Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleased review: Bustin’ doesn’t feel good

Ilfonic /

Title: Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed
Developer: illfonic
Publishers: illfFonic
Platforms: PlayStation 5 (reviewed on), Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Windows

Any child of the ’80s and early ’90s has a soft spot for Ghostbusters. There’s just something perfect about it and I will fight tooth and nail on the argument that Ghostbusters 2 is far superior to the first one. People are still crazy for Ghostbusters. While the first reboot wasn’t all that great, the most recent movie was awesome and even the Wii game pretty much rocked. A new name right around spooky season is just what Dr. Venkman prescribed. Unfortunately, Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed doesn’t fill the prescription the way we hoped.

You can’t swing a cat in the video game world these days without hitting at least 3 asymmetrical survival games at any given time. Not only that, if any new ones want to beat the heavy hitters like Dead by Daylight, they better bring their A game. Did I think that Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed was going to be Game of the Year? Not an ice cube’s chance in hell but I did hope it would be better than it is.

Like every other asymmetrical game, you join four of your friends, four randos or four AI to create a team of four busters and one ghost. As the buster, your job is to exorcize the ghost and its minions before the location becomes fully haunted. You need to find rifts, destroy haunted objects, eliminate minions, console civilians and trap the ghosts. As the ghost, you need to haunt the heck out of the place by bothering civilians until they run away, sliming busters, hiding your rifts and creating minions. In theory and for a match or two, the concept is fun but it gets old and redundant very quickly.

Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed
Ilfonic /

There are only a few maps to play and one of them you encounter in the tutorial. You do have the option of creating your own character and the creation process is extremely detailed. I wasn’t expecting to spend thirty minutes creating my ghostbuster. Unfortunately, the next time I logged into the game, my character completely disappeared, so all that time was wasted. I tried linking my account to see if that helped carry over my progress, but unfortunately, it would never load.

I played with my best friend who also played on PS5 and he wasn’t able to modify his character or equipment at all if he was not host of that particular match. The matching system was pretty broken when we tried cross-play between PS5 and PC. The whole process was really disappointing as I wasn’t able to play with my friends and when it did happen, the enjoyment of the game would depend on who was hosting.

So, let’s pretend that the matchmaking was perfect. In that case, the game was still a disappointment. The animation is bright and blocky and fun. The few maps we do get fit the aesthetic well. The gameplay is just so redundant. As you play, you can unlock new parts of your equipment to change up gameplay a little bit but it’s just not enough to play more than a few rounds.

The most interesting parts of Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed are the bits of the campaign that you unlock the further you go in. You encounter Ray Stantz, actually voiced by Dan Aykroyd and Winston Zeddemore, voiced by Ernie Hudson. There are nods to Egon Spengler in the fact that you collect various kinds of spores and fungi for points and literally nothing else.

I am hoping that Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed adds more as time goes on but as of right now, it falls short of what we hope that a Ghostbusters game could be.

Next. The Wardrobe – Even Better Edition review: Fun, old-school puzzler. dark

Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed (PS5) Score: 5/10

Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed had the potential to be a rockin’ asymmetrical game with references to the movies we love. However, redundancy, cross-play issues and lack of content make it a mediocre installment.

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.