Review : Ghostbusters : Spirits Unleashed

Asymmetrical mainstays Illfonic are back again with another dip into the genre. The questions we have to ask though are have they learnt from past experiences? Do we finally have another many v’s one multiplayer worthy to stand with Dead by Daylight or are we in for some more pain for the Ghostbusters franchise? Let’s jump in and have a look.

Ghostbusters Spirits Unleashed is another game set within the original Ghostbusters world. This time introducing us to the next group of ghostbusters, you, and your friends if you have some to join in. Leading us into this next era of busting is Ernie Hudson’s Winston. Having held onto the famous firehouse it is Winston’s job to get you equipped and ready to fight ghosts. Bringing in some new faces to help with this you are quickly suited up with a proton pack on, a bit of light training and into the deep end you go.

Your character is massively customisable right down to individual facial features and while I settled on a somewhat normal looking character you can have a lot of fun creating your own unique looks. None of it is set in stone either, if you feel the need for a change a quick trip to the lockers in the firehouse between matches will have you looking fresh in no time.

But we are here to bust ghosts so let’s get into it. Spirits Unleashed sets you and three teammates up against a pesky poltergeist in 5 different maps ranging from a prison to a museum with a cozy lodge thrown in for good measure. Each map is laid out similar to each other with plenty of rooms to navigate and usually two or three levels. This is where your trusty PKE meter comes in handy as you use it to track down the ghost as they haunt, slime and scare their way around the map. The four of you really need to work together to catch the ghost. The round is heavily weighted in the ghosts favour so if you leave your team mates behind and try to one on one the round majority of times you’re going to lose. Unlike other games in this genre though if you lose those one-on-one battles the worse that can happen is you get slimed which you can pick yourself back up from. No one is left behind watching the others fight on, this is all about teamwork.

Unfortunately, this is where we run into my main issue with Spirits Unleashed. You need to be playing with a team of friends or at least get into a lobby with people using the in-game voice chat. When not enough people are queuing, bots will drop in to assist you but they are next to useless so you might as well use that round for basic practice or back out and look for another. Unless you’re the ghost, then get stuck into em. While my interactions with other busters have been positive, match making has been severely skewed with me at a level nine being lobbied with and against players who are maxed out at level one hundred.

Off to the side of the firehouse you will find Ray (Dan Ackroyd) and his Occult bookshop. From here we are introduced to Tobins Spirit Guide, the encyclopedia for catching ghosts and your portal to the Spirit Realm. From here you can cause as much mayhem as you like as a ghost. Haunting objects, scaring the NPCs and sliming your way to victory. Using your rifts to get around helps put some space between you and the Ghost busting crew but it gives them an opportunity to destroy those rifts stopping you from re-spanning if caught.

Running around as the ghost is a heap of fun, and the few rounds I had with people on chat was filled with laughter and inappropriate humour; I lost each time, but I didn’t care I was a level four ghost, and they were in the seventies so was to be expected, it further highlighted my issues with matchmaking.  

Illfonic has once again brought us a solid four versus one that does well at paying homage to the source material. The equipment looks sounds and even feels familiar but with a visual sheen that gives it a new and fresh look. The issues of their previous titles have been learnt with the introduction of bots and a queue that will throw you between Ghostbuster and Ghost to keep the matches rolling on.

There is a short story there for you to enjoy that I don’t want to spoil any of but it is only light on and finishes after about thirty levels. Once you’ve unlocked all upgrades by level fifty, I can see things getting very repetitive unless you’re playing with mates and having a laugh.

While Ghostbuster Spirits Unleashed is a strong and competent addition to the asymmetric genre, the lack of player base, I would assume mainly here in Australia is going to be its biggest downfall. Early on and the signs are not good.

Illfonic has confirmed there are more tweaks to be made and further maps and ghosts to be added to the rotation in the future. I’ll be sitting here watching on hoping for something more as Spirits Unleashed is a good strong game, it just needs the repeat core community to back it up.  

Ghostbusters : Spirits Unleashed is available now on PC via EPIC Games Store, Playstation 4/5, Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One. 

Reviewed on Playstation 5 with a release code provided by the publisher

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Asymmetrical mainstays Illfonic are back again with another dip into the genre. The questions we have to ask though are have they learnt from past experiences? Do we finally have another many v’s one multiplayer worthy to stand with Dead by Daylight or are...Review : Ghostbusters : Spirits Unleashed