Just in time for spooky season, the new Ghostbusters VR game has dropped for the Meta Quest 3, with plenty of ghosts and slime to go around. I was lucky enough to grow up with the original Ghostbusters, and that was my first memory of watching a movie. In fact, I remember watching it from the backseat of my parent’s car at a drive-in theater and hiding on the floor of the car when Slimer came flying at the screen. Does the new Ghostbusters: Rise of the Ghost Lord do enough to satisfy that nostalgia for me? Yes and no. But is it fun? Yes, yes, it is.
Originally planned to launch in 2022, the long-delayed Ghostbusters VR game brings new characters, ghosts, missions, and more to a familiar world. The game is available for PSVR2, Meta Quest 2, and Meta Quest 3 with the same game modes across each platform; it even allows for cross-platform play.
There is one exclusive: a mixed-reality mode where you battle the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man in your living room as he rips the ceiling off that is only available on the Quest 3.
For each hardware set, there are two versions of the game you can buy — the base package for $34.99 and the Full Containment Edition for $54.99. The latter gains you six months of post-launch content, which includes equipment skins, 10+ extra avatars, a Slimer Hunt mode, and discounts on other bonus material.
I spent my time playing this on my Quest 3, but did give it a go on the Quest 2, too. On each of the headsets, the game played largely the same. Of course, the graphics and actual gameplay were better on the new device. Whichever version you buy, you get an animated style of art rather than offering a realistic look at the franchise. I thought the style was great and helped the game feel light and less serious, allowing for more freedom in the design of each part.
With that being said, while I do like the artistic style of the game and the overall game itself, it won’t be something that will satisfy fans of the OG Ghostbusters or even new fans. Instead, the game allows fans from both sides of the franchise’s history to get a taste of what it’s like to be a part of the ghost-busting team with familiar equipment and phrases. If you enter the game with the goal of having a good time in a fun movie universe, it’ll be a great time. But you shouldn’t buy it for the lore.
OK, enough of that. Let’s get to the fun parts. I have really enjoyed playing Ghostbusters: Rise of the Ghost Lord. You start out the game in San Francisco, helping members of the Ghostbusters team to track down some gear, find a lost colleague, and find out what happened to the rich and reclusive Gustav Hookfaber. This is your introduction to the gameplay and basic equipment.
This is also where you first see the dreaded Ghost Lord and your AI-powered spectral to help you out on solo missions. With the PKE meter, trap, and proton pack at the ready, you can now begin tackling the rest of the game. First, you have to go to the headquarters, where you pick your avatar uniform, and purchase upgrades to your equipment. You gain funds by completing missions — no pay-to-play here.
That AI ghost you meet in the introductory level is there to help you out while working through the game in solo mode. The game is still fun this way, but it loses some of the added appeal of conversing with friends and working together to defeat the ghosts terrorizing the city. In playing through a couple of levels with Android Central’s VR guru Nick Sutrich, the gameplay was quite fun.
We began with an “on the clock” game mode: you have a set time to take out as many ghosts as possible, blasting smaller ghosts with your proton pack and trapping the larger ones. The bigger foes, regardless of the game mode you’re playing, require you to blast them until the life gauge drops so you can lasso them with the energy stream and drag the ghost to your trap.
This mode can get hectic with smaller play areas, ghosts flying everywhere, and everyone trying to take out the ghosts. That’s where the Quest 3’s mixed-reality tech can come in handy, in case you need to check your surroundings.
Next, we played the “harvester” game mode, where you and your team have to repair a large ghost trap machine, place canisters onto it that you’ll fill up with captured ghosts, and then return those canisters to ECTO-1 (the iconic Ghostbuster car) so that you can return them to HQ for permanent containment. This was fun as it requires some teamwork to find parts and keep the ghosts from taking out your team during repairs.
In another game mode, “exorcism,” you and your teammates have to scan normal, everyday objects with your PKE meter to find possessed ones. When you find one, you’ll have to take the item to an item-matching “generator” to force the spirit out so you can capture it in a trap. After nabbing three ghosts from the objects, you take on a boss ghost in an epic battle.
Last but not least is the “Giga Trap Retrieval” mode, where you find out more about the Ghost Lord by extracting a Giga Trap that has been tuned to the evil ghost’s frequency. After fighting to get the trap, you have to battle your way back to HQ to finish extracting the contents. Of course, while escaping with the Giga Trap, you’ll have plenty of ghosts to take on and deal with, on top of not letting the trap blow up — piece of cake!
Each game mode reveals a bit more about the story of the Ghost Lord and Gustav Hookfaber’s involvement, but the game doesn’t follow a linear path where you are constantly immersed in the story. I can see how this could be frustrating to some players, but with a focus on the enjoyment of playing with others and blasting ghosts, I found it fun.
The singular character that does tie back to the original film is in Quest 3’s MR mini-game, Mini-Puft Mayhem. As I mentioned before, this game you are playing the game using the passthrough cameras in your home with the game overlaid on it. After finding a bag of marshmallows on your floor, they begin to come alive and then disappear. This leads the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man to bust through your ceiling and attack you.
You are equipped with a slingshot that you use to fire floating mini Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man characters at the big guy. This is a fun game illustrating what mixed reality can be like. It doesn’t tie into the rest of Ghostbusters: Rise of the Ghost Lord story, but it’s still a fun little game. My kids loved slinging marshmallows while watching each other play, thanks to the ability to cast the Quest 3 on our TV.
Don’t be afraid of no ghosts
I’m sure plenty of super Ghostbuster fans will find things about this game that don’t satisfy their craving for nostalgia. Would I have loved to have some original characters and ghosts from the first movies? Of course, I would. But looking at the game as a standalone property that incorporates fun pieces from the past, it is a good time.
Nothing about Ghostbusters: Rise of the Ghost Lord is meant to be serious. It’s got plenty of fun quotes from your helpers, light-hearted gameplay, and a way to tackle some cartoon ghosts with online friends. This is a great VR game where you can play in a universe blasting slime-throwing ghosts with friends, which is all that mattered to me in the end.