Review: Ghostbusters

Jordan Deam | 16 Jun 2009 13:00
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Though simply training your targeting reticle on an enemy gets old pretty quickly, the same can't be said of trapping ghosts, which perfectly captures the tension and release of its movie analog. After you've weakened a specter, you can latch onto it with your proton beam. From there, you can whip it around the room to further reduce its will to escape. Finally, after you've thoroughly demoralized your target, you need only drag them over to the nearest containment trap, then hold them above it for a few seconds while they try to wrangle free. It can be frustrating to undertake this process when you're still under fire from other ghosts, but it's always a thrill to watch your target disappear with a satisfying "whoosh."

Unfortunately,Ghostbusters' fidelity to the movies actually hurts it in one key regard: There simply aren't enough ghosts. That's fine if you take the game as a cinematic experience and soak in the dialogue and characters, but as one of the uninitiated, the pacing of Ghostbusters felt incredibly slow and inconsistent. After clearing a room of ghosts, you may have to wait a full 10 minutes before your next contact. That's not much in film terms, but with your finger constantly resting on the trigger of your proton beam, it begins to feel nigh interminable.

There are other niggling issues that mar what is otherwise a surprisingly solid effort. Your movements often feel stiff and unresponsive; it's especially noticeable when you try to run and must hold down the B button for what feels like a whole second before the game reacts. And while you may not find yourself dying much at the standard difficulty level, the game's HUD-less damage meter is a little too vague to be useful in the heat of battle. But overall, these flaws didn't even come close to my dismal expectations for the title. If this is a cash-in, then it might be time for a few more forgotten franchises to grab their slice of the videogame pie.

Bottom Line: Ghostbusters is the rare example of a movie-based game that stays true to its source without sacrificing much in gameplay.

Recommendation: If you own a copy of either of the Ghostbusters films, you probably won't regret buying the game. If you're not a fan of the series, though, stick with a rental.

Jordan Deam ain't afraid of no ghost - unless he's playing StarCraft.

This review is based on the Xbox 360 version of the game.

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