VIDEO GAMING

Game review: Ghostbusters is a spiritless and rather mercenary affair

Ghostbusters is a lazy, boring game – just an excuse for greedy executives to cash in on a much-loved franchise

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 July, 2016, 8:01pm
UPDATED : Monday, 25 July, 2016, 8:01pm

Ghostbusters

Activision

2/5 stars

A couple of weeks ago, reviewing Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I lamented the fact that movie studios rarely take chances on turning films into real games any more, opting instead for safe, all-ages options like the ubiquitous brick-based series. But maybe I spoke too soon, as some companies are still taking the plunge, even if they’re exactly the kind of adaptations we dread.

Available for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, Ghostbusters is the accompanying video game of the critically reviled remake, and it’s the type of adaptation we hate to see: lazy, boring and generally an excuse for greedy executives to cash in on a much-loved franchise. The multiplayer twin-stick shooter is set days after the end of the new movie, but players don’t take on the all-female celeb cast (too mean to get voice talent?), instead playing as a team of rookies – two men, two women, for all you equal rights folks out there.

It’s all pretty standard stuff and players attempt to catch a bunch of ghouls through various New York city locations. The trouble is, none of it is fun. The environments are too big to begin with, massive random maps filled with empty space; the controls are frustratingly unresponsive, almost impossible to navigate and too glued-in to really gain any momentum; the characters are all very weak and it’s almost impossible to improve their stats despite the upgrade system; and the enemies are hard to find in the ridiculously oversized maps, and when you do, they’re a repetitive series of random spirits followed by same-same bosses.

I could go on, but that’d be an exercise in futility, so instead I’ll leave with this. Back in 2009, Atari somehow wrangled the original Ghostbusters cast to write and voice a video game – it came at the tail-end of the PlayStation 2 system and was thus underplayed. While the game itself wasn’t incredible, it was as close to a third entry in the franchise as we were ever going to get.

So as this movie remake massively disappoints and its accompanying game stands up as an example of how not to adapt a film, I’m dusting off my old console and slipping it in for one last ghostbusting go-around.