The first of hopefully many Story Packs that build on the Lego Dimensions universe is centered around the antics of the gals from 2016's Ghostbusters movie. However, does this blocky adaptation deserve a score better than its movie counterpart?
The Ghostbusters Story Pack comes with the Abby Yates figurine, the newer Ecto-1 vehicle and a (fitting) Chinese restaurant gate to build. I smiled when first building Abby because they took the effort to make her outfit look like it was put on sloppily while she still has a confident smirk on her face. Placing Abby on your portal will unlock eight abilities for you to use that can be accessed by switching between the four ladies from the film (similar to the Ghostbusters Level Pack I reviewed earlier). The Ecto-1 is a faithful representation of the Cadillac featured in the movie but if I put it next to the one that I got with the Ghostbusters Level Pack, it doesn't look anywhere near as funky. Unfortunately, the gate is underwhelming and essentially useless. If each Story Pack comes with a gate and it's not incorporated into the game at all then I guess I'm going to be disappointed with this part of every pack. It just doesn't make any sense; what am I supposed to do with the other gates? Every figure has its purpose but now I just have some weird-looking Lego structures hanging around that I don't know what to do with. I actually prefer playing without a gate because it's so easy to break pieces off, but I digress.
The following abilities become available for you to use throughout the Lego Dimensions universe when you purchase this Story Pack:
- Abby Yates (and her pals): Use your proton pack to trap ghosts without the need of the ghost trap, use intelligence panels, suspend ghosts, use the laser attack, be protected from hazards, transfer charges (unique to this character), fix broken objects, use super strength
- Ecto-1 transformations: Ecto-1 (activate accelerator switches, use tow bar), Ectozer (activate accelerator switches, use tow bar, special attack, break cracked Lego objects), The PerfEcto (use electricity, spray water, fly, sail on water)
The six levels included in the Story Pack are quite lengthy and a joy to play and they quickly set the tone of the movie. It begins by showing Erin Gilbert struggling to be taken seriously after publishing a failing book about ghosts. Abby (Erin's friend) soon convinces her to go on one last ghost-busting excursion before giving up and Abby's faith in the existence of the paranormal is soon rekindled in the hijinks that ensue. Two more ladies join the party pretty soon and you can switch between all four of them on the fly. Being able to see all of the characters on the screen at once and control which one you're playing as felt like a superior control system when compared to how it works in the adventure world as you have to manually change Abby to the different characters one at a time there.
The gang starts out investigating a haunted mansion and soon faces the first boss. One great thing about this Story Pack is that there's a boss in every level. This extends the time to complete the levels while at the same time switching up the gameplay. After you've dealt with the nasty apparition, you'll go down to the subway where you'll learn the new portal ability called RIP. This opens up a gateway to an area in two different time zones where you solve puzzles to send blocks back that can then be used to progress. It doesn't feel as special as the original abilities that are included in the base game but it adds some extra play time by giving you new areas to explore. After the subway romp, you'll spend some time in the lobby of the Mercado Hotel where things go to a whole other level.
When you finally take down Rowan in the basement of the Mercado Hotel, he opens a portal that spews hundreds of ghosts into the streets of New York City. The last half of the levels have you canvassing those streets and working on a plan to lock the ghouls up for good. The city is partially destroyed as you walk through it and teeming with ghosts. Speaking of the city, you transition between levels by walking around the adventure world and the Story Pack does a great job at tying the two together. There were even a few times when I wasn't sure if I was playing a level or working on a task in the adventure world. Seeing as you can't easily access the adventure world until you've completed all of the levels, it made me excited to finish them so I could explore it freely. Anyway, there are some pretty awesome boss fights in the later levels that have you taking on giant ghosts of popular characters such as Doctor Robotnik from Sonic and the Ice King from Adventure Time. In the final fight, you switch to Erin to break down the ghost's barrier then zap away once it's down. I really like how each of the Ghostbusters has a unique ability that must be used to get through the levels.
Upon freeing the streets from ghosts, you can explore as you please and take in the sights of the city. Unfortunately, there aren't many places of interest and it just comes across as a standard city with a couple of notable areas such as Chinatown (home of the team's base) and Times Square that houses giant floats modeled after a few of the bosses. I was disappointed with the city in the Level Pack but the one included in this Story Pack is actually more lacking and makes the first one seem unique in comparison. The city is small but the addition of being able to traverse the subway and change the time to be either day or night adds some extra replay value.
One thing that immediately impressed me is the voice acting. It's as clear as you could ask for and seems like it was recorded specifically for the game. There are so many silly antics that happen and when the voices match up to what's going on with perfect timing, it helps keep the illusion of a living Lego world. This is in comparison to other packs that simply lifted lines straight from their respective movies. There were many laugh-out-loud moments in the cutscenes here, too. I loved how Rowan found it easy to command the police force to suddenly start dancing like ballerinas as well as when he simply just stood there eating a hamburger at the end of the last level as if he didn't do anything wrong. I can safely say that the humorous spirit of the movie is well represented in this Lego pack.
Unfortunately, I had many technical issues when playing the levels that I feel need to be mentioned as the severity of them impacted my ability to enjoy the pack. Firstly, I got stuck inside a ghost twice. I think it happens when you're trying to suck up ghosts that are far away then another one attacks you and you can't complete the quick-time event to trap the ghosts. Whenever this happened, my only choice was to quit and restart. The second issue was just an outright crash when I was making my way to the next level. Thankfully, my save data and hardware was still okay and I didn't lose any progress because I wasn't in a level at the time.
The final issue that caused me to waste over an hour was that I kept getting stuck in the middle of the "Battle for Times Square" level. There's a part where you're supposed to suck up ghosts that are blocking the path then walk down a street to watch the next scene but it just wouldn't trigger for me. I attempted this four times without any luck. On the fifth try, I completed it using only Ghostbusters characters and it finally worked. All of these technical problems made the pack seem rushed and not tested thoroughly. That being said, Lego games in general are notorious for glitches, probably due to their open-ended gameplay.
Bugs and useless gateways aside, the Ghostbusters Story Pack is a ton of fun and the levels are top-notch. I haven't watched the movie but playing this pack makes me want to check it out and see if the humour on display here matches the live action.
- + The levels are quite lengthy and varied
- + Abby and gang provide lots of useful abilities
- + Specially recorded voice acting brings life to the Lego characters and story scenes
- - The adventure world feels bland and small
- - Multiple technical issues hampered my gameplay experience