Rob Plays Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed – Mastering the Museum

***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!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I’d been introduced to Winston, Ray, and the Ghostbusters team. I’d designed my avatar, though the beard was admittedly a bit too long. I’d had my tutorial on how to use the equipment. My automated Ghostbuster teammates were behind me. I was back at the Whitestone Museum of Nature and Science. It was time to wrangle and trap a ghost!

Except that’s not exactly what happened. Not at first, anyway.

My First Job
Whose idea was it to let the rookie lead a team on to a job, anyway? Or are all these characters supposed to be rookies? I just happened to pick the name tag that said “Rookie.”

My first official outing as a Ghostbuster in Spirits Unleashed did not go well. But on the upside, it was relatively short. Me, and the awkwardly named automated characters of Lima, Primo, and Corn Dog couldn’t have lasted 10 minutes before the Building Haunt meter filled to 100% and we were done. Actually, mere seconds into the job the ghost slimed me from behind, incapacitating me. The damn ghost fought dirty! At least when Slimer got Venkman, he rushed him head on…

So naturally, I tried again. Sent back to the firehouse, I selected the museum as my mission. Only something I didn’t expect happened. While the mission location obviously hadn’t changed, I had a new group of teammates, and was chasing after a different ghost.

It was at this point that I realized the randomized nature of the game’s solo player mode. You do, in fact, get to lead your own team of Ghostbusters as the advertising suggested. You do not, however, get to actually build that team, customize them to your liking, etc. The game simply assigns you new, randomized, automated teammates with each mission. Not to mention a new, randomized, automated ghost. From a story and character investment standpoint, that was a big downer.

To be victorious as a Ghostbuster, you essentially have to catch the ghost four times. Each ghost comes alongside three spectral rifts that allow it to regenerate after you’ve trapped it. So the fourth time you catch it gets you the win.

I wasn’t much better on my second go at the museum. And yet, something I didn’t expect happened: I won, despite not trapping the ghost the fourth and final time. Seconds later, I was told one of my automated teammates had trapped the ghost. That was another downer. And frankly, one that didn’t make a ton of sense. So I could win the game, despite not being the one who captured the ghost a final time? That kind of puts a damper on the fun of it all, doesn’t it?

Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed is obviously best enjoyed as a multi-player game where one can team up with friends to catch a ghost. Or perhaps face off against one another if someone chooses to play as the ghost. You can play by yourself if you want to, but that’s clearly not the game’s strong suit.

I had controller problems as well. My biggest struggle was switching off between the particle thrower that wrangles the ghost, the PKE meter that seeks and detects it (shown above), and the ghost trap that ultimately contains it. One frustrating thing about the game is you have to stop firing your particle thrower in order to put out your trap. So if you suddenly see the ghost you’re after and you wrangle it with your proton stream, you have to switch off said proton stream in order to deploy your trap, then hope you can quickly catch the ghost again.

Mind you, as you’re hunting for the ghost you’ve still got to be mindful of the civilians in the building with you, calming them down, etc. Each civilian has what I’ll call a little “scare meter” above them. If that scare meter fills completely, they flee the building, which I believe counts against your Building Haunt meter. You don’t want to be in the way of a fleeing civilian either, as they can knock you down.

Each ghost can also deploy little minions that you’ve got to destroy with your proton stream. It’s not a huge inconvenience. Though you certainly don’t want them all to swarm you at once.

Oddly enough, one of the random ghosts I ended up facing in the museum was none other than Slimer. There was nothing different or special about him, though. And last I checked, he couldn’t deploy minions…

I was stubborn about mastering the controls, and didn’t want to venture too far into the game until I had at least a decent handle on them. I must have gone back and done the museum level 10 times. Sometimes I caught the ghost, sometimes I didn’t.

One advantage that approach did afford me was additional XP (experience points), which I was able to use to unlock new Ghostbuster tech (shown above). It wasn’t anything that altered my gaming experience too much. I was able to vent the pack a little bit quicker. But other than that, nothing to write home about yet.

As I was playing at the museum repeatedly, I was ignoring a prompt from the game to go see Ray at his bookstore across from the firehouse. When I finally acquiesced, Ray was at the counter with a large book that had a very familiar title: Tobin’s Spirit Guide.

Little did I know that Ray was literally opening a gateway into the spirit world. As the game had advertised, I was about to play as a ghost.


Email Rob at, or check us out on Twitter.

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!


Email Rob at, or check us out on Twitter.