Well there is something something strange in the neighbourhood; the remastered version of the Ghostbusters game, originally released for the Xbox 360. Honestly, I did not see this game coming, though having played the original back in the day, it is nice to be able to revisit on Xbox One. Developed by Saber Interactive and published by Mad Dog Games, has much been changed in the intervening years in this spiritual successor to the movies?
For those who didn’t play the original, the game takes place somewhen after the second movie and has pretty much all of the original cast reprising their roles, both in looks and voice, including the late Harold Ramis as Egon. You play the part of a new recruit they refer to as ‘rookie’ and you must assist the Ghostbusters who need to deal with the new threat that is about to hit New York and eventually take you to a ghost world to face some previous villains from the movies.
Usually, with games remembered as fondly as this one, it is digitally made available as a backwards compatible title, though that program has recently been stopped, for now. But the remastered version has done some work to upgrade the graphical quality of the New York locations you visit as well improve the quality of the cut scenes. But I have to say you can still very much tell it is not a native Xbox One game as the character models still look like they could be a vastly improved. The audio of this game is as good as I remember with the background music you immediately associate with Ghostbusters like the sounds of the proton packs, the PKE detector and other equipment. It still makes me feel nostalgic and with the original voices, it ticks a lot of boxes. Hearing the stern unflappable delivery of Harold Ramis, the naïve intelligent Dan Ackroyd, the deflated acceptance of Ernie Hudson and of course the funny sarcastic quips of Bill Murray who surprised many by contributing to the game. There are a few other familiar voices like Janine the phone operator and the mayor of New York, but the original cast was always going to be the most important.
The game plays as a 3rd person shooter with RPG elements. You move in the environments searching for ghosts using the trusty PKE meter to scan ectoplasmic anomalies when you notice them including some hidden ones. Then when it comes to battle with the ghostly enemies you bring out the proton pack to wear the foes down. Once they are weakened, your beam becomes a gripping beam which you use to pull them to the trap which you or your ally can throw. As expected, the ghosts will resist being captured and if you aim your beam to the opposite way the enemy is trying to escape then it will fill up a slam meter. Once sufficiently full you can slam the ghosts against the wall or floor with your gripping proton beam, stunning them, which makes it easier to direct them into the trap. Then once caught you can go over and recover the trap which will earn you some credit. This is where the RPG element comes in as not only do you feel like you’re playing as yourself helping the Ghostbusters , but you earn money to upgrade your equipment. The variety of upgrades from weakening the enemy quicker or making the trapping beam wider all help to keep the game interesting and the upgrades will be required to handle the tougher enemies later in the game.
There are a few minor gripes with the game though. Some of the areas you traverse are quite congested which is to be expected – in a hotel, for example. But moving around these objects in the 3rd person view becomes a bit annoying. The proton pack in all its glory looks great but is a little unwieldy, though considering it was essentially homemade this does add a bit of authenticity. But it seems to add some challenge to the game they added in a reload system. This is so you are just not consistently firing your proton beam so occasionally you need to release proton pack before it overheats. You have a rising heat gauge which you can see on your back which in mid-battle is hard to keep a track off and I kept overheating a lot. Also, the AI allies which come in the form of the other Ghostbusters consistently make you wonder who the rookie is in the situation. They are generally unhelpful in battle situations which a shame as busting ghosts with the fellow Ghostbusters should be a joy.
This may seem like an easy cash grab scheme to re-release the same game and play on the nostalgia people have for the Ghostbusters. But they have done a lot of work to upscale the graphics to make it feel like the game belongs on the Xbox One. It is still a good fun game and it does feel like a continuation from the movies and great that you feel involved in the story. If you can ignore the few minor annoyances, then this game still holds up as a decent game for anyone and not just long-time fans.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.