After a hard day of knighting, you just want to get out of that stiff armour and lounge around in your boxers, hopefully while in the company of your dearest princess. But wouldn’t you know it, evil doesn’t care about your day off, or that princesses have better things to do than get abducted every second week. So off you go, grabbing that armour while, in the distance, your kingdom burns beneath a devilish assault.
So with armour clenched tight, lance in hand and a permanent scowl on his face, our hero Arthur prepares to face another manic Monday. . .
Well okay, it’s not really Monday. I’m pretty sure what day it is doesn’t matter when your kingdom is burning. But what it is, is the day we welcome the Ghosts ‘n Goblins series back with Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection. That’s right, the original rock hard, make you cry Dark Souls of its day has a new game and it’s here to show you what hard really is all about.
Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection originally launched earlier this year, February to be exact, on Nintendo Switch and now Capcom has finally brought it to PS4 with PS5 backwards compatibility, Xbox One and PC, letting the rest of the gaming community experience one of gaming’s toughest hard love franchises.
As both a reboot and a remake of the original Ghosts ‘n Goblins, Resurrection yet again places you in the armour of put upon knight Arthur as his princess is kidnapped while a demonic invasion turns the kingdom into an overrun, twisted hellscape. You’re going to have to side-scroll and platform your way through one tough level after another in an attempt to beat the ever-loving snot out of the dastardly evil behind this plot while, hopefully, not breaking your controller in the process.
Once you get past the stunning visual style that Capcom has employed for this reboot which makes the game look like a fable drawn from a storybook, you’ll find that Capcom has employed the old adage of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Arthur moves exactly as he did in the older games, just with better animation. He possesses the same level of speed, making timing a critical choice and can only jump over and onto objects if you jump while moving. Jumping while standing still will merely propel Arthur straight up, meaning you have to unlearn many of the moves that modern platformers have brought to the table since then. Arthur can also attack in three directions: in front of him, above him by aiming up and below him if you attack while jumping and pressing down on the D-pad or directional buttons.
The key to success in a level, beyond mastering the way Arthur controls and having twitch reflexes, is in memorising the level design and enemy attack patterns. Levels usually have moving parts to them, which adds a nice sense of dynamics to the environment. What weapon you wield is just as important as all of the above. Arthur’s arsenal has expanded since the first game though his trusty default lance is usually the best all-rounder. Picking the right tool for the job, as the saying goes, is tantamount to success. The hammer that unleashes a small arc of energy across distances requires you to get too close to enemies while the dual-shot crossbow requires a lot of jumping to hit an enemy because of the arrows diagonal shots. The holy water is still useless. Weapons can drop from chests or jar carrying enemies.
Two big additions to this game are Umbra bees and a local two-player co-op mode. Collecting the bees scattered across the levels will unlock magic abilities for Arthur. Magic does need to be charged up for use so you with a brief cool down so you can’t just spam it, making its use more tactical than a Hail Mary when you suddenly find yourself surrounded. The two player co-op lets a second player use a ghostly ancestor of Arthur’s to help him through the levels. Controlling one of three spirits with their own abilities, player two can help Arthur through a level by carrying him around, for instance.
The games visuals are gorgeous, employing a multi-layered approach to screen elements that make the characters seem like a combination of paper art and puppets with elements placed on top of one another. The animation is also wonderful and each enemy has their own distinct visual style and movement. The visuals, which look straight out of a storybook, can’t hide the games difficulty though.
Because Resurrection, as befitting a GnG title, is hard. But not unbeatably so. Capcom has chosen to incorporate four difficulty settings, aiming at embracing modern gaming conventions while still attracting the hard-core crowd.
Page lets you respawn at the exact spot you died at with no level time limit and a max of four hits you can take before crumbling to a skeleton. Squire gives you the same four hit limit, level checkpoint and mid-level rebirth checkpoints but throws back in the time limit. Knight takes you down to three hits, checkpoints, a time limit and an increase in enemy speed. Legend takes you back to the original GNG settings by dropping you down to a two hit maximum with no rebirth checkpoints and more enemies.
Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection is the perfect platform to showcase Arthur’s return to his own series. It’s both difficult enough to appeal to stalwart series veterans while making enough concessions that casual gamers too will be able to finish it. It’s also a wonderful showcase for the versatility of the RE Engine with its gorgeous visuals and animation. Whether you’re a GNG neophyte or accomplished devil slayer, this game should not be missed.
Ghosts 'n Goblins Resurrection (PS4) ReviewGhosts 'n Goblins Resurrection (PS4) Review
Audio8/10 Very Good
Length8/10 Very Good
- Not as difficult as the original Ghosts 'n Goblins
- Gorgeous storybook aesthetic
- Full of character
- Different difficulty levels
- Magic takes a bit too long to activate