Activision has done it again! By that I mean they created something abominable using a license people like so they could trick them out of their hard-earned cash. This time we have a tie-in to the rather controversial Ghostbusters movie that came out in the summer. James Wilson for example totally absolutely undeniably “hated” it, but regardless of opinions on the movie, I’m sure everyone is guaranteed to hate this game.
Hilariously enough, this isn’t the first time Activision tried making desperate bank from the Ghostbusters license. Look no further than the Angry Video Game Nerd if you want to know about their initial scam.
Like most of Activision’s licensed games, the story takes place after the movie it’s trying to exploit in the pursuit of money. The heroines of the movie got to be successful and stuff but the narrative focuses on a new cast of Ghostbusters. These can best be summed up as half-baked cartoon characters that have no personality beyond the one trait each person is given. It isn’t even as if there’s a story beyond what’s established, either. The whole point of the game is going around trying to uncover ghosts lurking in areas people hire the Ghostbusters to pluck them out of. Oh, and some overarching plot about the president in trouble thanks to ghost assassins. Too bad the characters are about as appealing as cardboard boxes with air horns.
See that up there? That’s what the game looks like. If it was some sort of Xbox Live or Playstation Network title for $5, it would look slightly tolerable. This is Activision we’re talking about, though, so of course this had to be a retail game at the full $50 price tag. There is simply no reason why there should be a “AAA” game entirely played from a top-down view on a console as late as the Playstation freaking 4! Ghostbusters looks like a mediocre Nintendo DS game blown up for the sake of high definition! It doesn’t help that the visuals are always so dark and bleak. Sometimes, colors would randomly be thrown around from certain actions, but it’s otherwise the kind of thing that puts a person to sleep just by looking at it. What is eye-opening, however, is the fact that the game’s framerate would sometimes briefly stutter every now and then.
There’s nothing more annoying than when video game characters can’t ever get themselves to shut up. This holds true with this game. Here’s one thing that surprises me: How the crap did they convince musical legend Grant Kirkhope to compose the score for this game?! That is the one saving grace the game has to offer, but I feel bad that he felt the need to put forth more effort than the rest of the crew evidently pulled together. It’s just a shame the music is bound to be overshadowed by constant sounds of laser blasts and enemy attacks.
Ghostbusters is a 3D top-down shooter. A very linear, boring, dull, painful one at that. Enemies and bosses all feel the same in every level. In fact, the levels themselves all feel the same. There is nothing to distinguish them from one another other than slightly different-looking scenery. The mechanics themselves are somewhat twin-stick-y, as you can move with the left analog stick and aim with the right. If I wanted to play a good twin-stick game, I’ll stick with Laser Disco Defenders, thank you very much. Aside from grenades that stun enemies, there is nothing you can really do to make shooting enemies fun. There’s hardly an incentive to face 85% of the enemies anyway since the only times you have to fight any are when the path is behind a locked door or gate.
I will admit that I did garner a bit of satisfaction when I smacked a ghost against the ground with my stream as I was capturing it. Yet, even that gets old since each and every level (except the first?) feels like slogging through a marathon. They typically, and I mean typically, last from about a half-hour or even longer. The amount of padding in this game is so awful that you’d forgive every other game whose padding you’ve not been fond of.
It’s not like there’s anything challenging about it, either. At least one of the characters has a feature in which the player could view a line along the ground that tells exactly where to go. It effectively takes the term “linear’ to its most literal level. Even when you do somehow screw up in the game…Actually, to come to think of it, there’s even flaws with what happens there! You see, this game obviously wants to cater to the multiplayer aspect. If you’re not like me and don’t want anybody else to suffer this travesty, however, you are stuck with AI teammates.
They at least have better combat skill than the Star Fox crew, but they are also some of the most oblivious AIs I’ve ever witnessed when it comes to the player being downed. As long as another player’s character is beside you and presses the designated button, your health bar is fully healed, kicking away any struggles one may have from monotonous monster mashing. When enemies are still around to be killed, the AI takes that as top priority over your cries for help. They will even be right near you and still not revive you if it’s focused on killing something.
Sigh…Why do I keep doing this to myself? Somehow I keep getting surprised every time there’s a game with Activision’s name on it that turns out to be one of the worst things to be released in the decade. I guess I’m thankful that they aren’t pumping out as many atrocities as they did last year, but they obviously refuse to learn from their actions anytime soon. Three days after this game came out, Fireforge, the dev team that Activision got to make this Ghostbusters game, went bankrupt. But hey: As the years have shown us, Activision will always find a way to screw people over, whether they be development teams they hire or gullible customers that spend their cash on what they expect to be a decent video game. Until something changes, it’s going to be hard for non-Skylanders Activision games to receive anything more than a 1/10 from me.