As someone who loves the ‘ghost hunting’ genre that games like Phasmophobia have to offer, Ghost Hunters Corp was on my radar as soon as its alpha release was announced. Since then, I’ve gotten my hands on it and managed to rummage around its strengths (and weaknesses.) Let’s review them.
Ghost Hunters Corp
Right down to the title of the game, there’s a lot of jank to go over. Its not especially clear to me if the developers are going for a Ghost Hunter’s Corps, corporation, or a Ghost Hunters corpy corp corpse. This title can basically reflect the entirety of the game in that sense: You’re never sure if something is intended or not.
Straight from the get go, I was surprised to see just how difficult the game was. As was my hope, GHC functions as a hardcore Phasmophobia game with more steps and a far more aggressive ghost to hunt down. The evidence collection phase of the game (which is the only phase Phasmo currently has) is just half the fun, but is also more demanding of the player that one would expect.
This demanding and difficult nature of GHC is harmed in a great way by the fact that, currently, the ghost behavior around your defences and evidence collection isn’t always consistent. In fact, almost nothing is consistent. Its all pretty buggy and plays sloppily, if it plays at all.
Now, the game is in alpha, so this is certainly passable, but also clearly an issue. Sometimes a ‘voice in the house’ piece of evidence, for example, is really just a feature (or bug) in the game that needs to be played around, and doesn’t actually indicate anything useful. Sometimes ghosts are afraid of your defences (crucifixes, Mary statues,) other times they run right through them and kill you before you knew what hit you.
I’ll repeat this caveat, the game is in alpha. Its current state isn’t passable for a completed game, but obviously this game isn’t completed, so take these issues with a grain of salt. Whether they’re fixed or not remains to be seen. Despite these issues, the corps gameplay itself is pretty fun. There’s a lot to go over, but we can start with the evidence gathering.
Not only is finding specific evidences like temperature, ghost writing, voice communications, and EMF readings mandatory, there is no guarantee that each ghost will have all of them, so you must be thorough when investigating. Additionally, knowing the ghost type (poltergeist, daemon, shade, child) has a great effect not just on how the ghost behaves, but also on the next phase of the game: Exorcism.
You’ve got to use multiple tools, such as cameras, books, cameras, a radio, crucifixes, cameras, and cameras. Cameras are pretty important when trying to find evidence from the comfort and safety of your truck, so be sure to use them often. And by the way, cameras tank your FPS to the floor, so be sure not to use them under any circumstances.
In short, the game is a lot like Phas in that you’ll be using various tools to watch the ghosts behavior and then putting that data into a journal to figure out what to do in that next phase. This activity is also met with the optional objective of looking for cursed objects to sell after the game is over, giving you extra cash and experience. This creates the fun mini-game of deciding just how much time you take from the ghost before getting punished for staying in the location for too long.
In short, look for cursed objects, and don’t use the cameras, which are so good. Then start the endgame.
The exorcism phase of GHC is the second and final stage of each match before you can take off with your pay. After finding all of the (correct) evidence, you can consult your chart and take the necessary steps to rid the location of its haunting. Sometimes this is as simple as lighting an incense stick and throwing into the ghost room, other times you have to literally read a page-long exorcism book into your mic like a muppet before continuing on with the game.
If there was any inkling of horror in your bones playing this game, there won’t be when you hear yourself reading an exorcism book in front of your friends like you do this for a living. Bonus points for doing so with a southern drawl (probably.) In any case, you’ll be doing multiple of these steps, and there difficulty ranges from passive n’ easy to hardcore ‘sweat’ mode.
This part of the game is very well done, and I’m pretty surprised at how well the game relays in-game progress to the player. Given its aesthetic as a ‘stock engine’ game, with default assets being reused from the game’s engine (the exact same ones you see in Phasmo,) I wasn’t expecting this game to be anything near ‘well polished’ in any aspect of its creation. But that part in particular, relaying information openly, is fairly well done. Not perfect, but for an alpha game, well done. And that’s pretty important, given how necessary having that info relayed to the player is for the endgame, in particular.
After following the necessary steps of collecting evidence, fighting the ghost in the proper ways, and giving a sermon, you can check your objectives and find out whether what you’ve done has exorcised the ghost properly. If it has, you can leave the game and collect your winnings, which are used to buy better gear to help you play in your next match, and repeat.
Its core design isn’t anything new, but the nuances in its gameplay and endgame, in particular, are what separate this game from the other would be’s.
The game isn’t fully fleshed out yet, and neither is my understanding of it. That said, an early taste of its bare framework has left me looking forward to how it evolves over the course of the next year. Playing without game breaking bugs, for a start, would be incredible. As it stands, I’d give the game a 4.5/10 in its current state. Accounting for ‘early access’ jank, which should be ironed out sooner rather than later, this game could easily hit a 6/10 rating for me. Anything beyond that would require a lot of innovation and optimization on the part of the devs, and I honestly don’t see that happening in any meaningful way.
For the $18 price tag, I’d say this game is just about worth it, and will probably be a gift that keeps on giving, so long as the devs make good on their promise to continue updating the game.