Since its announcement, Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed didn’t have much going for it. Starting with its concept of prop-hunt already seen and reviewed — a NoFrag article on the subject, but above all, by the liabilities of the Illfonic studio. Indeed, the latter had shamelessly ransacked a license and the mental health of Rutabaga with Predators: Hunting Grounds in 2020. So it was with trembling hands and full of apprehension that I launched my career as a ghost hunter.
Gender : Multiplayer Ghost Hunt | Developer: Illfonic | Publisher: Illfonic | Platform : Epic Games Store | Recommended configuration: Intel i7 5820K, 16 GB of RAM, Nvidia GTX 970 or RTX 2070 to take advantage of Raytracing | Price : 31,99€ | Languages : audio in English, text in French | Release date : 10/18/2022 | Lifetime : 1h or 2h before getting bored
According to the very long, and rather boring, intro sequence of Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed, you play as a new recruit within the famous Ghostbusters agency. A recruitment that takes place after a certain period of hiatus, necessary after evil evil forces seem to awaken. It’s wordy, not very subtle and we can’t wait to finally be able to move freely to start the game. After a quick tutorial, one of our colleagues sends us on our first mission. Because yes, surprise, the developers have strangely chosen to want to tell a whole scenario in a multiplayer-only game. But beware, not with environmental storytelling when going through the levels. No, with a story told through cinematics that have absolutely no impact on your character’s progression and that involve people you will never meet once a game starts. Difficult, moreover, to become attached to the story, terribly classic and full of clichés. Special mention to the “young and geek” scientist who does a lot of nonsense. He’s so cool and funny (no).
Well, very well, the developers wanted to tell a story. After all, let them fulfill their dearest wishes as long as it doesn’t impact our experience. Come on, let’s go, let’s answer the call and wait for the time to find other players. Here, let’s wait. A little more… Ah, there are very few players and it sometimes takes several minutes before you can start a game? Alright, no choice, we hang around in the barracks of the agency before finally starting the famous Ghostbusters ambulance. Don’t imagine driving the famous white 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor through the streets of New York. No, after a short loading, here we are landing in one of six public places haunted by a demonic entity – potentially controlled by another human, more often by a bot. Armed with a particle launcher to catch ghosts, your psychotensiometer to detect them, a trap to capture them and a gadget (grapple, ionizing bomb, etc.), you are finally launched in the hunt for ghosts .
While there is no doubt that the game is primarily intended for consoles, that does not excuse everything. The impossibility of reconfiguring the keys still passes, that of not being able to assign a button to speak to other players is more problematic – apart from a child who was screaming into his PS4 controller, I did not communicate with any player. Note also the menu of improvements absolutely not ergonomic where it is impossible to juxtapose the bonus-malus of new equipment to be able to compare easily.
Accompanied by three acolytes – regularly played by bots for lack of players, the gameplay loop is rudimentary: equipped with its detector, randomly browse the map until you detect a signal on your radar. It can be your opponent, of course, but also one of the three breaches present at the start of each game. These are, in a way, the “lives” of the opposing player. Thus, the team of ghost hunters wins the round if they capture the enemy four times or if they destroy the three breaches and end up capturing the ghost one last time. On the other side, the player who embodies the ectoplasm can move freely in all directions, levitate decorative objects or, this is the very principle of the game, possess them. This is also his only way to recover energy, used to move faster or use his attacks. There are three different ones, each linked to a longer or shorter countdown. Other than not getting captured, his goal is to 100% haunt the place. This translates into a gauge that fills up more or less quickly depending on his actions: by his mere presence in a room, by scaring civilians, by throwing ” minions ” who will slow down his opponents, etc. If I speak of the ghost with so much detachment, it’s because it is played in the third person only and therefore has no place in a NoFrag test.
In short, you have grasped the very simple principle of Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed. A basic prop-hunt concept, already seen many times since the appearance of FPS, to which Illfonic has simply added its own progression system: upgrades to unlock for your ghost hunter equipment and cosmetics in shambles or new forms and abilities for ectoplasm. A mechanism that we have already seen elsewhere, especially in the most interesting Midnight Ghost Hunt that NoFrag had tested at the beginning of the year. And as we suspected, this is absolutely not enough to give interest to the title. The games are all alike and, more seriously, wipe out in just a few minutes, very often to the disadvantage of the player playing the ghost. Indeed, despite the absence of players (often replaced by bots), or the fact that the game is cut for the console (it is also crossplay), Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed seems poorly balanced. Realize, even if the developers forgot to program a key on which to press to be able to speak with his teammates, everything can happen very quickly. Even with strangers, with whom it is difficult to coordinate without being able to communicate orally, the sleeves fold in less than 5 minutes. A lapse of time spent running around like headless chickens pulling a little in all directions until the end of the round. And it’s not the civilians to be reassured when they panic when they see a four-armed goon flying in a museum that will fundamentally change the situation.
At least technically Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed runs fine in WQHD on an i9-9900K, 2080 Ti and 32GB of RAM. If we forget the character design, the game is far from ugly and its decorations are rather pleasing to the eye, even if it lacks variety.
It’s not really a surprise, Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed does not offer anything likely to set it apart from other ghost hunting games. Without being as catastrophic as Predators: Hunting Grounds, it struggles to arouse interest among players looking for a nice little multiplayer game. It simply transposes an already existing concept into a film license, surely hoping to interest some fans of the film in passing. If you really miss the prop-hunt genre, prefer it Midnight Ghost Hunt. Always in early accessit does offer a more advanced variation of ghost hunting.
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