Ghostbusters: Rise of the Ghost Lord Review
I don’t think there’s a person alive who doesn’t dream of being part of the Ghostbusters. Since the 80s, the fab four has had a strong presence in the media with iconic movies and charming cartoons. Due to this, people from around the world have fantasised about tracking spectres with the PKE Meter and blasting spirits with the Proton Pack. While there have been virtual renditions of the group, the new VR adventure, Rise of the Ghost Lord, aims to fulfil that childhood wish with a level of immersion and interactivity never before experienced.
Tasked to collect the iconic kit from a spooky mansion, things quickly go from bad to worse. After accidentally unleashing the Ghost Lord upon the city of San Francisco, you must join an all new team of Ghostbusters to maintain order. The story itself is merely a premise for the multiplayer missions that will have you track down and capture spirits. Snippets of the narrative do occur from time to time, however, they are firmly in the background. Although I understand the focus on online gameplay, I would have liked a dedicated story mode that would allow you to play out that Ghostbusting dream.
We Got One
As you step into a mission, you have your PKE Meter, trap and Proton Pack to protect you from ghouls that roam the environment. Each of these is accessible from your waist and back which adds a nice sense of immersion. You will need to quickly jump between tools in order to find and capture entities.
Smaller ghosts will vaporize with a blast from your gun whereas larger ones require a bit more work. Your stream will weaken them, eventually allowing you to wrap your beam around the ghost. Similar to Luigi’s Mansion, you must now fight against the momentum of the creature and then guide it towards the trap to vanquish the foe. When against particularly large enemies, you can send a blast through your beam after you have built up heat in your Proton Pack from wrestling with a spirit. This can also result in your gun overheating and shutting down if you are not careful which adds a nice layer of strategy and creates an addictive loop that truly captures the feeling of busting ghosts.
There are a variety of spirits that feature unique attacks to keep you on your toes. The options available to traverse the area allow anyone to engage in the game. With smooth and click turning, full movement and teleportation, the game adds a ton of accessibility options to make this a comfortable experience. You’ll need to avoid being slimed in order to stay conscious, otherwise you’ll need a pal to give you a high five to get back in the fight. There doesn’t seem to be any penalty for getting knocked out as your team can keep reviving you without issue. While this ensures that all remain in the game, it removes tension from battles.
He Slimed Me
There are four different mission types that you can select from the HQ. Exorcism involves you and your team attempting to close a portal. You must scour the environment for three particular items, attach them to specific generators which will then unleash a huge demon for you to slay. On the Clock is a fast and hectic mode where you must fight against waves of enemies to ensure that you can clear the area in the time permitted. In Giga Trap Retrieval you must find the correct location of the trap and try to carefully extract it. This can have a variety of effects which make the mode intense and an absolute thrill. Finally, there is Harvester which involves you repairing a machine and capturing ghosts. Each mode is enjoyable and distinct with friends but a little lonely when on your own.
After the completion of a mission, you’ll earn money which allows you to upgrade your equipment. This adds a steady progression to proceedings allowing you to improve your abilities for each subsequent mission. Unfortunately, the lack of story content means you’ll simply cycle through missions without feeling like you’re closing in on the Ghost Lord. Having more structure would have made it feel like you’re closing in on the antagonist rather than just completing random missions.
Who Ya Gonna Call?
The overall presentation is fantastic. Each map is impressive in scale and the cartoon aesthetic allows nDreams to make each ghost a vibrant treat. The visual style means that they can substitute detail with personality which works perfectly in VR. Characters are stylized and so are the environments which helps to transport you into the boots of the Ghostbusters. Musical cues further embed the franchise into the world and sound effects feel authentic.
Ghostbusters: Rise of the Ghost Lord nails aspects of the experience but its lack of structure hinders the overall package. Using the famous tools from the franchise has never felt better and faithfully captures the feeling of being a Ghostbuster, however, the lack of focus on the narrative gives no context to missions. Fighting against spirits is a blast with friends but doesn’t hold up in single player. Although busting feels good, more attention to the story and its progression is needed.
***A PlayStation 5 key was provided by the publisher***
- Using The Famous Tools
- Capturing a Ghost
- Teaming Up With Friends
- Not as Fun on Your Own
- Lacks Narrative Structure
- Gets Repetitive