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Batman Versus Venkman

Batman vs Venkman If you're a fan of costumed vigilantes and unlicensed nuclear accelerators, then 2009 was a very good year for you.  Both Batman: Arkham Asylum and Ghostbusters: The Video Game brought fans of both long-running franchises some fantastic adventures complete with solid gameplay, stellar voice acting, and fun stories.  Nevertheless, some people are not pleased.  People like Kombo's Eric Frederiksen, for example.  He's written an brief editorial explaining why Batman did so many things right while Ghostbusters did so many things wrong. 

Ghostbusters has the talent, but not the tools. The writing and voice acting are great. It's not quite as snappy as the original movie, but then how do you reproduce writing like that? The use of music, past characters and locations from the movie help with the ridiculous amounts of fanservice. However, the gameplay is rife with minor and major problems that remind you constantly that you're playing a video game. I booted up the game on normal difficulty as usual, and just a level or two in I was already swearing at the game. Every couple seconds another 'Buster was falling on his back requiring my help. I slogged through and things cooled off and became manageable. This rhythm continued throughout the game: sharp increases in difficulty that make putting the game down seem like a good option followed by more normal segments. Instead of reminding you why you love Ghostbusters, the game spends a lot of time reminding you of the things that irritate you in games. The fun ghosts zoom around too fast to see, and that "Mission Failed" screen followed by a thirty-second-plus loading screen comes up far more often than they should. And if I ever have to slam those cherubs into that grate again, I will hunt down the developers.

Ghostbusters has some problems, but I think that Eric is being too hard on it.  From a story and acting point of view, the game is as perfect as we're going to get.  As for the gameplay, I can't say that I ran into the same frustrations as Eric.  While my team members were knocked down quite a bit, I can't think of many instances where they were repeatedly disabled.  As for the cherub/grate mission that he mentions, yes, that was a complete pain, but it was over soon enough.  As for failing a mission and having to take another run at it, replaying segments of a level in order to try again has been with video games since the dawn of the action/adventure genre.  I expect to have to make additional attempts from time to time.  If I'm able to cruise through each and every supposed challenge without a misstep, then eventually the experience becomes boring and predictable.  If you want to curse at Ghostbusters, then curse at problems such as the failure to properly load saved data or the system freeze issues that occur during the Library level.  Those are legitimate complaints worth some venom.