‘Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed’ Review: Great Asymmetric Multiplayer Fun Can Barely Compensate For What’s Lacking
by Gary Catig
IllFonic is known to develop multiplayer games related to fan favorite franchises such as Predator and Friday the 13th. In both, the focus is on asymmetric gameplay where one player assumes the role of the big bad and the rest must coordinate to complete missions and survive. Their latest title uses a similar formula and jumps into the world of Ghostbusters in Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed.
Matches, or jobs, consists of 4 vs. 1 play with a team of Ghostbusters battling a ghost with each side having different tasks to victory. For the humans, they must destroy three rifts within the location and capture the ghost. The other side must completely haunt the area through special abilities and scaring computer-controlled civilians.
Regardless of who you choose, the mechanics and gameplay are fun and entertaining. The Ghostbusters concentrate on teamwork because it can be long and grueling to take out the rifts solo. You must act fast because the ghost can swoop in and relocate it elsewhere. It is also easier to capture the opposition as a group since the more tethers, the harder it is to escape.
Furthermore, it’s really fun to use the iconic gear such as the proton pack, P.K.E. meter and more. Makes you really feel like you could stand side by side with Peter Venkman and Egon Spengler. There is a high level of customization from your avatar’s aesthetics to the different power ups and improvements to the equipment.
The ghost is enjoyable in its own way sliming everyone and possessing objects to scare. Make sure not to get trapped because you lose a rift each time. As you progress through the game, different apparitions are unlocked with their own strengths and weaknesses. Some focus on stealth and frightening the opposition while others are brutes that can confront the Ghostbusters head on. Matches don’t take too long to finish keeping the action moving.
Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed is best played with other people because the AI can be frustratingly inconsistent. However, it is serviceable if you can’t fill all the roles. There is a story mode, if you can call it that. It’s more unlocking cut scenes as you gain experience completing each job rather than an ongoing cohesive narrative. It’s nice to have Dan Akroyd and Ernie Hudson voicing their characters and being able to interact with them, but the entire story seems like an afterthought. It serves as your induction to the team and could have been a good Act I, but the way it abruptly ends leaves you wanting for more.
Speaking of which, the game has this feeling of being incomplete all around. There are only five different maps so it can quickly get repetitive. I find it works best playing a handful of matches in one sitting and stepping away so not to become too bored. There are milestones to achieve and background stories of the maps to unlock, but that too can seem like a grind to accomplish. There will be new downloadable content in the future with more maps and ghosts to use so hopefully that will bring a freshness once they become available.
Overall, Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed has some innovative and entertaining multiplayer gameplay but leaves you wanting more with regards to its other aspects.
Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed is available for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.