Ghostbusters: The Video Game Multiplayer Review

By SarcasmancerSarcasmancer


As I have written on my blog, Ghostbusters: The Video Game is a success as both video game and an installment in the Ghostbusters cannon, even if you have no intention of touching the games multiplayer component. After two weeks of playing online, I can tell you with confidence that the multiplayer is good too. It’s not must-play, but it is both very unique and very polished which is incredibly rare for licensed games which are usually formulaic and slipshod.

The unique aspect of Ghostbusters’ multiplay, is that it is fully co-operative. You are always fighting NPC ghosts with other players controlling Ghostbusters. Before you throw your hands up in disgust, know that there are a number of different game types within this formula, such as Protection (essentially a mix of keep away and king of the hill), Thief (where you prevent ghosts from snatching four idols), Destruction (where you have to destroy idols that serve as ghost spawn points), and Slime Dunk which is like playing basketball with Slimer as if he were a basketball, and a ghost trap as if it were a hoop.

Teamwork can be fun!

There is a competitive aspect to the game in that each ghost you capture awards you points ($), so if you capture a ghost by yourself, you will end up with more cash than if you worked with other players. Of course, it is much easier to catch ghosts when working together. So when your other three teammates have been knocked down, you can either try to take out the ghosts by yourself for the big bucks, or do the right thing and help your fallen comrades.

The polish doesn’t come from the generous trimmings (a well developed ranking system with special uniforms, a roster of most wanted ghosts) but the balance. When I played this game I kept seeing ways the play could have felt broken or gone wrong, and was delighted to find it worked. Since the game is not strictly a shooter, or even a RE4 style shooter, but a shooter/wrangler, its game play feels a little bit ‘different’ to begin with. If the boys at Threewave Software didn’t do a hell of a lot of balance testing, the multiplayer would have imploded under the weight of its own awkwardness. Defense kinda sucks sometimes since your default proton-stream has weak stopping power against full powered ghosts who come barreling into your PKE disrupter, but everything else feels strong.

Despite the fun single player campaign, and the surprisingly robust multiplayer, Ghostusters is missing something. Most people won’t notice it, because it is a feature which has been silently dragged down a dark alley and brutally shanked to death. I speak of course, of split-screen multiplayer. Sony and Microsoft have realized that they can make a hell of a lot more money if everybody needs to buy a separate console and a copy of the game (and in Microsoft’s case, pay a subscription fee), rather than just bringing an extra controller to a friends house. It’s not only loathsome but sad, as well. Our monitors have never been bigger and better equipped to show four screens at once, and now the feature has been brushed into obsolesce.


The corporations will likely claim there is no demand for it, which is a lie (I want it. I know others who want it), or that online multiplayer can offer all the same experiences as local, but this is a falsehood as well. Local multiplayer is the backbone of party video games, and if ever there were a title that screams “mad party potential” it is Ghostbusters. It is clear that fitting in split-screen multiplayer is no big deal, because the Wii Version allows you to play the entire campaign in split-screen co-op. Throwing that in on the Xbox 360 and PS3 would have been nice, but including true local multiplayer, that is “the busting of ghosts outside the context of the games main storyline”, would have given this title some serious legs, which is sadly what it needs most of all.

In conclusion, I give Ghostbusters: The Video Game a score of Slimer out of Gozer divided by Grundel, which translates to "You should at least rent this game."

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