previews\ May 26, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Ghostbusters The Video Game - PS3 - Preview 2

To paraphrase …

“If there’s something strange, on your PS3 console – who you gonna call? …”

Well, you can call on the Ghostbusters, of course, but seeing as how you are the new guy (no names please, remember what happened to …?) that just joined the intrepid trio, you are the one on call to bust those nasties from the netherworld.

Ghostbusters The Video Game, from Atari and Terminal Reality, is the self-proclaimed third movie in the famed movie franchise – except that it’s not a movie. However, the game’s release will coincide with the 25th anniversary of the original movie and the story was penned by Ghostbuster star and writers Dan Akyroyd and Harold Ramis. Can it get much better? Well, actually – yes.

Not only do Akyroyd and Ramis reprise their roles in the game, but so does Bill Murray and Ernie Hudson. Terminal Reality did a very good job of capturing the actors’ likenesses and while some of the jokes felt a little forced at the start of the game, as you ease into it all, learn the gameplay mechanics and get used to the idea of hanging around them, the jokes start to feel a little more natural and within the context of the game … which means, the game can be a hoot to play.

Atari sent along a preview build of the game, which afforded some welcomed hands-on time, and not only are the mechanics easier to understand, but the game has some truly intriguing nuances that will delight gamers whether they are fans of the films or not. Of course, those who are fans of the films will actually feel like they have tasted gaming nirvana when they load up this title.

It all begins simply enough: You are the new guy hired by the team. A Gozer exhibit at the New York museum becomes slightly more than an exhibit, triggers a massive paranormal psionic wave that basically allows every netherworld nasty through and into the streets of the metropolis. Of course, there are hazards to your job as the ‘new guy.’ Apparently Egon has developed some new gear that is completely untested in the field. Lucky you – you are the guinea pig to see if it works; and you are forewarned that it will either work, or you may be turned into something resembling the after-BBQ life of a charcoal briquette.  

The introductory mission is to recapture Slimer, who has inadvertently escaped its confines and is down in the basement with an ethereal cohort. Keeping an eye on your power meter (you don’t want your stream pack overheating), you target the enemy just as you would in about any third-person action shooter. You use your stream to weaken and then hold your target, but once you switch to hold mode, the fun escalates simply because you can move them around a bit, like a puppet on a string.

After the opening tutorial at the firehouse, you start to get into the meat of the game by going to the Hotel Sedgewick (film fans will remember the five-star accommodations from the first film) for some full-on chase and capture fun. This is where the game really starts to distinguish itself. This whole bit could take on an eerily and somewhat scary tone but for the running Venkman (Bill Murray’s character) dialogue that keeps it lighthearted and entertaining.

The dialogue and sound effects of this title are definitely on track to be top-drawer, with the wit of the movies strongly represented and the voice acting spot on. As for the graphics, a nod goes to Terminal Reality for the accuracy they have achieved in character design as well as the city. This is a trip back to the original movies (the game actually takes place two years after the second film, or 1991 for those who want to be specific), and Terminal Reality has shown great affection for those movies while keeping an eye on the core elements for a solid video-game experience.

Ghostbusters The Video Game is due to hit retailers in mid-June and is most definitely a game to keep watch for.

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