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Dec 27, 09 at 9:29pm ^Having finished career mode, pros & cons of Atari's: Ghostbusters (mostly spoiler-free!)
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Disclaimer: I haven't tried the multiplayer yet, will probably try that later today; also, I will try my best to keep this spoiler free to not ruin anything for anybody, hence why you may see segments that sound odd in quotes.
First of all, if a person is looking for long ongoing gameplay, they won't necessarily find it with Ghostbusters, that aside though, it's still an awesome game; I got this game Christmas/Friday, and had it beaten by Saturday night with only little spots of gameplay here and there. After beating it, and loading my game back to the final boss battle, my career time was at 4 hours, 44 minutes. Considering the final boss battle took about 15-20 minutes, I'd say that's a bit over 5 hours of gameplay. That's also keeping in mind, this is coming from a perfectionist gamer standpoint... one that walked over every inch of every level, into corners that just seemed to be there, etc just to scan for relics/artifacts, as well as to use the slime cannon to douse any walls and floors that "had the need for it", "for the possibility there might be something hidden".
I guess I'll start with the pros; pros would be that the cinematics and graphics are pretty decent (PS3 version); the characters look quite similar to what they do in the movies, and where in most games, the NPC characters might feel a bit robotic, between their motions, facial gestures, and genuine voice overs, you seriously feel like you're playing alongside the movie cast. Also, even though the gameplay is very short, since it was said that this was to be a movie-sequal more than a game, the gameplay by technical definition fits the timeline... so for both those facts, it truely does live up to a *sequel* perspective.
Now for the cons, even though the list might be long, I still say overall this is a very awesome game and well worth the time invested for the experience of it alone!
Spacial/Environment/Physics Quirks - For starters, in most games if someone was to come across fold-up chairs, and bump into them, they'd topple over. On the ground floor of the firehouse/HQ, there's two at Janine's desk, and when you bump into them, you may as well have just walked into her desk, as they don't budge a lick. Which is a shame, would have been fun to bump them up onto her desk and watch her freak out. Secondly, in one level, was in a "lobby-like area", and even though there were multiple ways to get from the front to the back, I was PKE scanning in a narrow area, as to make sure I didn't miss any artifacts; as I came to what looked like a cable right across where I was walking, about waist to chest level, I figured I'd be stopped when I reached it, yet I seemed to just walk straight through it... maybe it's a given that your character just lifts it out of the way, but still. Also, on certain levels, there'd be areas where it'd be an apparent cliff... to test believability, I'd walk to the edge and try to fall off, even jump off, and not possible... even though it seems as though you should fall, one will instead find an invisible wall acting as a railing. Oh, not sure if this successfully goes in this category, but on one level, it's said the base of the staircase has been destroyed. Yet you happen to walk right past the staircase, and upon going up four stories and finding an artifact, there's a chain across the staircase keeping you from going up any higher, and when you look up past the chain, you still see all the stairs in perfect condition... sort of dodged the believability factor in that case.
Career Flaws/Linearity - First of all; Atari is infamous for making level-based games semi-linear or completely linear games, even though they're getting better at it not feeling so noticeably like a level, one will still come to realize this, in this game. The game does have a bit of a linear feel to it; and ironically, it would seem Atari tried saving users from having to go into game menus to save their game, in hopes of keeping them delved into the story more; ironically however, without the ability to manually save, and the fact it only saves after a major cutscene sequence, one will find this a double-edged sword, and here is why. When/If you purchase any equipment upgrades, they don't become saved until the next major sequence/cutscene; which is to say, if you hope to finish a level, get back to the firehouse, and upgrade just before you quit, you have to remember to upgrade again when you resume your career. Logically, one would think, that should they sense the end of a level coming, that'd be the best time to buy upgrades, however again, should it be a boss battle, and you croak, when you respawn, you have to remember to purchase the upgrades all over again, else end up fighting without them. After beating the game, when I saw "resume career", and saw the last level listed there, I had hoped it may allow me to resume right where the game ended and keep playing (sort of like Myst, for any that recall the game), to no avail however, it reloads you back to just before the final boss, and since it's impossible to get from there to the Firehouse or anything, once you've beaten the game, all you can keep doing with your career is fighting the end boss over and over and over again. Furthermore, I found myself a tad disappointed, hoping the relics/artifacts would serve to act as a form of awards/trophies one could view any time they wanted; yet, it turns out, one can only view them and interact with them, at the Firehouse, which means you can only do this between a certain amount of levels; since resuming career after the game is beaten only takes you to the end boss, and starting a new career tells you it'll write over any saved data, this means, once you've finished career, you can never see the artifacts again, unless you play all the way back through. It can also become apparent it's level-based when under the career-menu one can see "replay level" and all the levels listed, which aren't all that many.
PKE Scanning Entrapment - Don't take that the wrong way, PKE scanning is a blast. However, since items like artifacts don't become known either until you're right near them, or one of the team signals you to scan when near them, one could easily miss an artifact if not right in the same vicinity. Which is to say, in large ball-room and lobby-like areas, where they seem to walk straight through from one door to another, with multiple exits, one who might be a perfectionist gamer will find themselves walking into oddball corners where there's nothing there, with the PKE scanner on, hoping to find something. At times a person may find an item, but most times however, it's not to be... thus causing a person to browse each and every inch of every level. Also,
Weapons and Upgrades - There are four beam types in the game you'll unlock as you play. Yet you'll use mostly the ray blaster (as seen in the movies) and the slime cannon. It seems as though there should have been more uses for the Stasis beam and the *heat-seeking cannon* (don't recall the name); you'll use them now and again, but overall they just seem an extra addition more than a necessary tool. Also, having hoped there'd be more upgrades as the game progressed, I found myself about half-way through the game owning every upgrade, and finally ending the game with somewhere around $130,000 and nothing to spend it on. There's also not as many trappable ghosts as one would hope, as many in the later levels are ones you just shoot and wear down until either they explode or vaporize. Would have also been neat if there was a little mini-game for putting the ghosts inside the containment facility in the HQ as seen in the movies.
End-Game Disappoitment - I really want to answer this, as I was wondering this tremendously myself before playing the game. I had hoped, after beating the game, I might fully unlock a "free roam", and hoped perhaps to be able to cruise around in Ecto-1 and drive around the city, still catching ghosts and making money... this however, was not to be... when you finish career, as said above, it's pretty much over outside of multiplayer.
Overall though, this is still a tremendously awesome game worth checking out. Some storyline bits, will seem recycled from the movie, and admittedly some blatantly are... like rivers of slime in a sewer like area; don't let this withdraw you frmo the game though. I would recommend for any junior Ghostbusters out there, to play this through on casual difficulty; whereas I played it through on experienced and the stress level in the later half of the game got pretty high; especially when you have to replay the same sequence a good 5-10 times; I don't even plan on trying professional difficulty. Let it be known, that the Wii version is actually quite different from the PS3/X360 versions, in the fact it's cartoony and reminds one more of the Ghostbusters cartoon... which may give even more gameplay to this franchise. I'm hoping one day to check out the Wii version myself.
I chose to share this so some might be a bit better prepared for the few minor disappointments than I was!
Edit: Dec 27, 09
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