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Ghostbusters: Rise of the Ghost Lord Review (Meta Quest 2, Meta Quest 3, Meta Quest Pro & PlayStation VR2)

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Ghostbusters: Rise of the Ghost Lord

Halloween is here. Another month to trick or treat, don the scariest costume and put out the Jack-o'-lanterns with their wicked grins and eerie glow. But if you don't fancy all this and still want a frightening experience, pull out your Meta Quest 2 and 3 because Sony Pictures Virtual Reality has a ghost hunt that awaits you.

Ghostbusters: Rise of the Ghost Lord is the latest VR adventure, where you step into a world where ghosts, ghouls, and specters lurk around every corner. It's up to you and your team of brave and slightly eccentric paranormal investigators to save the day. Sounds exciting? Stick with us as we unpack the whole game in Ghostbusters: Rise of the Ghost Lord review.

Who They Gonna Call? You!

Ghostbusters: Rise of the Ghost Lord

Ideally, the Ghostbusters adventure begins with an eerie call for help, usually from a terrified citizen who has witnessed a ghostly apparition wreaking havoc in their world. The Ghostbusters, donned in their iconic jumpsuits and armed with their proton packs, quickly jump into action to save the day. This premise is the plot for all classic Ghostbusters films, and the VR title is no exception. In fact, the game borrows a leaf from the 1984 Ghostbusters film.

In the movie, Gustav Hookfabers is an understudy working at Columbia University. The game picks it up from here. Gustav is hell-bent on exposing the specter that walks the earth. He teams up with the Ghostbusters, who dismiss his work, calling it dangerous. But his relentless spirit carries on. He continues his research, hunting down the apparitions whom he considers subjects. He uses the tortured souls to grow stronger by tapping into their guilt. Soon enough, he harnesses the power that sends a PKE spike notification to the Ghostbusters. This is where you come in.

Unfortunately, the Ghostbusters have been dormant for a while. With a few to zero ghost sightings, their office is practically empty when the PKE spike notification comes in. Gabriela, the head of California Ghostbusters, calls on Big T to help her find volunteers to venture into Gustav's home to capture the hosts. However, one volunteer gets cold feet and leaves the equipment in Gustav's house. The next volunteer to brave the restless spirits is you.

With all these new horrors unravelling, the birth of Ghostbusters: Rise of the Ghost Lord comes to life. The job is simple: grab the equipment and dash out. But is it?

You Came, You Saw, You Kicked Its Butt!

Ghostbusters: Rise of the Ghost Lord

Gustav's dimly lit haunted mansion broods like a ghostly specter. Your mission starts here as you brave the unknown depths of the house, looking for the equipment. Your first find is the PKE meter, which lets you scan the area for anomalies. And that's when you realize it's no longer a pick-and-go job.

A defining element for the Ghostbusters is their iconic Firehouse headquarters, which features in the game as the lobby. The HQ, their central location, is where the team stores their specialized equipment, such as ghost traps, proton packs, and the Ecto-1. The HQ plays the same role in the game, but with a facelift. Here, you can upgrade your weapons, change your outfit, and take up jobs.

Once in the HQ, you get the option of choosing between the San Francisco Bridge, Alcatraz, and Sewer levels. Unfortunately, you have no control over what the mission will be, so you go with whatever is presented to you. Each of these levels has a game mode attached to it. The missions are a variety of different modes that are available in the game. So far, I've encountered four modes that are not worlds apart. After selecting a mission, you dive deep into the quest, complete it, and return to HQ. This is the gameplay loop.

However, the missions offer some variety. For instance, you will be racing to beat a 10-minute timer and catch as many ghosts as possible. Another mission centers on carefully delivering a canister to a certain point. Above you is a meter that points to the canister's stability. If you walk too fast or wobble, the meter gauge falls, and it's game over. Don't be fooled by its simple premise; the quest is quite challenging and calls for precision.

