Review – Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection
Ghosts ‘n Goblins is one of Capcom’s most celebrated franchises, but also one of its most infamous. Sure, everybody knows about Arthur’s quest, and we all grew up playing it on the NES, SNES or Mega Drive, but this is a franchise known more for its difficulty than its fun factor. Furthermore, despite thinking that Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, its SNES iteration, is a pretty fun game that aged better than most, I actually don’t think that Ghosts ‘n Goblins is challenging in a fun way. Just like Battletoads, these are games with terrible controls and physics, meaning that the game isn’t just challenging because of its design and enemies, but because the player is basically fighting against the awful controls as well as the foes trying to hunt him down.
The announcement of Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection was a bit weird, mostly due to its exclusiveness. Capcom’s track record with Switch exclusives hasn’t been very good ever since the console’s release, with Ultra Street Fighter II being one of the worst games in the franchise and Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate being little more than a remaster of a 3DS game being sold for a premium price. I didn’t know what to expect from it. Would Capcom fix the franchise’s already infamously poor controls? In an age where people complain about the level of difficulty on Dark Souls, would Capcom also add new difficulty options? Finally, considering how short the Ghosts ‘n Goblins games usually are, what would Capcom do to improve this game’s overall lasting appeal?
Let’s just say Capcom tried its best to please veterans and newcomers alike. Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection retains the franchise’s core gameplay (for better or worse), but with some quality of life achievements that do improve the overall experience. I firmly believe this is the best game ever released in the franchise, but that doesn’t mean this title doesn’t feature it’s fair share of flaws. Well, make that a whole myriad of flaws.
The best aspect about this game, without a shadow of a doubt, is its visuals. Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection is one of the most visually unique games I’ve played in recent memory. It features an art style that is a mix between Monty Python‘s medieval montages and a pop-up book. Everything is animated in an intentionally janky way that is just a joy to look at. Finally, given how the game was specifically developed for the Switch’s hardware, it actually runs incredibly well, achieving 60fps in both docked and portable modes. As a side note, Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection runs on the RE Engine.
Capcom also did a good job re-recording the franchise’s iconic songs with brand new instrumentation and production values. It sounds creepy, silly, and inviting all at the same time, in a Scooby-Doo kind of way. Sound effects aren’t anything to write home about, but they get the job done. You’ll mostly hear a few growls, thunder claps, and some minute sound effects, as there is no voice acting in this game. Not that it actually matters that much, to be fair.
Now we have to talk about the gameplay, which is the biggest mixed bag I have ever seen. Capcom did improve the overall experience with some additional collectibles scattered throughout each level. They also added a brand new skill tree that allows you to perform a limited amount of screen clearing moves whenever things become even more hectic than they usually are in a game like this. Furthermore, they included a handful of different difficulty settings, which not only adds extra checkpoints inside levels, but also lets Arthur tank a few more hits before actually dying.
In theory, this is the most newcomer-friendly of all Ghosts ‘n Goblins games released since the franchise’s debut in the mid 80’s. Sadly, there are things that were in dire need of a fix which were kept untouched, as the internet retro gaming fan base considers them “challenging elements” and not what they really were: control and physics issues caused by dated 80’s hardware.
As a result, Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection retains the franchise’s “iconic” terrible jumping mechanics and wonky physics. You’ll be constantly struggling against the gameplay in addition to enemies trying to turn you into a pile of bones. The cheap enemy placement and annoying knock back are things you can eventually grow accustomed to, but the lack of momentum and sluggish jumping mechanics are things that should have been fixed a while ago. Or at the very least, been toggled as an “optional challenge”.
However, even if Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection features some abhorrent gameplay issues, something about it still makes it an entertaining game. You will die over and over again, but you won’t rage quit as quickly as you would imagine with a game riddled with so many inconveniences. New difficulty levels and checkpoints, as well as the excellent art style, make this game Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection not only the most newcomer-friendly of the series, but probably the best Ghosts ‘n Goblins ever made, believe it or not.
Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection features a super charming Monty Pyhton-esque visual style, and it runs well both on docked and portable mode.
I don’t care what anyone else says: Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection, just like its predecessors, features terrible controls and physics. Sure, it’s part of the franchise’s charm, but it doesn’t make this whole situation any less frustrating.
Recreations of the franchise’s classic tunes with brand new instrumentation. It gets the job done with honors, even if the sound effects aren’t exactly impressive.
Fun Factor: 7.0
There’s something about Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection that makes it enjoyable even though its controls are abysmal. New difficulty levels and checkpoints make this game the most newcomer-friendly of the series, believe it or not.
Final Verdict: 7.0
Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection is available now on Switch.
Reviewed on Switch.