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Lego Dimensions Ghostbusters 2016 Story Pack Review

PermalinkBy Paul Rudoff on Oct. 3, 2017 at 11:30 PM , Categories: Games, 2016 Parody Remake , Tags: legodimensions
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Year 2 of Lego Dimensions introduced Story Packs to the mix. These $50 sets provide six levels of gameplay, in addition to a franchise-specific world and a battle arena, plus a physical figure and vehicle, and some new (and optional) physical "portal" pieces you can affix to the Lego Dimensions toypad (in place of the "portal" pieces from the Starter Pack). The first to be released was the Lego Dimensions Ghostbusters 2016 Story Pack, which gives you an Abby Yates minifigure (not wearing a Proton Pack), the 2016 Ecto-1, and some Chinese Restaurant portal pieces.

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The game starts where the movie starts, at the Aldridge Mansion. However, unlike the movie, there's a true "Ghostbusters" title with the No Ghost logo in it. One of the things I noticed about the game is that it betters the movie in many ways. I laughed several times while watching the game's cutscenes, which is more than I did while watching the movie. Can we get the team at TT Games to remake the movie in their goofy, absurdist manner?

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The first level takes place inside the mansion, and that's where we're introduced to the new Rip keystone gameplay. As the name implies, Rip rips open the fabric of space and time, allowing you to move between three versions of the same space/room. It works kinda like the Shift keystone, in that once you activate it (by shining the light onto the symbol on the wall), you then move the figure between the three colored spots on the toypad to move between the three versions of the room. What you do in one has an effect on the other.

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You play as all four female Ghostbusters throughout the story, though only Abby is a physical character. This is an improvement over the first year's Ghostbusters Level Pack, in which you could only play as Peter in the level. Of course, you could switch between all four of the Ghostbusters using the Peter figure in the original Ghostbusters world, but all four guys had the exact same abilities. Not so with the ladies. Each one has a unique ability, which gives you more reason to switch between them once the story is over. You switch between them just like you did with Peter, by holding down the character select button and waiting for the game to cycle through to the Buster you want. Abby does PKE Meter (move the figure around the toypad to match what's shown on-screen) and uses her Proton Glove to do charge transfers, Erin does tech and intelligence panels and can use her Proton Shotgun to destroy silver bricks, Jillian does tech panels and fix-it and has a grapple proton beam, and Patty does orange handles and strength. Also, each gal's pack has a different logo decal on the back (such as the "nuclear love" logo), just like in the movie. That's a nice attention to detail.

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None of the ladies from the movie return to voice their characters, not even though the use of archive audio (like in the original Ghostbusters level). The new replacement voice actors sound nothing like the real actors, though they did try to replicate the inflections the real actors put on certain lines, such as the weird voice Kate McKinnon uses when Jillian says to Abby, "Do you want your sandwich? Come and get your sandwich." That said, archive audio of Bill Murray and Neil Casey is used for Martin Heiss and Rowan North, respectively (confirmed by the end credits - new Year 2 credits start with Jeff Bennett). Additional archive audio may have been used for Andy Garcia (as Mayor Bradley) and news reporters Rosanna Scotto and Al Roker (in the epilogue). It sure sounds like all of them to me, but they're not listed in the credits. Katie Dippold's real estate agent is in the game (she even gives you a quest), but the character is not voiced by her. The movie's other writer is present, and he provides his own voice (both as himself and as the hotel manager on Rowan's walkie-talkie). Paul Feig is the "Character in Peril" in all of the Ghostbusters 2016 Story pack levels, though it's up to you if you want to rescue him or not :-)

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As previously stated, with a "Story Pack" you get six levels, which is five more than we got for the original Ghostbusters. Here's a quick rundown of the six levels.
  • Level 1 - Aldridge Mansion (Gertrude boss).
  • Level 2 - Subway (Sparky boss) and the Stonebrook Theater (Mayhem boss).
  • Level 3 - Mercado Hotel (human Rowan boss).
  • Level 4 - Walking to Times Square (parade balloon bosses).
  • Level 5 - Times Square (Gertrude, Sparky, and Mayhem bosses reappearing).
  • Level 6 - New York Streets, Lego Museum, Inside Portal (Rowan boss - no crotch shot).
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The cutscenes tell the movie's story in an abbreviated form and with better jokes. Even if you hated the movie, you may actually like the game. Be sure to watch the cutscenes for cameos from other properties. After each level you are taken back to the Ghostbusters 2016 world, where you have to do a quick task before moving on to the next story level. Don't bother exploring just yet; wait until after you finish the story as more content will only appear then.

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The Ghostbusters 2016 world is New York City, but has a vastly different layout then the original Ghostbusters world. Yeah, the firehouse is there, but that's the only thing in common. Instead, you will find the Higgins Institute, Aldridge Mansion, Chinese restaurant headquarters (the former occupant loves her "puddin'"), Times Square, Stonebrook Theater, Brooklyn Bridge, and the subway tunnels. If you go inside the firehouse and accept Jillian's "Crossing The Streams" quest, will get to use a Rip keystone that will take you to the Firehouse in other dimensions. I won't say more than that, except that it nicely retcons the whole reboot into something that would later be explored by the IDW comics team.

