Rob Plays Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed – Becoming a Ghostbuster

***I consider myself a casual gamer, as opposed to a die-hard. So when I pick up a new game, it’s because I’ve got a genuine interest in it, despite my novice gaming skills. Join me now as I navigate the latest Ghostbusters video game for the PS4, Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed!***

Ghostbusters Spirits Unleashed PS4 coverBy Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

For yours truly, the gold standard in Ghostbusters video gaming was set in 2009 with Ghostbusters: The Video Game. And not just because most of the original cast was involved. The mechanics of the game were solid, and fun to work at and master. To this day, I enjoy going back and playing through it. So, fair or not, that’s the largely the standard by which I was judging Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed.

Granted, for my money Spirits Unleashed had a lot going for it coming in. The first-person shooter approach gave the initial impression that it would offer a similar experience to the 2009 game. We had Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson offering their vocal talents. It seemed to pick up where Ghostbusters: Afterlife left off, which offered a certain satisfaction. Graphically, the game looked at least on par with it’s predecessor. The ability to customize and play as your own Ghostbuster, a feature which the 2009 game did not have, was another plus. We were also told we’d be able to play as a ghost, which was certainly something new.

I’ll reiterate that I’m not a die-hard gamer. But I am a die-hard ghosthead. So my hopes were high coming into Spirits Unleashed

Training Day
The game kicks off with the player in Ray Stantz’s bookstore, which has apparently moved right next to the Ghostbusters firehouse. Ray gives a rah-rah speech about becoming a Ghostbuster, and you’re then sent inside the firehouse to create your avatar.

I generally don’t put a whole lot of thought or effort into create-a-character modes. I’m happy if the character just generally looks like me, which in the end is what I did for myself (shown below). But for those who want to get into nitty gritty details, those options are there. Players can change up eye shapes, facial hair thickness, body type. And yes, gender and skin color as well. As much as I love Ghostbusters: The Video Game, the Rookie character, another white male, did players no favors from a diversity standpoint.

Rob Siebert, Ghostbusters Spirits Unleashed

One minor disappointment: You can’t customize your uniform’s name tag with your name. Instead you get a bunch of nickname tags. Kinda sucks, as I was looking forward to seeing “Siebert” on a Ghostbuster uniform.

From the get-go, it’s clear why Ernie Hudson is billed above Dan Aykroyd in the opening credits to this game. Winston Zeddemore is all over the opening moments of Spirits Unleashed. But that’s not altogether uncalled for, as he’s now the big executive in charge at the Ghostbusters organization. (His exact title, if he even has one, is unknown.) And, just like in real life, he looks like he’s barely aged a day.

We meet a character named Catt (at left above), who acts as the Ghostbusters’ operations manager. She meets the player in the adjoining alley and we set up for target practice, strapping on a proton pack for the first time. I was relieved to see that a lot of the basic mechanics from Ghostbusters: The Video Game were left intact. You use the R2 button to throw your stream, you vent the pack as needed, you throw the trap and drag the ghost into it, etc. They didn’t fix something that wasn’t broken. I appreciate that very, very much.

Tutorial: Whitestone Museum of Nature and Science
After the team’s tech guy, Eddy, guides you on how to use the PKE Meter, you’re sent into your first job: A haunting at the Whitestone Museum of Nature and Science. It’s not a real job, mind you. It’s a demo on how to catch a ghost in the field. But it gives you a sense of how the game actually works now that you’ve got a handle on your basic equipment.

In the grand tradition of simplistic ghost names like Slimer and Muncher, your first bust’s name is Blobby (shown above). Blobby is essentially a counterfeit Slimer. He douses you with slime and attacks you. But other than that he’s designed to be a pretty simple capture. At least in theory…

One thing you’ll notice is a percentage bar at the top of your screen labeled “Building Haunt.” I’m assuming if that bar fills up completely you lose the game. It makes sense, and adds a sense of urgency to things.

There were a coupe of equipment growing pains. I found the proton pack needs to be vented much more regularly than in Ghostbusters: The Video Game, which obviously puts a limit on how long you can fire your proton stream. The ghost trap also has battery life, which means you can’t simply leave it open as you try and wrangle the ghost.

On the plus side, you get to interact with the civilians in the building, calming them down if/when they see the ghost. There’s not much to it, as you just hold down a button. But it’s a nice “practical” detail they put in there.

I admit, Blobby was tough for me. Balancing venting the pack, watching the trap battery, and wrangling the ghost is a challenge. I had to corner him a few times, deploy the trap, then work to wrestle him inside. I got slimed more than once, too. Apparently slime is more than a simple nuisance in Spirits Unleashed, as too much of it incapacitates your character. I can appreciate that.

But ultimately, I did catch the little pink menace. After the tutorial you’re taken back to the firehouse to empty your ghost trap, explore, talk to the other characters, etc. I opted to jump back into the action pretty quick, though. You’re given several mission/job options, which you can either select or have the game pick one for you at random. I opted to randomize things, and I ended up…back at the museum. Oops.

But as it turned out, I wasn’t going back alone. The game put me with three other automated Ghostbusters (shown above), one of whom looked severely underdressed for the job (far right). Like my character, they didn’t have real names. I’d later find out they were named Lima, Primo,and Corn Dog. How one gets the name Corn Dog I don’t even want to know.

But names notwithstanding, it was time to heat ’em up!

TO BE CONTINUED…

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed Coming Q4 2022

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I was beyond exited to stumble upon the trailer for Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed this morning. I’ve been waiting for a new GB game on this scale since 2009’s Ghostbusters: The Video Game. That certainly seems to be what Illfonic is serving up for us here. As an added bonus, we’ve got Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson reprising their roles as Ray and Winston.

Things look promising! Sign me up!

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Ghostbusters 3: Here We Go Again…

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Dan Aykroyd made a few headlines last week when he made the following comments to Dan Rather about a proper Ghostbusters 3 with the original cast, and how a sequel to the 2016 Ghostbusters remake isn’t happening.

A few thoughts…

Did we really need confirmation that the 2016 movie wasn’t getting a sequel? My review of Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters movie is one of the few reviews I’ve done that I wish I could take back. I essentially said, “It’s not the movie I wanted. But that’s okay.” I think a lot of critics were afraid to be honest about that movie for fear of being labeled anti-woman, anti-feminist, or whatever. The movie was bad, but that had nothing to do with the performers being women. It just wasn’t funny. It absolutely screamed “sleazy, desperate cash grab.” Could it have been great? Absolutely. But it wasn’t.

It’s actually pretty funny that the Ghostbusters 3 rumor mill has started up again, even after a third Ghostbusters movie has come and gone.

As someone who loves both the original movies, I think it’s cool that they still want to try a proper sequel of sorts. It feels a little dirty to be doing it without Harold Ramis. But there are stories they can tell, and ways they can make something funny, sentimental, and ultimately worthy of what’s come before.

That being said, the fact that it’s being written doesn’t mean much. Ghostbusters 3 has been synonymous with “development hell” for nearly 30 years now. I see no reason why now should be any different.

But If we are going to make this movie, let’s not get hung up on Bill Murray this time, okay?

I love the guy as much as anyone, and he’s as responsible as anyone for the original Ghostbusters being what it is. But if they have a chance to make another good Ghostbusters movie without him, then that’s what they should do. Get one or two strong new leads, and throw them in there with Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, and whoever else fits naturally into the story. Let’s see if bustin’ can make us feel good again…

Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter, or email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com.