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Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered and Reviewed

posted on Wednesday, 13/11/2019, 3:34 AM

All video games are valid and all gamers are authentic. Whether you like to play casual games like the ones we publish in our new games section or you are a devout console gamer: we're all on the same team. We all play games and we all have strong opinions on them. This is why we're introducing a semi-regular series of game reviews. These reviews won't just be about iogames, mobile games or the kind of desktop games we publish: they will be about all games. We look forward to talking about everything from the new hotness to obscure diamonds in the rough. So, it seems fitting that we kick things off with a review of a remastered game from ten years ago which itself was based on a property from the '80s, there is something about that kind of nested nostalgia that just screams


                     (Photo: Terminal Reality)


In 2009 'Ghostbusters' fans finally got not only a great game but an unofficial sequel. Terminal Reality delivered by bringing back all four original Ghostbusters, and a few surprise guests. The dialog felt genuine thanks to the writing talents of Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. The sounds, specters, and music were spot on. Gamers could now wrangle ghosts, trap them, and cause millions of dollars in property damage. 'Ghostbusters: The Video Game' was an imperfect affair but delivered on the core mechanics fans wanted. Sadly, a followup to this outing never manifested, but an upscaled remaster did.

While 'Ghostbusters: The Video Game' as a whole is a worthwhile single-player romp made specifically for fans of the franchise, do a few visual and technical upgrades make another purchase necessary?

On a technical side, the 'Remastered' version of the game runs better than the '09 release ... mostly. Textures are a little clearer; the player can now almost make out what's on Janine's computer screen, and the infamous ending screen from the original NES 'Ghostbusters' game can be clearly read in its entirety on Egon's computer, spelling errors and all. This doesn't mean everything is high resolution, though.

'Ghostbusters: The Video Game' is still a decade-old title. Nothing was rebuilt with a new engine. No new assets were added. Pictures and newspapers plastered on the walls of the firehouse are quite ugly closeup. Textures are washed out in some areas. Geometry can be a bit sketchy sometimes. Character models still sport plastic-like skin, though the various imperfections, pockmarks, and scars are better defined. The proton pack gets a tiny boost in detail, but the physics of the hose that connects the neutrino wand to the pack behaves differently between the two versions. Occasionally some of the scripted elements that move the game forward do not trigger, but this bug was also present in the 360 version. Check out our side-by-side comparison video below for these little oddities.

There are improvements that aren't just cosmetic, however. The framerate is a huge improvement. The 360 release had a lot of janky moments. Too many enemies on the screen at one time when all four or five Ghostbusters discharging their proton streams would strain the last-gen consoles. In 2019, thankfully, this problem does not exist.

There is an improvement that turned out to unwelcomed: the surround sound. Having played the 360 version back-to-back with the 'Remastered', it was quite noticeable. In the original, all the voices from the Ghostbusters are always loaded into the front speakers. The 'Remastered' release has the voices appear in true surround. The issue here is much of the banter gets muted if the Rookie has his back to the gang. Even if Ray or Peter were just behind the Rookie's shoulder, there was a massive decibel drop in their dialog.

The overall appearance is far prettier. Fewer jaggy edges. Less chug. This all does come at a price: missing content. The multiplayer has been completely removed. Busting ghosts with friends in the decidedly limited online modes were fun, but not defined enough to be sorely missed. The DLC outfits are also gone. Players will be stuck with the basic beige jumpsuit with no option to don the dark gray 'Ghostbusters II' duds. The Ecto-1 mini-documentary where the original film vehicle is restored and Dan Aykroyd gushes at the outcome is still there. However, all the extra videos are locked until the game is complete. This is an odd thing to do considering a couple of them are just advertisements for the first film and a blu-ray that came out some time ago.

'Ghostbusters: The Video Game' is made for fans of the franchise, period. It continues the story and lore that was set in motion in 1984 and ups the scale of not only the locations but of the ghosts. Wandered what a 'sloar' was that the Vinz Clortho mentioned in the first film? You get to battle one face-to-face. Want to take on Gozer's Stay Puft destructor form again? Oh, that happens over the course of an entire chapter! Always wanted to know if Ivo Shandor had other conduits like the one found on the top of Dana Barrett's building? Oh, yes!

The game, even back in '09, hit most of the things fans wanted out of a 'Ghostbusters' game. The player may not get to drive around New York in an open world situation. The title presents a linear, story-driving outing with the original cast that filled the void when a second sequel should have been, that is until Jason Reitman's 2020 film.

The release price of $29.99 is a little high since features were stripped and the original is backward compatible with the Xbox One. For those who passed up the original a decade ago, the remaster would be the best version to experience. Perhaps that's exactly who this is for, those who didn't get the original experience, but want a cleaner presentation.