By Paul Semel,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Fun busting action only appealing to young kids.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Players have to work together to bust ghosts.
Positive Role Models
Players are trying to save Manhattan one ghost-infested building at a time. No growth or character development happens to the heroes apart from what's known in the movies.
Ease of Play
Simple controls; easy to learn.
Violence & Scariness
Though there's no blood or gore, players do use a variety of guns and grenades to bust ghosts.
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The word "ass" shows up in dialogue.
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Products & Purchases
This is the latest property in Ghostbusters franchise, which covers toys, movies, TV shows, and more.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ghostbusters is an arcade action game for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PCs. Playing as one of four Ghostbusters -- though not the ones in either the new or old movie -- you have to bust specters in New York City in an attempt to stop a long-dead but still irritating criminal. But while the bulk of the action involves shooting ghosts, blowing them up with grenades, and slamming them into the ground, the game isn't bloody or gory or even all that scary, to be honest. The word "ass" is used in dialogue. Parents should be aware that this is the latest bit of merchandise from the Ghostbusters franchise, which includes movies, shows, toys, and more, and was also released to sync up with the release of the newest movie.
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What’s It About?
Like the movies that inspired it, GHOSTBUSTERS has you fighting ghosts around Manhattan. Playing as one of four diverse characters, none of which are in the movies, you beat up specters in museums, graveyards, and other locations as you try to track down a powerful ghost who was a criminal nearly a hundred years ago and is still up to no good.
Is It Any Good?
Inspired by, but not based on, the new and old movies, this action game plays like a classic Diablo-style dungeon crawler that's decidedly more for kids than their parents. Played from an aerial perspective, Ghostbusters has four Ghostbusters exterminating specters in museums, graveyards, and other locations in midtown Manhattan. This is done by scanning a room, using weapons to destroy minor ghosts and ghostly minions, and using those weapons to weaken major ghosts until you can capture them. All of which works well to make this feel Ghostbuster-y. But only if you're a kid.
Between the cartoon-style cut scenes, the punny, unfunny dialogue, and the redundant arcade action, this won't keep the attention of anyone who saw the original 1984 movie in theaters. Especially since this a bit too simplistic for veteran gamers. While there are four characters -- each of whom has their own weapons and can have their skills and health upgraded -- you can't switch between them on the fly when playing solo and instead have to wait until you get to the next mission. There's also no map, and while you can hit the "reveal path" button to see where to go or use the scanner, the latter gets annoying since it forces you to stroll at a slow pace instead of moving at your normal jogging speed. But while this game is ultimately more for kids than their parents, elder gamers might still enjoy it if they play co-op with their kids.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about violence in games. Does it feel different to shoot and blow up ghosts as opposed to people or other living things?
Talk about cooperation. What does this game teach us about working together?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online?: Available online
- Publisher: Activision
- Release date: July 12, 2016
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Science and Nature
- ESRB rating: T for Fantasy Violence, Mild Blood, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes
- Last updated: October 28, 2019
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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