I must first admit that I am a huge Ghostbusters fan. It’s possible that because I have seen the original movie almost 100 times, wanted to be a ghostbuster growing up, and at one point had every line in the film memorized, it might influence my ability to be objective. While that is true, it also means that my expectations for the remake were quite high, and Ghostbusters The Video Game Remastered didn’t always live up to those lofty goals.
Ghostbusters The Video Game was originally released for the last generation of consoles. I played the game on the PlayStation 3, and GiN Reviewer Todd Hargosh reviewed the Xbox 360 version for GiN, giving it 4.5 GiN Gems out of 5. Back in 2009, it was a dark time for the Ghostbusters franchise, with sequel movies not doing very well and the end to the animated series. Ghostbusters The Video Game kept the franchise alive by giving us a game that featured the voices and in-game likenesses of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson. Like the classic movie, the game was written by those same writers, Dan Aykroyd and the late, great Harold Ramis.
At the time, the graphics for Ghostbusters The Video Game were pretty amazing, really pushing what the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 could do. In fact, this was one of those elite few games where the special effects came together with an amazing story. You play a newly recruited Ghostbuster, which means that you get all the crappy assignments as well as the dangerous ones. But hey, you are a Ghostbuster, so who cares about that?
There have been several Ghostbusters-themed games over the years, plus a board game and a pen and paper role-playing game. But at least in terms of videogames, none of them have really ever risen to the level of Ghostbusters The Video Game. In a way, this kind of mirrors the horrible movie sequels and remakes that we have endured over the years. So getting back to the original game, but making it better, seemed like a pretty good idea. And most people were overjoyed at the prospect of having Saber Interactive, which recently proved its mettle with the excellent World War Z game, jump in and remaster this classic.
For the most part, the story is unchanged from before. The only change I noticed was a dedication to the late Harold Ramis in the opening credits, which I fully support and which he completely deserves. You are still the bumbling Ghostbuster recruit, and still get saddled with the worst jobs and the ribbing of the other characters as you learn the ropes. All the voice acting is still in place, and the story remains extremely tight and well-presented with both classic scenes from the movie faithfully recreated and new areas that are also well-designed and interesting.
Gameplay is also unchanged, though it seems to run notably smoother on the newer hardware. You will still be busting ghosts by shooting them with your proton pack, slamming them to the ground to weaken them, and eventually getting them into the ghost trap for transport back to your firehouse headquarters. Everything just looks better with consistent 60 frames per second, 4K support and re-rendered cutscenes and videos. The developers also worked on better shadows display, which further increases the realism.
Like the original, almost everything is destructible in Ghostbusters The Video Game Remastered. And you get a running total of how much damage you cause, which is fun to try and tick upward as you play. There are some pretty advanced physics too, especially for things like glass which first shatters wildly when shot and then slowly breaks apart over time until whatever frame was holding it sits empty.
The game also puts a lot of detail into the environment, especially in well-known places. Near the beginning of the game, you have the opportunity to explore the firehouse, see the guy’s living quarters, use the firepole and have fun looking at quite a few little Easter eggs and secrets. Later on you even get to check the messages on the answering machine. This was, for me, my favorite part of the game (as it was in the original) because it really made me feel like a Ghostbuster just fooling around at the station and doing stupid stuff to pass the time in my off-hours.
The one area where Ghostbusters The Video Game Remastered does not live up to expectations is, unfortunately, the graphics. Despite the smoother gameplay, the graphics themselves still look slightly last generation. I have seen remakes like with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare where the game pretty much looks like a modern title after its facelift. That is not so much the case with Ghostbusters. Textures are still blocky around the edges, and the Ghostbusters themselves look a bit like cartoon renderings of themselves outside of the cut scenes. And if you snoop around trying to find all the little hidden elements in each scene, the last-generation graphics are even more noticeable. It’s not terrible, but not up to par when evaluated in terms of other recent remakes.
Ghostbusters The Video Game Remastered, like the original, has one of the best stories that you can experience in videogames. If you missed the original when it was out ten years ago, do yourself a favor and grab the remake. Of course those of you who love Ghostbusters will want to get the remake as well. Being able to play this masterpiece again on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One or Nintendo Switch is more than worth the discounted price of admission that Amazon and others are offering for Ghostbusters The Video Game Remastered.
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Ghostbusters The Video Game was a great game when it originally came out, and the same can be said for the remaster. Grab this one and play if you want to remember why we play video games. Ghostbusters The Video Game Remastered earns 4.5 GiN Gems out of 5, because remastered busting will still make you feel good.