Is Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed Ecto Edition the best asymmetrical game on the market?


Is Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed Ecto Edition the best asymmetrical game on the market?

Having just released their “Ecto Edition”, which is the first anniversary with all DLCs up to date, we at TYG took the plunge and discovered one of the most enjoyable asymmetric multiplayer games in the market. Let me explain:

Ray Stantz in his shop "Occult Books"

It Has Crossplay
While crossplay is nothing new, it is still surprising how many titles would benefit from a simple feature. This title is no exception and although it was quite fiddly to add friends from other platforms on console (you need to do it through Epic) once it worked it was stable with the added bonus of keeping the matchmaking pool at a healthy population.

Solo Play Is Supported
Are all your friends unavailable? Get anxious playing with strangers? Don’t worry solo play is 100% supported. You can load up into private games and be supported by bots. Not just as the busters but also as a ghost if you fancy taking down those pesky living.

Winston Zeddemore standing beside the Ecto-1 inside the firehouse

Experience Is Uniform
Whether you play with friends, alone or in matchmaking the experience and upgrades are earned at the same level. So many titles either limit or even stop experience earning because you’re not in the “intended” mode but Illfonics policy seems to be all their games so far that no matter what mode you’re in you’re still earning the same experience. For myself at least, it has encouraged me to play more and, although it is the title I’ve owned the shortest, I’m fairly confident it’s the asymmetrical title I’ve played the most.

It’s A Beloved IP
Being a child of the eighties, I grew up with the original movies, TV shows etc. and although the series has been in a hiatus, it always held a special place in my heart. The game pays homage to almost all iterations with the plot being set after Afterlife with some original cast reprising their roles, cosmetics referencing the cartoons. All sound effects are 100% faithful, and it made me feel like I was a kid again running around the house with my cardboard proton pack.

Scruff's custom character emptying a ghost trap into the containment unit

All Cosmetics Are Earned In-Game
This would have been an easy title to stick a paid shop in to peddle cosmetics tugging on our nostalgia, but thankfully and refreshingly, the developer didn’t. Everything is earned in-game, either by simple levelling or by accepting contracts and there is a surprising amount with both cartoons, the 2016 movie and the originals all being referenced. The character creation is both simple and advanced at the same time making you create your buster to your liking. You can also customise your bot team to your liking as well, mine currently has “Real Ghostbusters” Egon and Janine and “Extreme Ghostbusters” Kylie.

the team firing their particle throwers at a ghost in a nightclub

Haunting Is Fun
With most of these games, I often found that one side was more fun than the other, but Ghostbusters I think has found a nice balance. Your goal as a ghost is to haunt the building, not take down the busters. So in essence it’s you Vs the building. You are more agile and faster and can phase through some walls and can possess objects. You are beholden to an energy meter that recharges and abilities take time to cool down, so games become cat and mouse with the ghost making sneak attacks to spook civilians or slime busters.

A ghost screaming at the camera in the intro to a match

Everyone Stays In The Game To The End
Two scenarios often happen in these games: you queue in matchmaking, and wait for loading screens to finally get into a game, only to be the first taken out super quickly, meaning you queue up again. Or you’re playing with your friends and again you’re the first taken out meaning you have to wait for the end of the match for the next game. Sound familiar?

Ghostbusters sidesteps this as busters cannot be permanently taken out, sure they can be slimed or their equipment broken but that’s only delaying them. The ghost also has three “lives” so a quick capture is likewise negated. The match ends with either the ghost busted or the building haunted.

Scruff's team of busters, consisting of Janine Melnitz, Scruff, Egon Spengler and Kylie Griffin

There Is A Story Plot
Unlike most of the other games of this type on the market, this actually has a narrative running alongside the matches. As you progress through levels, you will be called to the various people in the firehouse to receive the next story element. This does take precedence, however, and was sometimes disruptive when we just wanted to play the next match – but they were never longer than a couple of minutes outside of tutorials.

The player in first person using a PKE meter to track a ghost

Progression Is Generous
Everything from equipment to ghost types have their own levelling system, but it never seems like a slog. Everything seemed to unlock at a decent pace and there were plenty of side objectives (known as contracts) which gave generous XP boosts and cosmetics to work through. There is also the option to “prestige” once you hit level 100 to unlock more cosmetic options as well.

Overall, we have been having a blast with this game and as it’s also at a budget price can wholeheartedly recommend picking this title up.

9/10 star rating

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