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'Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed' Review

Source: Illfonic / Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed

There have been multiple video games based on the Ghostbusters movie franchise, many of which are not memorable. Illfonic, a game studio with plenty of experience turning popular movie franchises into video games, decided it was time to give Ghostbusters fans the video game they have been waiting years for with Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed.

The timing of Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed couldn’t have been more perfect. The game arrives after Sony’s movie franchise was given new life thanks to the exceptionally good film Ghostbusters: Afterlife.

Like Afterlife, Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed is heavy on fan service but in a good way. All the ghostbusting tools (except Ecto-1) are at your disposal; the Ray Parker Jr. theme song and original music from the films are there. Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson reprise their roles as Ray Stantz and Winston Zeddemore.

'Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed' Review

Source: Illfonic / Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed

That’s all good, but is the game good? We are happy to report, yes, but in one particular aspect.

Ghostbusting In Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed

Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed

Source: Illfonic / Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed

Thankfully, Illfonic, who are in their right damn good at making asymmetrical games with a 4 v 1 format, decided it was time to get a Ghostbusters game utilizing that gaming premise.

In the game, you are a Ghostbuster recruit, and before you head out to rid New York City of paranormal baddies, you embark on some brief training. Between Ray, whose occult book store across the street from the firehouse, Winston, who is bankrolling the operation, and two new original characters, Catt and Ed, you will quickly learn about ghostbusting 101.

Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed

Source: Illfonic / Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed

After the quick tutorial session, you can customize your character’s look down to their uniform and other accessories. Once that’s done, it’s time to bust some ghosts.

The goal of each mission is to trap the ghost before the haunting meter fills up. It sounds simple, but there are some conditions that you have to slow that process.

You will have to find three hidden portals called rifts that allow the ghosts to respawn after trapping them. You will also have to calm the visitors or workers in each location with a mini-game to keep them from fleeing the area. If they run, the haunt meter increases.

Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed

Source: Illfonic / Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed

To track down a ghostly presence or find a rift that the ghost can move around the map, you have to use your trusty PKE Meter, which can also stun ghosts hiding in objects.

Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed

Source: Illfonic / Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed

Once you locate the ghost, you can toss a trap, whip out your proton pack, and try to pull the spirit in before your pack overheats.

Haunting In Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed

Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed

Source: Illfonic / Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed

Hunting ghosts is cool, but playing as a ghost is even more fun. The challenge of haunting one of the five locations available at launch while avoiding the four Ghostbusters is exciting.

Players can choose from several varying ghosts, including Slimer, who is a pre-order bonus. Each spirit comes with its own set of stats, unique skills, ultimate abilities, and minions to help you haunt the location and fend off the Ghostbusters.

There is a slight learning curve when controlling a ghost because you can float, but it’s smooth sailing once you figure things out.

As a ghost, you must also protect your rifts. They allow you to respawn if the Ghostbusters trap you. You can take any of the three rifts on the map and move them around to keep them from being shut. There is even an option for you to self-detonate a rift on the verge of being destroyed.

Ghosts also can frighten the civilians who aimlessly walk around the map to help fill up the haunt meter.

Better With Friends

Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed

Source: Illfonic / Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed

You can play Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed alone, and your team will feature bots who are not the smartest but will help get the job done.

You will find yourself most of the time doing the ghostbusting, but the bots seem to do an excellent job of tracking down rifts and ghosts if you can’t find them or talking to spooked civilians.

Spirits Unleashed truly shines as a game when playing with friends. We had the opportunity to run with journalists and the game’s developers, and we truly had a fun experience.

The thrill of hunting the ghost or being the paranormal entity trying to haunt locations increases tenfold during party play.

That’s not to say single-player play is useless. There is a small story mode component that you can experience, and you can still level up and earn upgrades to your equipment, but Illfonic made this game to play with friends and other ghostbusters online.

Final Verdict

Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed

Source: Illfonic / Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed

We expect some people to question if Ghostbusters: Afterlife lives up to its $39.99 asking price, BUT some will find joy in what it offers.

There is no massive offering of things to do at launch, with only five locations available, and the replay value can take a hit rather quickly.

Still, for those looking for the ultimate Ghostbusters video game experience, Spirits Unleashed is as good as it gets and accurately captures the essence of the film’s ghostbusting action.

It has everything from the sounds, tools, and slime, but if we have one wish, it would have been cool to be able to ride inside Ecto-1 or even see you pull up to the locations in the iconic movie vehicle.

What Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed lacks in content can easily change with seasonal updates over time. Still, the developers must be consistent with new updates to keep the gamer’s attention on this game.

We can confidently say Illfonic delivered the goods with Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed, giving fans a Ghostbuster game they can be proud of.

*PS5 review key provided by Illfonic Studios*

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