Ghost Trickís unusual premise, unique gameplay, satisfying puzzles, and wonderful characters make it an adventure game you donít want to miss.
- Intriguing premise and unique gameplay mechanic
- Compelling mystery that comes to a rewarding conclusion
- A ton of memorable characters and great dialogue
- Engaging, often suspenseful puzzles
- Terrific visual style and impressive animation.
- Gameplay doesn't evolve at all until late in the game.
Dead men, the saying goes, tell no tales. Luckily, this old adage doesn't apply to the recently deceased central character of Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective. In Ghost Trick, you take control of a soul who has no memory of his prior life and is desperate to uncover the truth behind his mysterious death. This investigation takes the form of a unique adventure game filled with terrific characters, compelling puzzles, and a labyrinthine mystery that keeps you guessing and that pays off in a big way. Don't let the fact that the main character is dead mislead you: this lively adventure is a breath of fresh air. You've never played a game quite like Ghost Trick.
Disoriented, you come to in a junkyard on the outskirts of a city. You don't remember much, but one fact is abundantly clear: you've just been killed. Presumably the crumpled body of the pointy-haired blond gentleman lying amid the garbage was yours--and if you don't do something quickly, the young woman being held at gunpoint over your body will soon be dead, too. This intriguing opening sets the stage for Ghost Trick, all of which takes place during the course of one long night. You soon learn that your name was Sissel, but everything else about your past remains a mystery you are determined to solve. Your quest for the truth about who you were, who killed you, and why brings you into the lives of a host of wonderful characters--feisty young detectives, shortsighted assassins, bushy-eyebrowed military commanders, roller-skating chicken restaurant waitresses, dancing prison guards, valiant puppies, and many, many more.
Spending time with these characters is a joy; their snappy dialogue is consistently entertaining, and their stunningly smooth and expressive animations make their movements mesmerizing to behold and speak volumes about the characters themselves. Some characters move with a stiffness that mirrors their rigid outlooks, while other characters exhibit a spring in their step that reflects their more spirited personalities. The environments these characters inhabit are presented in a striking style whose clean lines and sharp angles make details pop off the screen.
The unique way in which you interact with the world of Ghost Trick is as fantastic as the game's visuals. You view the characters and environments from a two-dimensional side view. As a disembodied soul, you can move between the ghost world and the real world. While in the ghost world, you can move around the environments, hopping from object to object. Not everything can be possessed; in the ghost world, your soul appears as a flame, and any objects you can possess have glowing cores. You have a very limited range and can only move to nearby objects; you move from one to another either by dragging your soul from place to place with the stylus or by using the D pad. When you possess an object, it appears on the top screen, along with a description of the trick (if any) that you can perform with that object. Haunt a refrigerator, for instance, and the top screen may indicate that you can open it with your ghostly powers, extending your reach and giving you access to new places. Possess a guitar, and you might see that you can strum it, which may startle a hit man and prevent him from killing his target. The controls for all this couldn't be simpler; you press buttons on the touch screen to switch between the ghost world and the real world, and to do a trick with whatever object you're possessing. Figuring out how to use these powers to your advantage is a big part of the fun of Ghost Trick.
There are two general kinds of situations you find yourself in. Sometimes, you are in the present and need to manipulate objects to move to a specific location, help a character sneak past prowling guards, or accomplish some other objective. You also spend much of your time in the past. Many people end up dying over the course of the night, and when you come into contact with one of these fresh corpses, your powers let you hop back to four minutes before the victim's death. You watch the circumstances that led up to the victim's demise play out, and then you repeat them as an active participant, trying to find a way to change the past and prevent the victim's death. In an early scenario that serves as a tutorial, for instance, you change the past by bringing a wrecking ball down on an assassin's head.
I love that it was enthralling and challenging, but not at all frustrating like many other games like it, even all games, can be. I believe that anyone who enjoys the DS will enjoy this game. Arguably the best game I have ever played. Such a shame isn't more well known.