Ghostbusters spirits unleashed is a fun twist on the prop hunting genre set in the cinematic universe of ghostbusters, what this means is that not only do you have the online multiplayer action but also a whole storyline set within the ghostbusting franchise.
Set decades after the original ghostbusters you take the place of the latest hire to the ghostbusting team, discovering what has happened to some of the older members of the team and guided by ray who now runs an occult store neighbouring the firestation and winston who is in charge of the new ghostbusting team along with a few new faces.
As you progress through the game you will frequently return to the fire station and discover a whole rollercoaster storyline both introducing you to becoming a ghost through a haunted tome, as well as providing an interesting motivator to keep you playing through the game as you attempt to uncover the mysteries of what is occuring.
The game itself involves two aspects of gameplay the first being playing as a buster in a team of 4 hunting the ghost haunting the location you are sent to, and the second where you play as the ghost attempting to fully haunt the location before the busters can catch you in their muon traps using their proton packs.
I draw similarities to prop hunt as often while the ghost you will attempt to remain hidden from the ghostbusters who are hunting you in a very prop hunt style, however there’s a lot more to the game than this as while you can possess the many props in the locations you actually have to attempt to haunt the location and the locals while you are here too so will actually have to leave the safety of your prop hiding in order to accomplish your goals.
There are several different ghosts that you can choose to play as each with their own haunting styles and move sets, though you will have to unlock more through playing the game and gaining experience. Figuring out how to evade the busters while scaring the civilians through posessing props and causing them to float around the room and balancing that with being aggressive and straight up attacking the residents and the busters is where the gameplay challenge comes in.
While it might seem that the odds are stacked against you with 4 busters hunting down one ghost with a variety of tools like the P.K.E meter which can detect your ghostly presence to hone in on your location you have essentially 3 lives which come in the form of ghost rifts which are hidden in props throughout the level and the ghostbusters can also choose to hunt these down rather than you so it becomes an interesting balancing act which further adds to the challenge to master the game with both haunting and hiding your rifts when they’re discovered alongside the challenge of whether busters want to directly chase down slippery ghosts or explore to find their hidden rifts instead before going out to finish off the ghostly presence.
There are some neat touches to the prop haunting as well with props in each location having some special properties for example if you possess one of the life size teddy bears you will walk around as the bear, the veloceraptors and dinosaurs also become animated when you possess them and starfish flop around in a very lifelike manner once you take control alongside many more. These polishes make the experience even better and justify the price tag of the game as not only are you getting a premium experience set within the ghostbusters franchise but the polish on the game is also very good, the multiplayer aspects work well and the synchronicity doesn’t have any issues so you can play smoothly whichever side you’re playing on, these additional touches all make the experience far more immersive and enjoyable.
Every location has a significant enough area that the ghost has a good chance to win despite the odds stacked against them without being so big that the ghostbusters don’t stand a chance, there are plenty of props in all rooms with such variety that you feel like there’s lots to play with and hide in, and the ghostbusters can’t hone straight in on your location and that of your rifts and work must be done to find these.
While at the time of writing this review there’s only a few maps they are well done and the gameplay experience is fun especially if you’re playing with friends, though at times the matchmaking can put a level 100 expert against a new bunch of busters who won’t expect their traps to be destroyed or in some cases stolen and hidden in awkward locations by sneaky tricksters.
All of this makes the game far more than just a prop hunt game, because once the ghost is discovered it’s never over, the ghost can always escape through many means until they’re finally pinned down and caught in a trap, whether through walls, directly fighting back against the busters or creating chaos and spooking the civilians to cause distractions the game becomes far more strategic, and the goal isn’t to simply hide out until the time expires because you have to try to haunt the location fully by spooking the civilians and all of the rooms in the location which essentially makes this a whole new genre of asymmetric multiplayer game.
I had a lot of fun playing the game and I would recommend it especially if you want to have some easy bustin fun with your friends, because bustin does make you feel good. Though sometimes being a pesky ghost and messing with your friends can feel just as good too.
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