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Ghostbusters: The Video Game review

Gives fans what they want, but not enough for the rest

Pros

  • Made with great affection for the franchise
  • Trapping ghosts with waggle mostly works
  • Nearly every actor resumed their roles perfectly

Cons

  • Aiming takes getting used to
  • Enjoyment largely depends on nostalgia
  • Knowing what you're missing in the other versions

The dreams of thousands, nay, millions of twentysomethings came true recently. Despite delays, a publisher changeand a few holdout actors, the Ghostbusters are back, two decades after their last film. And while the PS3 and 360 get the more lifelike and filmic interpretations of the foursome, Wii owners get a version that, while trimmed, at least tried a little harder than most Wii games to be something special.

The game picks up in 1991 (two years after Ghostbusters 2), the gang has just hired a trainee to work with them in their newly state-sponsored paranormal investigations. You play as the unremarkable and silent new hire as he follows the guys around on missions, and as many ghouls old and new start popping up in New York City and heralding the return of the team’s old nemesis Gozer, it's a baptism by fire for the new kid. And while his constant silence is distracting at times, it leaves the jokes and the explanations to the actual stars.

You're outfitted with the standard Proton Pack and Trap that appeared in the films, streams and all, but you also get all these newer, experimental weapons made just for the game. The Wii-specific controls for using that stuff have their ups and downs; pointing at the screen to direct the blast takes getting used to, as does the touchy camera that goes with the aiming. It also makes the ghost-detecting tougher, as your character’s body can obscure the reading from your PKE meter (as opposed to the 360/PS3 version, which zooms in for a first-person view), and in battle it’s easy to focus on the pointer to the extent that you ignore your health and other stats. However, most of the potential aiming problems are curbed by an overcompensating auto-aim feature, and slamming ghosts into the ground to weaken them with a flick of the Remote works well.

The whole look of the world is evocative of The Real Ghostbusters cartoon from 23 years ago (jeez, we're old). It's a good fit for the system, in that it’s not too visually taxing and works better for the kids that are more likely to pick this up. All the guys look relatively close to their real-life counterparts, except for Ray, whose head looks like a beige marshmallow. We wouldn't call the dialogue hilarious, but it has more than a few giggles. And, probably thanks to the deeper-than-normal involvement of the franchise’s creators, the characters and situations just feel right.

Now, if the Wii isn't your only console choice, you should know some of the key differences between the different versions. Aside from the obvious change in looks, some of the more complicated monsters are lessened in the translation. Each version has some exclusive levels and scenes, though the 360/PS3 ones keep more of thePG-13 feel the movies had. And it's not just the look that changes between versions; the PS3/360 versions also show off an amazing volume and density of destructible items in each level that the Wii just can't match. So unless the need for the Wii version’s co-op campaign is a deal breaker, you'll probably want the fancier versions.

Ultimately, this game is a true celebration of all things Ghostbusters, and all the fans shouldn't wait to get this if the Wii is all they have. For those with little love for the series, it's still a good action game, although the finicky controls and the at-times too-kiddy design might be too much, especially without the warm feeling of nostalgia to cover the game’s flaws. Even if you fall into that camp, it might still be worth a rental - and while you’re at the store, why not rent the first movie and give it another shot? Because something is wrong with you if you don't like Ghostbusters.

Jun 17, 2009

More Info

GenreAction
Description

Simultaneously a new Ghostbusters movie and an enjoyable videogame. Rough around the edges, but the superb scripting and unique humor make this a breath of fresh air.

PlatformPS3, Wii, PS2, Xbox 360, PC, DS, PSP
US censor ratingTeen
UK censor rating12+
Release date16 June 2009 (US), 19 June 2009 (UK)