Players: 1 to 2 Player Game | Genre: Action
Release Date: 06/16/09
There has been a lack of good Ghostbusters video games. Sure, there have been some attempts in past generations but nothing has been able to compare to the movies. Don't worry though--Developer Terminal Reality has heard the cries of fans and is putting the finishing touches on a brand new Ghostbusters game for the next-generation consoles.
Ghostbusters is the true third installment to the popular movie franchise. Dan Aykroyd has been trying to get a third Ghostbusters film in production for many, many years. Even though we have a sequel happy Hollywood, the project has never been able to get off the ground. Fortunately for gamers, Dan Aykroyd has looked to the videogame industry to fill the need for the third Ghostbusters film by modifying the original story he helped write and adapted it for the game. What this means for fans of the franchise is that if you want to see the third Ghostbusters film, you are going to have to play through it.
In the latest build of the game, we had the chance to take a closer look at how Ghostbusters is shaping up. Players take control of the newest member of the Ghostbusters squad and the demo begins in front of a library as adoring fans scream and cheer for the Ghostbusters to save the day. Quickly after this, two very angry ghosts run into the nearby library and the crew runs after them. The player is given the task of tracking down one of the ghosts alone. This leads you into the discovery of the PKE meter. Unfortunately this can be a bit awkward as it places you in a First Person Mode, while the rest of the game remains in a Third Person Mode. If you need to blast a ghost, you have to put your PKE meter away and then aim/fire. It would have been much easier if Developer Terminal Reality could have given the player a way to quick zap a ghost without fiddling with clunky controls.
After a quick run down a few halls, players will end up facing off against the first mini-boss--a large stack of books. This leads into a struggling game of zap and run with absolutely no insight, direction, or assistance to guide the player into defeating the boss. Ultimately if you aim at the head of the beast and zap just right, you can end this encounter within a few minutes. However, if you fail to aim in the right area, this battle could go on for quite some time.
This leads to an interesting observation. I found that the PlayStation 3 version of Ghostbusters not only looks more crisp than the Xbox 360 version but it controlled much, much easier. This could be due to the superior design of the DualShock 3 controller or that more time and effort has been put on the PS3 build. Regardless, Ghostbusters will definitely be a PS3 recommendation if the final product ends up like the current build.
As the demo continues, players are lead chasing after an old librarian ghost that they had captured before and lead into another mini-boss fight with another AI controlled Ghostbuster assisting you. Again, the PS3 controlled much better and the DualShock 3 was put to great use as you were able to actually move the controller to guide your Proton Pack blasts to lead the ghost into a trap. However, if you fail to capture the ghost quick enough, your pack will overheat and will require a few moments of not being able to fire off any blasts. This leaves you vulnerable and can lead to an untimely death. Fortunately, your fellow Ghostbuster can revive you. But don't think that they are impervious to death. If they are killed, you will need to revive them as well.
The demo ends after a long fought battle of capturing a ghost with a hint that Bill Murray may be making an appearance in the next scene. While other details about the game are scarce, we do know that the entire original cast of the Ghostbuster squad will star in the game along with favorite bad guys like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and Slimer.
The Xbox 360 build did not run very well as compared to the PS3 version. I found the Xbox version to stutter and move at under 30 FPS several times while the PS3 build never suffered from any type of slowdown. Visually both versions look good but the PS3 build has sharper details and less muddy graphics. That isn't to say that the 360 version looks bad--but it is not nearly as beautiful as the PS3 version.
Since beginning to pen this article, some developments have occurred with the release of the upcoming Ghostbusters game. For some strange reason, Activision is choosing to not publish Ghostbusters. They acquired the title when they purchased Vivendi Universal Games. It appears that Activision is only interested in Blizzard and a small handful of VU franchises. Why they don't want to release an almost finished game that looks and plays great is anyones guess. They are currently shopping the title around. However, I truly hope that the game ends up with another developer soon. I think the game could ultimately be a AAA title and develop into a franchise that can be used for future titles. Sadly, as it stands now, this title will not see the light of day in 2008.