The festive season may have ended, but thanks to LEGO the goodies keep on coming. Outside of the Star Wars hype surrounding this past December, it’s safe to safe that LEGO Dimensions – with its plethora of licences, which include Doctor Who, The Simpsons and DC Comics – was one of the must-have toys to find under the tree this year.
Developer: TT Games
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Set Number: 71228
Minifigure: Peter Venkman
Release Date: Out Now
We’re now three weeks into the new year and the game has just seen its third wave of add-on packs released, including a number of new characters and one particular pack that, as an 80’s child, I have been waiting for since the game first launched; the Ghostbusters level pack.
Ghostbusters has seen a massive revival in recent years, partly due to a movie reboot coming out later this year, but mainly thanks to the mechanising power of the LEGO brand. Yes, the new movie will see many of the original cast return for cameos, but sadly not reprising their roles, so Ray and co will not be heading to the big screen ever again. Many fans of the original movies are unhappy by this, but thanks to the construction toy company and their TT Games collaborators, there is a fix for that Venkman void.
The core LEGO Dimensions game, of course, has a level dedicated to the franchise. Batman and co enter a dimension filled to the brim with ghosts and General Zod running amok in downtown New York, many geeks leaped with joy when Batman announced that “he ain’t afraid of no ghosts”. The level gave us a hint at what was coming with brief appearances from the ghost-busting quartet with soundbites from the movie, but we never really got to see the guys in action.
Now, nearly four months after release, with my inner child fully pumped up for the meeting of one of my favourite movie franchises and my favourite toy company, has this pack really been worth the wait?
As this is LEGO Dimensions, this is more than just a game add-on, we get physical toys to build first.
The Ghostbusters level pack includes Bill Murray’s legendary character, Peter Venkman in minifigure form, ECTO-1, and the tool that every good Ghostbuster needs, one of the infamous Ghost Traps. It’s fair to say that Ghostbusters fans are going to be looking at this set even if they don’t currently own the LEGO Dimensions game, purely because of the minifigure. Much like Doctor Who, LEGO Ghostbusters began life as a LEGO Ideas submission which successfully became a commercial product, the ECTO-1 set. Outside of the recently-announced £275 Firehouse set, that original set was the only way of collectors getting their hands on a Ghostbuster in bricked form.
Much like the two other sets, the Venkman minfigure is impressively detailed, featuring the full tan jumpsuit and proton pack. While the legs are basic, one-tone with no design, the torso piece is incredible, to say the least. The front features every significant detail from the movie outfits, the belt, the arm straps for the proton pack and even a little name tag with the characters initials on. The level of detail continues on the arms, which include elbow pads, the Ghostbusters logo and a pocket.
The choice of design on the back of the torso piece seems odd, featuring a back harness, the Ghostbusters logo and what looks like a sticker with “Peter” written on it, whether you’re a fan or not it doesn’t matter too much as this is completely covered over when the proton pack is in place. The head and hair pieces are the least interesting on the figure, both very generic with the hair being the same as that used for the twelfth Doctor minifigure, though in brown.
The proton pack design is a work of genius, featuring a number of small black pieces for the main body. The impressive design comes from the use of a whip piece – like what we’ve seen in Indiana Jones sets of the past – as the connection from the main block to the hand pieces held by the Ghostbuster. A purpose printed circular piece is used to add the electronic details to the back of the proton pack and complete the outstanding look.
In-game Venkman has two abilities; you can charge up an attack with sends me spinning out of control towards the bad guys, or the more conventional approach of using the proton pack. The pack’s laser can be used to cut through gold pieces, a rarity among LEGO Dimensions characters and one that is extremely useful for completionists.
I’m feeling a little ambivalent towards the ECTO-1 toy. On the one hand, it is beautifully detailed with a vast array of little add-ons for such a small amount of pieces, but, on the other hand, the fact that it doesn’t feature any back wheels annoys me. With every other vehicles I’ve used in LEGO Dimensions, Homer’s car or the Batmobile as examples, you can take the toy off of the stand and you have yourself a working car which a child can play with outside of the game, sadly this isn’t the case here.