I Ain't Afraid of No Ghosts

Ghostbusters: Rise of the Ghost Lord

Ghostbusters: Rise of the Ghost Lord is a spectacle. The game stems from the same root as After the Fall, which is basically Left 4 Dead in VR. However, it falls short in some ways. First, the proton pack is less of a gun than expected. Also, there are no ammo pickups or loot besides the ecto goo that lets you upgrade your equipment. Your best shot at taking down the apparitions is to fire a continuous proton stream.

Moreover, the baddies are relatively easy to defeat. As you progress, you'll have a mix of adversaries to take on. Once you hit this type of interaction, you're about halfway to completion. That said, the variance in mini-bosses is a grand delight. However, it would be better if the mini-bosses' difficulty was more than an ambush. The regular enemies come in different types – some attack from far away, while others get up close. The smaller ones usually disappear quickly when you shoot them with your proton pack. But the bigger, typically long-range enemies not only need a constant blast from your proton pack but also have to be captured in your trap. Melee foes are on the small and weak side. They're mostly a nuisance when trying to catch the more real ghosts on each level.

The best part is using the Boson Dart. The tool is simply a huge blast that protects your proton pack from overheating. It becomes essential towards the middle of the game after meeting the Bruiser. To activate the Dart, simply press a button right before the proton pack overheats. This releases a powerful blast that chips a bar or two from the ghost.

Aside from the missions being randomized events, the gameplay does feel repetitive. Plus, the game doesn't have enough mini-bosses to get your bust on.

The Good

Ghosts

The mixed reality mode takes the cake and amps the gameplay. Especially if you don't appreciate the no-story VR mode. Once all the ghosts are tucked away safely, you can immerse yourself in the Mini-Puft Mayhem, the single-player mixed reality mini-game. The mini-game is an immersive delight where you take on the giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Seeing the giant marshmallow tear your ceiling apart in immersive reality is worth a few minutes of your time. However, this mini-virtual experience is not related to the main game.

Moreover, you don't have to embark on this spirited adventure alone. Team up with up to four players. If you don't have the Quest headsets, the PSVR 2 will also work since the game supports full-cross platform play. Although you can go through the game alone, it could be more enjoyable with friends. This game is designed to be played with others online or, even better, with your friends.

Furthermore, from face value, it's clear that this game has fantastic visuals. Even on a simple Quest 2 headset, it looks really impressive. The game is filled with detailed and beautifully designed scenes. Plus, the character moves are as expressive as the actual cartoon. Considering this is not nDream's first rodeo, every turn is smooth, from the quick turns to the smooth turns and teleport-move.

Verdict

Ghosts

When all is said and done, it all boils down to whether Ghostbusters: Rise of the Ghost Lord is a game worth your time and dime. For the most part, yes. The dynamic mission structure set across varied maps amps the gameplay. However, the repetitiveness has you questioning the game. Don't get me mistaken, Ghostbusters: Rise of the Ghost Lord is a pretty fun and nicely put-together game. It needs more structure and different kinds of bosses to become a real standout.

Away from all that, veteran VR studio nDreams reminds us of the beauty of mixed reality with the mini-game. Your playroom suddenly turns into a dungeon of puffy marshmallows.

Plus, it's the type of game you'd want to play with your friends. Not because you barely communicate with each other, but the grind for Ghost Lord gives you reason enough to drop back in.

Ghostbusters: Rise of the Ghost Lord Review (Meta Quest 2, Meta Quest 3, Meta Quest Pro & PlayStation VR2)

A Proton-filled Adventure in a Specter World

Ghostbusters: Rise of the Ghost Lord provides a well-made VR experience that will make you happy right from the start. It’s good enough to get you into it for casual matches right away. But its lasting fun might be a bit of a question mark because the gameplay can feel repetitive. You keep doing the same four missions on the same seven maps without many exciting boss battles or meaningful breaks. However, if you team up with friends, the fun of playing together and earning rewards might just make it worthwhile.

Cynthia Wambui is a gamer who has a knack for writing video gaming content. Blending words to express one of my biggest interests keeps me in the loop on trendy gaming topics. Aside from gaming and writing, Cynthia is a tech nerd and coding enthusiast.