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There's a grandfather clock inside the Chinese restaurant that lets you change the time between day and night. Some quests are only available at certain times of the day, so you actually will need to use the clock. This has been a feature that's been missing since, I believe, the standalone Lord of the Rings or Hobbit games. Year 2 actually put back some features that were in the standalone Lego games, but we're missing from Lego Dimensions. I was very pleased to see the return of the ability to replay any part of a level, instead of having to replay from the beginning. This is most useful when going back in to get collectibles.

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Some new features were added to the adventure worlds in Year 2. Each world now has a set of 10 things to find, such as cleaning off No Ghost logo graffiti with Aquaman or the original Ecto-1's water canon. You can now enter the interiors of some buildings, such as the firehouse, the Mercado, the Chinese restaurant headquarters, the Stonebrook Theater, and possibly the Aldridge Mansion (I think you need Harry Potter for that). Unfortunately, there's a rather long loading screen whenever you enter or exit any interior. Jukeboxes return, though there still is no option to randomize the music. The Ghostbusters 2016 music tracks include Adventure World, Subway, Aldridge Mansion, Rowan, Piano, Mercado, and Disco. Piano is a little bit like the trailer music, but just a few notes. Disco is the Ghostbusters song ala disco. Rowan is the theme in Shapiro's movie score. I think the rest are just generic remixes of the theme. If you own the original Ghostbusters level pack, and restore the Jukebox in the Ghostbusters 2016 World across from the restaurant, you can play the original movie's music in the 2016 world. How nice it is to play "Cleanin Up The Town" while checking out the 2016 sights. Speaking of music, it sounds like an instrumental of "I Want More" by Beasts of Mayhem is playing in the background at the theater in Level 2.

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Catching and trapping ghosts is done much differently than with Peter in the original Ghostbusters level. Instead of using a physical ghost trap toy on the toypad, then pulling it over to the ghost in-game and having to wrangle the ghost in your proton stream, the lady Ghostbusters just have to touch any ghost in a swarm with their streams to automatically initiate a trapping minigame. Press X while a swinging needled is in the middle area of a meter, and if you can do that successfully the first time, you will automatically trap the ghosts. Otherwise, you have to do it three times, each with a smaller target area, until you get the ghosts. I think the original trapping mechanic was much better, and felt so much more natural, like in Ghostbusters The Video Game. I suspect that they changed it due to the fact that there is no physical ghost trap with Abby. If you didn't have the original ghost trap, then you wouldn't be able to trap with just Abby.

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In addition to the Abby figure, you also get a new Ecto-1 vehicle - with four wheels, no less! You are instructed to build it while in the third room of the mansion. Why you would build a car inside a mansion is beyond me, but whatever. Outside of the story, you can upgrade it into the Ectozer (a bulldozer of sorts), and later The PerfEcto (a plane). Putting Abby in the original Ecto-1 will usually result in her commenting, "This isn't quite the hearse, but it'll do." While you're in the mansion, be sure to look for the hidden basement area. Thanks to the DeLorean time portal in it, we learn that the present day is whatever time is on your console's system clock, while the past is August 13, 1872. I'm not sure the significance of that date. I don't think it was ever mentioned in the movie.

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Battle Arenas were added in Year 2, and the one for Ghostbusters 2016 is called "Connection Dimension". You can do a single battle or a tournament, and visit the battle shop. Game modes include Capture The Flag, Objective, Tic Tag Boom, and Base Bash. That's all I can really tell you about it. I don't bother playing the battle arenas as they are rather pointless in single player.

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Year 2 brought other general changes. There's a new "The Shard" area to the right of the in-game portal on Vorton, where you access all of the Year 2 content. The game now saves at checkpoints; no longer do you need to remember to use those save machines. With the good, comes the bad. You can't continue the story from the main menu. You have to venture to the world gateway to have the "continue story" option appear. They still haven't fixed the menu so that it takes you right into a world instead of in front of the world's gate. It's even worse for the year 2 worlds, as no matter which world you select, it takes you to The Shard gate. Then you have to go through that to get to the little area with the new world gates to go through.

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All Year 2 content is downloaded separately on PlayStation 3 (PS3) and Xbox 360 (X360) instead of being part of the huge 4.9 Gigabyte game patch that stores all Year 1 content on PS3. (I assume it works this same way on other systems.) So now you only have to download the content you own the figures for and are no longer forced to download everything. On PS3, you download each thing individually in-game through the PlayStation Store. On X360 it automatically downloads everything in game to your Active Download section. You can also delete anything that you no longer have. Of course, you can download packs you don't have yet, but you can't play them until you buy the toys - but at least you'll have it downloaded and ready.

