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Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective Review

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective Review

Grab your deerstalker hat and a magnifying glass: we have a case to crack. The mystery to solve? Your own murder. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is an adventure game developed and published by Capcom. Originally released in 2010 for the Nintendo DS, this remaster has you taking on the role of Sissel once again, an amnesiac ghost who is trying to figure out who he is and how exactly he died. Shu Takumi, the creator of the Ace Attorney franchise, handled the roles of lead development, directing, and writing, so you know Ghost Trick was in good hands.

GhostTrick title

Chapter 1 7:02 pm, the game opens with a narrator looking at a corpse with blonde hair wearing a red leisure suit. You hear a voice saying, “Welcome to the Ghost World, the Land of the Dead.” They soon realise that this is their own dead body, but why can’t they remember anything about themselves? And who is responsible for this murder? There is a blue flame floating above your body, and the mysterious voice informs you that this is your soul, and the white sphere beside it is a core. You are able to move between white orbs, and when you move from the Ghost World back to the real world, you can possess certain inanimate objects and perform tricks with them. A “Ghost Trick” may be as simple as opening and closing a door, moving a cart, or turning on a television, but these can be used to move your soul around the scene. 

GhostTrick story

You have gone back in time, four minutes before your death, and you view how the whole event played out, but there was another person there besides the killer, a poor woman was also murdered by this gunman. You can’t change your own fate, but you can alter hers. Before she gets shot, you can possess items in the junkyard to stop the hitman and change the outcome. First, you possess the crossing gate in the Ghost World, you then jump to the real world and move it so it hits the bad guy. You keep possessing objects to get in his way and eventually permanently stop him. I don’t want to spoil the details, but it is pretty epic! The detective realises that this woman must know who he was since she knew his name and had been in the junkyard with him. Sissel decides to follow her to learn more about himself and to keep her safe.

GhostTrick past

The mystery voice that you have been hearing belongs to a red desk lamp. Like you, he is a lost soul who is helping you by teaching you all about your Ghost Tricks — these are powers of the dead that only a few gain. He also teaches you how to move around the city using telephone lines to travel to new locations. The lamp asks you to do one thing in return for all the help they have given you, find out what is going on with this city as it is surely connected to your death. The catch is that, you only have until the sun comes up to figure out why you were killed and what is going to happen in this town tonight, as Sissel’s soul will fade away at daybreak. 

GhostTrick sunrise

The art style in Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is different from a lot of games I have played. The animations are smooth and fluid and the art style is crisp and incredibly colourful; it reminds me of the classic psychedelic animation style you see from the ‘70s. I was expecting to see more anime-inspired characters, so it was a surprising change to see something so different and bursting with personality. The visuals aren’t the only impressive element in this game; the music is great! There’s a huge variety of songs that mirror Ghost Trick’s story, for example, if it’s a silly moment, we get silly music, or suspenseful areas have great tense foreboding songs, the soundtrack fits perfectly and is so catchy I would love to listen to it outside of the game!   

GhostTrick travel

I was curious how the gameplay would transition from the DS with a touchscreen to playing with a controller on the PC. The controls weren’t clunky like I was expecting: using the joypad actually worked great since Ghost Trick is mostly a point-and-click title. There is support for using a keyboard and mouse, but since I primarily play console titles, I prefer the controller. Switching between the Ghost World and the real world is done with the hit of one button, and moving between the inanimate object to possess is easy. It does get more tricky when there is a glowing orb out of your reach because you will have to figure out which object you can use a trick on to get it to move to get closer to your target and how to time your moves perfectly. These puzzles are challenging and unlike any game I have played before. It is also forgiving because if you need more time, it is easy to rewind and attempt that part of the chapter over again so it doesn’t get too frustrating.

GhostTrick mysterywoman

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective has an original narrative compared to other games that I have played. Sissel isn’t just interacting with a huge cast of characters directly, rather, he is observing them. Not only to figure out who he is and what exactly happened to him but to save these people from suffering the same fate as him. Being able to change the last four minutes of some person's (or animal's) life was incredibly rewarding and makes you feel that Sissel really is a good guy who just wants to help others who have been impacted by these horrible villains.

GhostTrick ghostandtrick

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is a must-play title for anyone who loves puzzles and great storytelling. There are so many twists in this story that there is no way you can accurately predict what will happen next. The only people that might not like this game are those who hate having to read as there is a lot of dialogue, but honestly, it is so good it is totally worth it. There are more than a couple of emotional events that might have you holding back the tears. It’s easy to see why people consider this game to be a hidden gem on the DS. Shout out to Missile the Pomeranian that you meet in chapter two; that doggo is the best!

GhostTrick Missile

9.50/10 9½

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective (Reviewed on Windows)

Excellent. Look out for this one.

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is one of the most rewarding puzzle games that I have ever played. With an awesome aesthetic, great music, and a story full of twists and turns, this game will keep you coming back for more.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Alana Dunitz

Alana Dunitz

Staff Writer

Lover of all games, old and new!

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