Despite having only two wheels, a lot of effort has gone into recreating this iconic vehicle in micro form and they’ve succeeded brilliantly. Even months later, I’m still impressed with how much detail the LEGO designers can get from so few pieces and that is no more evident than in the red tail fins or the detail on the vehicles roof. My one gripe about the overall look is that the designers have gone to the effort of including a purpose printed piece featuring the Ghostbusters logo for the back of the car, however there is no such detail for the sides, as any fan would expect.
Like all of the other accessories and vehicles in LEGO Dimensions, there are two additional blueprints which can be unlocked in-game. ECTO-1 can be reconfigured into the Ecto-1 Blaster – which is essentially a water canon on wheels – and the ECTO-1 Water Diver, a Ghostbusters themed submarine.
The Ghost Trap looks amazing compared to its movie counterpart. The trap itself is built out of very simple pieces with two gray hinges used to simulate the trap opening and closing. The whole is actually more than just the trap, featuring a stand which looks like it is part of the containment unit. Like the ECTO-1 model, two additional blueprints can be unlocked in-game to allow you to turn the trap into a Ghost Stun ‘n’ Trap – basically a more advanced trap – and the Proton Zapper, which works in a similar way to Venkmans proton pack.
With the building fun complete, let’s move on to the virtual in-game extras. Placing Venkman on the LEGO Dimensions toy pad will automatically unlock the exclusive level included within the pack, ‘A Spook Central Adventure’.
The level is essentially the story of the first Ghostbusters movie, shortened considerably, but unlike the Back To The Future pack still features all of the iconic scenes and characters. After the opening cut-scene in the library, the story quickly fast forwards to the teams first big job, catching Slimer.
Once the green blob is safely trapped, we get a great recreation of the famous fridge scene with Dana, retold in a very LEGO way, before the story quickly moves forward to the point that a certain bearded government employee unleashes everything the Ghostbusters had contained back on to the streets of New York. It is at this point that we get a great chunk of gameplay time on the streets of New York, clearing up the ghosts and saving civilians on our way to Dana’s apartment building and the Ghostbusters meeting with Gozer and, more importantly, Mr Stay Puft.
While not quite as extensive as the impressive Doctor Who level pack, the Ghostbusters homage does more than enough to keep fans happy and ultimately give you value for money. Though the level jumps through the movie fairly quickly, the chunks of gameplay at the pivitol scenes are immensely satisfying and overall the play time is significantly longer than what we’ve seen from some of the earlier released level packs.
What is great though is that the exclusive level isn’t all you get from this pack, for there is more than meets the eye. As this is the first set to feature a LEGO Ghostbusters character, this is the first time that you’ll be able to unlock the franchise-specific open-world hub. Much like the other hub worlds, there are a number of unique collectible and side missions to complete, all tied into the Ghostbusters movies in some way – including a cameo from everyone’s favourite Carpathian, Vigo.
Another great addition, and one that LEGO seems to have kept reasonably quiet, is the ability to transform into any of the LEGO Ghostbusters. Much like the Doctor Who pack, once you’ve completed the main story you will open up the ability to play as multiple characters using the same physical piece – where in Who that was the Doctor’s different incarnations, here it’s Ray, Egon and Winston. While the characters don’t differ much in their abilities, it is still nice to be able to play as any of the four, especially if you’re more of an Egon fan then Venkman.
Overall, the Ghostbusters level pack as a whole is well worth the asking price, in fact it is only the second level pack I’d say that about, after the Doctor. With an exclusive level that brilliantly picks out the best bits of the classic first movie, to the hub open-world you’re going to get hours of ghostbusting fun from this pack. There is plenty to explore and the ability to play as any of the quartet makes the pack even more appealing.
While I have minor issues with the model design of the ECTO-1, it is still a brilliant addition to the collection along with the trap which adds a completely new game dynamic to the experience in LEGO Dimensions.
This level pack is going to make Ghostbusters fans the world over scream, “Please make a full solo game….”.
This set was provided for review purposes. However, all reviews reflect the authors own personal views and are not influenced in any way.