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Monday, July 27, 2009

Demo Play: Ghostbusters

I'm a bit torn about this demo. On one hand it seems like a far smarter extension to the franchise than we probably could have hoped, and yet on the other it feels weighted down by some over-engineering of game mechanics.

Take the PK meter. The demo nags you regularly to use the thing, but the googles somewhat obstruct the player's vision and also locks up important controls - like weapons. The end result is a sense of powerlessness which isn't terribly entertaining, especially when you end up fumbling for a weapon when you think you might be attacked. It's reminiscent of the Doom III's flashlight, in all the bad ways.

And my encounter with trying to actually trap a ghost was an exercise in fumbling around controls and wonder what the game was trying to tell me (literally at times) to do - and so the whole process felt extended and annoying.

Still, it's an attractive game that plays up the existing characters and franchise quite well. Not that being better than Ghostbusters II is exactly a difficult bar to reach, but it might be enough of an achievement to warrant a rental.

1 comment:

sterno said...

Yeah I've found that there's a fine line in video games between adding something that makes things more difficult as a challenge versus just making things annoying. My recent example was Far Cry 2 where I had to spend a lot of time driving around and getting shot at for no good reason. It also made saving the game a big pain in the ass. I suppose these both made the game more challenging but in a way that made me annoyed and I sent back the game pretty quickly.

A good example of challenging that makes sense is recoil and cone of fire in FPS games. It's a realistic mechanic that rewards skill over spray and pray behavior. It makes things more challenging but in a way that's positive and rewarding.