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As I stated in my opening, Story Packs are priced at $50 each. I've always said that the Lego Dimensions stuff is overpriced, and this proves it further. For that $50, you're getting six levels, one world, and one battle arena. On the day of release back in June 2015, I paid the same price for the standalone Lego Jurassic World game, which gave me twenty levels (five for each movie) and four worlds (one for each movie) - and all of that was on disc and didn't need to be downloaded. That brings me back to the other point I bring up every time I review a Lego Dimensions product. Everything outside of the Starter Pack requires an Internet connection, so you need to download the digital content for the physical toys. Theoretically, you only need to do this once. However, at some point in time - maybe 10 years from now, maybe 20 - the digital content will no longer be available, and all you'll be left with are the toys. Don't let that discourage you in the here and now, but if you're thinking really long term, keep that in mind.

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In fact, now may be the best time to jump into the Lego Dimensions pool. Although we were promised three years, the game has been officially canceled after just two. The last content (Wave 9), consisting of Beetlejuice, Powerpuff Girls, and Teen Titans Go, just came out last month. The good news is that we can now put together a definitive list of the minimum amount of toys to buy to achieve 100% game completion. Also, now stores will start reducing the prices in their efforts to begin the clear-out process. I've already seen this at Target with some of the Year 1 Fun Packs, which have also been available for $5 each at various Five Below stores. Heck, some people have found The Simpsons Level Pack, which originally carried a MSRP of $30, at some "99 Cent Only" stores for, you guessed it, $0.99. That's a savings of $29!!!

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Now that Lego Dimensions is complete, I can provide a list of what you need to buy, depending on what you want to get out of the game. It should be noted that the 2016 Ghostbusters and their Ecto-1 appear in the final level of The Lego Batman Movie Story Pack.

STARTER PACK
You need one of these in order to use any of the other stuff. Buy the one for your gaming system.
PlayStation 3
PlayStation 4
Xbox 360
Xbox One
WiiU

ALL LEVELS (ALL TROPHIES & ACHIEVEMENTS)
Buy one of the Starter Packs plus ALL of these and you'll get to play all levels and obtain all trophies/achievements.
Ghostbusters 2016 Story Pack
Fantastic Beasts Story Pack
The Lego Batman Movie Story Pack
Ghostbusters Level Pack
Portal Level Pack
Back To The Future Level Pack
The Simpsons Level Pack
Doctor Who Level Pack
Midway Arcade Level Pack
Adventure Time Level Pack
Mission Impossible Level Pack
Sonic The Hedgehog Level Pack
The Goonies Level Pack

ACCESS ALL WORLDS
Buy one of the Starter Packs, ALL of the level packs listed above, and ALL of the following. This will give you characters from all licensed properties, so you'll be able to access all adventure worlds.
Scooby-Doo Team Pack (unlocks Scooby world)
Jurassic World Team Pack (unlocks Jurassic World world)
Gremlins Team Pack (unlocks Gremlins world)
Wicked Witch Of The West Fun Pack (unlocks Wizard of Oz world)
The A-Team Fun Pack (unlocks A-Team world)
E.T. Fun Pack (unlocks E.T. world)
Knight Rider Fun Pack (unlocks Knight Rider world)
Lego City Fun Pack (unlocks Lego City world)
Beetlejuice Fun Pack (unlocks Beetlejuice world)
• Any ONE Chima Fun Pack: Cragger, Eris, Laval (ANY of them unlocks Chima world)
• Any ONE Ninjago Fun Pack: Jay, Nya, Zane, Sensei Wu, Lloyd (ANY of them unlocks Ninjago world)
• Any ONE Harry Potter Pack: Team Pack, Fun Pack (ANY of them unlocks Harry Potter world)
• Any ONE Powerpuff Girls Pack: Team Pack, Fun Pack (ANY of them unlocks Powerpuff Girls world)
• Any ONE Teen Titans Pack: Team Pack, Fun Pack (ANY of them unlocks Teen Titans world)

ALL GHOSTBUSTERS STUFF
Buy one of the Starter Packs, and the following:
Ghostbusters 2016 Story Pack
Ghostbusters Level Pack
Ghostbusters Stay Puft Fun Pack
Ghostbusters Slimer Fun Pack

ALL AREAS/100% COMPLETION
I don't know if anyone has put together a definitive "minimum amount you need to buy" list yet, and I certainly don't have the time or knowledge to do it, so go consult Lego Dimensions Builder, the Lego Dimensions Wiki, or the abilities list at PS Trophies and then buy whatever you need at Amazon.

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My previous Lego Dimensions reviews of the Ghostbusters stuff can be read here on Spook Central, and the non-GB stuff is reviewed on The Corner Penthouse. For more images, check out the Ghostbusters Wiki.

NOTE: A copy of the Story Pack was provided by Warnr Bros. Games for Spook Central to review. Images used in this review came from these videos: All Cutscenes & Gameplay (DM logo in corner), Official Abby Yates Spotlight, Abby Abilities Screen, Character Interaction Dialogue (Waves 1-7) (Abby/Peter at 7:09), Erin Gilbert Free Roam, and Battle Arena Gameplay.

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1 comment »

1 comment

Comment from: PEDRO FERREIRA [Visitor]
Unfortunately still no PC Steam release.
Oct. 15, 2017 @ 12:26

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In Loving Memory of Joel Richard Rudoff (July 28, 1944 - January 20, 2014)

In Loving Memory of Linda Joyce Rudoff (July 12, 1948 - November 29, 2015)

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