|Developer||Sony Pictures Virtual Reality|
|Publisher||Sony Interactive Entertainment|
|Release Date||March 21, 2017|
Ghostbusters VR: Now Hiring (which is listed in the Playstation Store as Ghostbusters is Hiring: Firehouse) is a first-person VR adventure game intended to allow Ghostbusters fans a chance to live their dreams of being a Ghostbuster. In actuality it’s a demo masquerading as a video game, featuring limited interactivity and a running time that barely pushes thirty minutes. And that’s if you goof around exploring the firehouse and throwing stuff about.
Check out part of the description from the Playstation Store entry: “Your adventure begins outside the firehouse in the streets of New York where Mooglie volunteers to be your guide. As you enter the firehouse, you’ll have the chance to explore Ecto-1, assemble and fire a proton pack, check out the basement where the Ghost Containment Unit lies, play with Slimer and much more!” That’s actually the entirety of the game.
You turn up at the iconic Ghostbusters firehouse for an interview and are greeted by a Patton Oswalt voiced friendly ghost/tutorial guide. After accidentally unleashing Slimer from a hot dog stand, you head into the building, hastily assemble a proton pack and capture the green ghost. Shoving him into the containment unit causes some kind of malfunction that sets free the Gargoyle ghost from the 2016 movie and, upon jumping into ECTO-1 to go after it, you’re greeted with a “CHAPTER TWO – COMING SOON” screen.
The “much more” that the description alludes to seems to revolve around finding topless photos of Chris Hemsworth and listening to some messages on the answering machine. I know I’m breaking one of my sacred rules by describing the entire game in this review, but there’s nothing of any substance here. Getting to fire a proton pack was pretty cool, until I realised that none of the objects in the environment actually react to being blasted with an unlicensed nuclear accelerator.
Perhaps if this game was geared towards being a fun way to explore an iconic piece of movie real estate this would be worth the $6.99 asking price, but it clearly isn’t intended to be. When Patton Oswalt tells you to do something you had better damn well do it. Unless you want to hear him repeat the same line of direction every 20 seconds. Selling this as an exploration experience is blatantly false – sure you can look around the firehouse, but you’ll be nagged beyond the point of aggravation if you try it.
In fact, using the firehouse at all seems pretty cynical. While you might think it’d be great to explore every nook and cranny of the classic Ghostbusters location, this is firmly set in the rebooted 2016 version of the franchise. While the firehouse does make an appearance in last year’s movie, it has virtually nothing to do with it. It’s like being invited to a Guns N’ Roses reunion tour, only to find out it’s a reunion of the Chinese Democracy line-up.
Aside from topless Chris Hemsworth pictures and looking around at some Ghostbusters 2016 stuff (and, strangely enough, the trap from the 80’s originals), this is a pretty terrible game to actually play. I love Patton Oswalt, but hearing him repeat the same line over and over again while I fight against the horribly unresponsive controls and try and fail to throw a donut into Slimer’s gaping maw just isn’t anyone’s idea of fun (especially considering he bugger’s off eventually regardless).
Hand tracking is abysmal, with your in-game hands glitching, disappearing, constantly moving of their own accord and routinely dropping whatever item you’ve miraculously managed to pick up. Whatever you try to do there’s a good chance you’ll only manage it by accident. Hilariously, the only two parts of the game that contain actual gameplay are pretty much on-rails. A “puzzle” involving putting the pieces of a proton pack together, for example, sees the bits magically slot into their correct spaces as soon as you pick them up.
A demo that should have been free instead costs $6.99 on the Playstation Store. Whether judged as a game or a chance to explore the Ghostbusters firehouse, it’s not worth it.
Video games continue to try and ruin my childhood.
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