Thursday, August 6, 2009
VIDEO GAME REVIEW: Ghostbusters
I've known about this game for quite a while, back when it was being rumored. I was excited to play it when I heard that the story and screenplay for the game was written by Comedy DemiGods Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd. The next sign of good news came when most of the original cast came back with Ray and Egon to voice their respective characters (including Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, and the uptight guy who plays Walter Peck). Even Bryan Doyle Murray shows up to help, though voicing the new Mayor of NYC. I then got my hands on the demo, and sure enough, everything about it was enjoyable, so I decided to go out and rent it. All the stars seemed to align for it, and the game delivered in a big way.
The script is funny, with laughs coming from all the characters. The story is original, set in 1991, and takes the Ghostbusters to new lengths to stop the ghosts from having their way. The PS3 graphics were near flawless. Characters were a complete match to their acting counterparts (Ernie Hudson looks so accurate it's scary). The environments were very detailed and always impressive. Even boring library interiors looked amazing, so when you're taken to parallel ghost dimensions, the backgrounds had me stopped and looking around at everything, even mid battle against Class 5 Roaming Animators! But when it comes to curious exploration, it doesn't get better than the former firehouse-turned-Ghostbuster HQ. Lots of fun stuff to check out and interact with. Playing with the proton pack never got boring either, and throughout the game new effects keep getting added to it to ensure the fun never died. Old friends show up throughout the game, like the Librarian from the film's first scene, and Stay Puft Marshallow Man. The easter eggs are great when you can find them, bonus points for the Vigo painting (which is back at Ghostbuster HQ for analyzing) taunting you whenever you go passed it. And keep your eyes peeled for a choice Indy reference.
A few faults are pervasive throughout the game. For one, while the voice acting is great, some of the interplay between the characters seems stilted. Having all four Ghostbusters doing their lines together in the same room, riffing off eachother, would've been a great improvement (no matter how impossible to schedule). Secondly, while the angle of playing as the new recruit works well, it would've been far better to have the recruit say something every now and then. He says absolutely nothing. This isn't GTA 3. You can't get away with that crap anymore. There's a little too much reliance on the existing films also. You battle Stay Puft. Again. You fight in the hotel from the first movie and wreck up their ballroom right before a party with the annoying Hotel guy yelling at you about the bill the whole time. Again. You go down to the Library stacks and chase the Gray Lady, again. Lastly, it would've been incredibly ideal to have Sigourney Weaver back for a few lines, and it would've turned a good game into a legendary game had Rick Moranis reprised his role as Louis, the sweaty, nervous Accountant/Tax Attorney. As I've said before on this website, he's notoriously hard to get when it comes to acting gigs these days. The man is enjoying semi-retirement and so the game will suffer a tad for it (only a tad though). These faults are minor , and only worth mentioning because it's a review.
The pros far outweigh the cons. The game is certainly challenging, not at all a walkthrough. The fights are lots of fun, and there's a lot of satisfaction with each ghost you capture in the trap. It's the closest to being a Ghostbuster you and me will ever see, so soak it in and enjoy.
FINAL VERDICT: B