 10+
    Comic Mischief, Fantasy Violence