Bottom line: Ghosts n' Goblins Resurrection is great to look at and fun to play if you can get past the unrelenting challenge that borders on unfairness.
Gorgeous picture book-esque art looks fantastic
A new skill tree allows for some customization
Local multiplayer is actually really helpful
…Maybe too challenging for most
Controls are stiff
Magic doesn't really help as much as you'd think
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No matter what system you own, you're sure to find countless platformers of excellent quality, and that's especially true of the Nintendo Switch. No matter the dimension, The Switch is flush with excellent classic and modern platformers, so it made sense for Capcom to make the Nintendo Switch the home for Ghosts n' Goblins Resurrection, the reboot/remake of the 35-year-old classic run and gun title. While it has not enjoyed the number of entries as Capcom's premiere platformer, Mega Man, Ghosts 'n Goblins remains an important part of Capcom's history, and its insane difficulty level has bested even the most seasoned gamers.
True to its name, Ghosts n' Goblins Resurrection faithfully restores Ghosts n' Goblin's core gameplay with a brand new art style and some modern gameplay enhancements, all while keeping the series' difficulty intact — so does it hold up in 2021? Ghosts n' Goblins Resurrection's gorgeous art style and challenging gameplay are sure to be a hit with fans, but the same features fans will no doubt love will also be a huge deterrent for the general platforming public.
Ghosts n' Goblins Resurrection review A tale as old as time
|Title||Ghosts n' Goblins Resurrection|
|Game Size||3 GB|
|Players||Up to two players, local|
Ghosts n' Goblins Resurrection starts unassuming enough. Arthur is sunbathing in his boxers with his girlfriend when the Demon Lord swoops in and ruins everything. It's up to Arthur to save his fair maiden and send the Demon Lord back to hell. The new visuals turn the game into a medieval tapestry, and the illustrations look phenomenal, both still and in motion. Arthur almost seems like a marionette, wobbling cartoonishly as he jumps across chasms and kills anything that stands in his way.
This is thanks in part to the game's use of the RE Engine, the engine that powered Resident Evil 7 and several other Capcom games. Ghosts n' Goblins marks the engine's first use on the Nintendo Switch, the second being the upcoming Monster Hunter Rise. Ghosts n' Goblins Resurrection looks amazing, both docked and in portable mode, and I didn't run into any major performance issues during my playtime. Ghosts n' Goblins is as smooth as ever.
Gameplay-wise, Ghosts n' Goblins is a run-and-gun shooter without the guns and should be treated as such. It's in the best interest of the player to keep moving, as enemies keep coming. Arthur loses his armor with every hit the player endures until he's chucking lances in his heart boxers, a trademark of the series. You'll want to get acquainted with the look, as you'll likely be dying often. This game is hard. And not like a normal hard, this is a kind of old-school difficulty I haven't felt since I last played the original Ghosts n' Goblins.
Old game, new tricks
Luckily, while the core gameplay remains untouched, some noticeable additions to the game bring the gameplay to the 21st century. Mercifully, checkpoints have been added throughout the levels, allowing players to quickly pick up where they left off after each untimely demise. The first crop of stages can also be tackled in any order you please, which makes replaying the game for the "true" ending a little more engaging.
Difficulty settings have also been added to help players on their journey, and you can drop your difficulty at any time after you've suffered a few deaths within a level. Changing the difficulty directly affects how many enemies appear on the screen, and on the Squire and Page difficulty, Arthur will be able to take an additional hit. The Page difficulty, in particular, makes Arthur invulnerable and eliminates restarts entirely. Just remember, aside from Page difficulty, each setting is just a different shade of hard.
Two of Ghosts n' Goblins newest additions worth mentioned is the Umbral Tree and the inclusion of local multiplayer. The Umbral Tree acts as a skill tree, unlocking magic that Arthur can wield throughout stages. Some of these magic abilities are quite interesting and often clear the screen of enemies, allowing for a brief pause in the enemy's onslaught. It's a nice addition, but I felt it didn't do enough to actually help the player. Local multiplayer, however, sees the second player take the role of one of three Wise Guys, who can assist Arthur by shielding him, creating platforms, and can even attack enemies. The additional player actually helps counteract some, but not all, of the game's trickery.
Ghosts n' Goblins Resurrection review Not for everyone
The changes to Ghosts n' Goblins gameplay are nice but by no means modernize the core gameplay. That means that beat-by-beat gameplay might as well be ripped from the '80s, and with that nostalgia comes endless frustration. The game takes pleasure driving you insane, basically trolling you as you play. Just when you think you've cleared a difficult section of a level, something pops out of the ground or drops from the sky that forces you to restart the section again.
There is a certain masochistic pleasure that comes from playing and eventually completing the incredibly hard levels, but make no mistake, the game is determined to chew you up and spit you out. Even the game's menu tricks impatient gamers into accidentally restarting their progress on higher levels. I would be charmed by these troll tactics if I wasn't blinded by rage.
The controls are also just sluggish enough to make controlling Arthur a little sluggish, and he's not nearly as fast as he was in previous entries. This led to a lot of deaths due to misjudged jumps or just not being able to dive out of the way of enemy attacks as gracefully as I wanted. Couple that with the old-school knockback means that a miscalculated jump could knock me right into the abyss for instant death.
The hardest part about Ghosts n' Goblins is that enemy movement is almost random at times, and no matter how many times you replay a level, you'll always have to be prepared for a random skeleton to pop out of the ground or some debris that topples over and bounces towards you. Even with checkpoints and difficulty modes, the difficulty is almost unfair at times. This isn't a game to relax with on your couch after work, this game requires a lot from the player, and I don't expect many gamers to step up to the challenge, especially those accustomed to modern conveniences in videogames.
Ghosts n' Goblins Resurrection Should you buy?
I like Ghosts n' Goblins Resurrection a lot, but I wish I could like it more. The music and art style are charming, and the gameplay is rewarding when it's not absolutely destroying you every step of the way. But it's that unrelenting difficulty, even on easier difficulties, that stops me from giving it my full recommendation.
Fans of the series will love what Capcom has done here — a faithful reimaging of a classic series, warts and all. But newcomers unaccustomed to the true old-school difficulty of yesteryear will be quickly filtered by the game's difficulty.
Ghosts n' Goblins Resurrection is an old-school gamers delight, and fans of the series will enjoy the game's devilish difficulty. For the rest of us, the sooner you accept that everything is out to get you, the more fun you'll have dealing with the game's constant trickery. But this game is absolutely not for everyone. However, it's an expertly crafted experience and adds to the illustrious list of excellent 2D platformers available on the Switch. It's just too damn hard.
A diamond that might be too rough
Ghosts n' Goblins Resurrection will delight fans of the series, but everyone else should beware of the game's punishing difficulty.
Zackery Cuevas is a writer for Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore. He likes playing video games, talking about video games, writing about video games, and most importantly, complaining about video games. If you're cool, you can follow me on Twitter @Zackzackzackery.
By Tammy Rogers