Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ghostbusters: The Video Game (X360)

Busting makes him feel good.

After a length period away from gaming, this summer it truly got a hold of me again, and I cannot get enough. It started small, with my first ever playthrough of Yoshi’s Island (SNES) around May, which I must say is an incredible platform experience. 2D still seems to have my heart when it comes to platform games, I never fell in love with the 3D version, except for a few notable examples like Super Mario 64.

This xmas, I received Ghostbusters: TVG with joy, having missed the original release. I am a long-time fan of the movies, and one-time fan of the animated ‘Real Ghostbusters’ series. In the chaos after June, I had completely forgotten about it, something for which Gears of War 2 was also partly responsible.

The game is jam-packed with callbacks, in-jokes, characters and all manner of references to the 2 films, to the level at which it becomes easy to forget how shallow that pool of source material is. The plot is created in such a way as to create the various avenues that allow many of the enemy characters to return and clock in, the majority of the time, substantial screen time.

At first, the gameplay was difficult for me to get my head around. I’ve read various places that mentioned the game being based on the GoW2 engine, and it was immediately apparent to me that this was the case. Indeed, there are certain animations that resemble those of GoW a little too much, in particular the door-kicking one. Of course, above all, there is a child inside me screaming with joy every time I start wrangling a ghost, and it is in this area that the game, in spite of a few issues, certainly comes to the fore

Using the Photon Stream is just a pleasure. There are certainly moments where the controls can feel a little sluggish, and at the beginning, it can feel as though it may take a while before you will become sufficiently adept at it, but once you trap your first ghost, there is a definite feeling of achievement that is satisfyingly reinforced by what will be for many their first Xbox achievement too. The sounds of the weapon are spot-on, with that half-sludgy, half-fizzy sound of the stream coming through loud and clear.

On the negative end of the spectrum, sound is maybe a good place to start. The characters are brought to life by their real-life actor conterparts, and although this feels great when you start out, eventually you do start to tire of hearing them, and the urge to turn the voices off starts to tempt. Also, upon dying, there is a loading wait that I felt took a little too long and broke immersion. This break is coupled with a few repeating bars of Ray Parker Jr’s theme, and when you’re stuck at points in the game the upbeat pomp can get frustrating. There was an instance with a level boss that led me to turning off the music until I had beaten him, so affecting was the tune.

There have also been 2 achievement glitches reported. Both are online-based, and at the moment I have not fulfilled the desired requirements to find out if this is still the case. I have seen people with the full 1000 pts for it though, but I am unsure as to whether these have been gotten legitimately or not. Still, for a lot of people, the concept of a game that will never show off completion can be the deciding factor that leaves it sitting on the shelf

But with these gripes aside, I am still enjoying it 3 weeks into play. I have finished the single-player campaign two or three times, and  have only recently begun on the multiplayer. The multiplayer has troubles of its own, but the combined teamwork involved in trapping ectoplasmic foes has yet to lose its appeal. If you can get it for £30, I say go for it.

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