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Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed Review for PlayStation 5

As a lifelong Ghostbusters fan, I’m pretty excited to be able to review a new game from the franchise, not many come along very often. It is safe to assume the developers over at Illfonic show the same amount of love and appreciate as I do when it comes to this IP. Having previously released “Arcadegeddon” (check out my review of that HERE), “Friday The 13th” and “Predator: Hunting Grounds” it’s clear, as far as the ladder two titles are concerned, they know how to handle well beloved franchises and make them work well in a multiplayer set up. They have done the same with “Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed,” by taking the rules of the world set up in the franchise itself and translating it into a game, rather than reverse engineering it the other way around that many other studios used to do fairly often. This method not only immerses fans into the game even more, but also forces the developers to create an entirely new style of game all-together, which will certainly make the title unique, but perhaps may not click with general audiences/gamers.

Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed Review for PlayStation 5

The story of “Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed” is very minimalistic and doesn’t affect the overall story done in the films all that much, having said that though, the game does take place after the events of the most recent film “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” where Winston Zeddemore cleans up the firehouse and has the Ghostbusters open for business once again. You play as your own made-up character, the newest recruit to the team, where you meet classic characters, such as Winston and even Raymond Stantz (both awesomely voiced by their respective actors, Ernie Hudson and Dan Aykroyd). You will meet some new faces along the way as you learn what it takes to become a Ghostbuster. Your home base of course is the firehouse, which as a fan, was really cool to see the entire place recreated, to the point where I felt like I was getting a virtual tour of the actual place. Seeing the Ecto-1 parked in the garage, the office spaces, the ghost containment unit in the basement, to the relaxing quarters upstairs where you can store your collected spores, molds, and fungi. There are even arcade machines tucked away in the back, similar to the movie, aside from that one arcade machine of “Arcadegeddon,” I see what you did there Illfonic! So, I don’t know how much has changed since the original films and the latest film, but I don’t believe Ray’s Occult bookstore was right next door to the Firehouse, perhaps this was just a liberty the developers decided to make, I’m not sure, but it works. This location is also very cool to explore and where you can learn more about the ghosts you will be facing.

As far as the game type goes, this is an online 4 vs 1 style multiplayer, where you can either play as a team of four ghostbusters or you can be that lone ghost they’re trying to take out. I was apprehensive about playing as a ghost, because it’s a Ghostbusters game and I want to be a damn ghostbuster after all, but to my surprise, playing as a ghost is equally as fun and really changes up the dynamic. As the ghostbusters, your goal is to eliminate the ghost or take out three rifts (little portals where ghosts pour out from). By doing so they will need the help of their PKE meter to help sniff out where they are, blast them with their proton wands, then unleash their trap and take down the opponent. This needs to be done three times, so as the ghost your job is to make it as difficult as possible for the ghostbusters to complete their job. The match has a meter that when filled to 100% the location will officially become haunted. As a ghost, you want to get that meter to 100, as a ghostbuster, it’s a ticking clock to get your job done sooner than later. To get that meter closer to the finish, you can do tasks like scaring the civilians to the point they run and leave the site. There are a fair number of well-designed stages here, such as a museum, a theater, and even a prison.

At first, I didn’t think it would be fair to be ganged up on by four other players when playing as the ghost, but it’s decently balanced enough to where you essentially have as much power as four players. You will often run out of energy, which will require you to possess objects. The thrill of hiding inside a vacuum while you’re looking right in front of your friends as they search for where you are, it’s a fun time, not going to lie. Which is why for the ghostbusters team, communication is essential. With equipment that can heat up fairly quickly, it’s near impossible to catch a ghost on your own. Teamwork is needed to properly find the targeted ghost, group up, and lay out a trap while others hold the ghost in position to take it down.

There is a healthy leveling system, not just as your character, but for all your pieces of equipment, with eventual upgrades once you hit certain levels. Same with the ghosts, while you don’t have equipment, you will be able to unlock stronger abilities and even different/stronger ghosts to play as. The customization to your character is also pretty intricate, so to create a look-alike of yourself is somewhat doable, I hope they continue to add new things for the players to get creative with here down the line. In the age of season passes, it’s nice to see that there aren’t any kind of microtransactions here, not that I’m seeing right now at least. Everything in the game is unlockable over time. There is a lot for me to love in this game, but my biggest concern is if it can garner a big enough audience, not just the fans of the IP. Even still, this type of gameplay is also out of the norm, when it comes to online multiplayer, so I worry matches could feel very unbalanced if you have some unskilled players on your team. All-in-all, it’s great to see another Ghostbusters game on the market that is actually fun and addicting to play. Illfonic has learned a lot from what has and hasn’t worked for them in the past and it really shows in this title. I’m very excited to see what they have in store for “Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed” in the future, hopefully it’s a lot and this game continues to grow.

I had the pleasure of playing with fellow Gaming Cypher writers, Greg Vander Velde and Steven Reyes. We had fun working as a team and I had fun terrorizing them as a ghost. Here are their brief sentiments on the game:

Greetings Gamers Greg from Gaming Cypher here for a mid review grin. Galop into the ghostly action geared up with gizmos and gadgets garnered from the Ghostbuster’s firehouse garage everything you’d expect plus a grappling gun. Group up cuz your gonna need your gals and pals to gotcha the ghouls and ghosts that might be gliding around. Gimmicks aside either take down the ghost four times or close the rifts 3 times and get the ghost one more time in the 4v1 mode it’s full of wonderful Easter eggs for Ghostbusters fans in this mode and campaign. Over all, I really enjoyed my time as a new recruit and look forward to playing more with friends in the future.” – Greg Vander Velde

“Ghostbusters Spirits Unleashed is what Ghostbusters fans have been waiting for in a Ghostbusters game. The ability to team up with friends as a Ghostbuster is amazing and the added bonuses of being able to have you or a friend be the ghost and face off just adds so much more fun to the game. I love that we can customize the look and abilities of our Ghostbuster and Ghost. Even once you finish the main campaign the ability to keep facing off against friends or online opponents just adds great replay value.” – Steven Reyes


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*Review keys provided by @IllFonic

Related: Reviews by Nick Navarro, Greg Vander Velde, Steven Reyes

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Gaming since I was given an original Nintendo as a kid. I love great storytelling and unique ingenuity. When both collide in a single game, I'm a happy gamer. Twitter/IG @NickNavarro87

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I've been a life long nerd and video game junkie known to associate with the likes of Link, Nathan Drake, Batman, and Master Chief. I'm a filmmaker by profession, but spend lots of time behind a controller escaping the real world. @GregVelde on Instagram/Twitter/YouTube

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I am a lifelong gamer since the days of Atari, Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. I find the world of gaming fascinating, it's a place where you can immerse yourself into other worlds and do extraordinary things. As for my profession, I work on independent films as a sound mixer and sound designer. @reyesofsounds on Instagram/Twitter/youtube