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Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective review

Four minutes to save a life, and four minutes closer to finding out why you were killed.

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is off to a slightly unusual start with you, the protagonist, dead at the scene. Being dead somehow doesn’t stop you from meddling with the world of the living, and the dead for that matter. You are Sissel, and all you know is that the blonde man with the weird hairdo and red suit used to be you. With an acute memory loss, not only of events but also of the ability to read you can still solve this. Lynne, a bright young red-haired officer is shot at the scene of your death. This is the only lead you have to finding out all the answers to whodunit, whytheydunit and who the hell you are…were.

Ghost Trick is a unique gaming experience from the mastermind behind the Phoenix Wright series. That is perhaps the only games Ghost Trick reminds me off. Sissel can move about in the ghost world during trick time. Special items lets his core jump about travelling the world. Changing back to the real world some items can be manipulated, and thus affect the events unfolding. The parts of the game where you just travel about are quite easy, and the challenge is rather to find out where you are supposed to go.

When you encounter someone’s death you get to rewind time four minutes prior to the actual moment of death. This is where it gets tricky, as a timer keeps counting down the minutes. Finding out the chain of causality is crucial to finding somewhere to prevent the death. At times it is a matter of moving the culprit by affecting objects in the vicinity. At other times you have to travel through phone lines to other locations to stop the wheels from turning. If you fail you can easily rewind time again to the beginning, or to a save point if you have managed to change fate ever so slightly.

Ghost Trick is a marvellous experience on so many planes. You get a good metaphysical pounding, and it does a good job of explaining this alternative view on life after death. Not too far from the classic movie Ghost in basic premise Ghost Trick dives deeper into the idea of life forces moving about. The game is so well presented that it is uncanny. You soon feel for Sissel, Lynne and prisoner D99. Every character in the game has an own personality, and some are really laughable like the guard that starts to dance when anxious. Much like the characters in the Phoenix Wright games they are blown up caricatures, but still highly likeable.

The music is always a driving force with good groovy bass lines, and the typical Capcom signature melodies. There is no voice acting at all, and that is a shame. I would even have enjoyed fake voices, or Japanese to further enhance the personalities. One thing worth noting is that there is a sound bug in the game that occurred whenever I entered a phone line, or rewinded time. Even with zero volume, and the phone muted the sound went on. It could not be turned off without exiting the game. Coming back the game was mute until I once again used the phone line in the game. Hopefully this will be fixed in an update, as it is annoying not being able to play the game without earphones on all the time in public.

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective gripped me right away, and held me in a strong grip for more than eight hours. Finding out what had happened soon became something I pondered when making dinner, or riding my bike to work. Few games has this effect on me, but this NDS classic certainly has the story few games can rival. There are some things I would like to see improved such as the mute not being respected, and a skip text or quick text button would be great when replaying segments. Other than that this is a must buy for anyone into great storytelling, adventure games and keen on spiritual conundrums.

Final Rating

un-missable

eds-choice

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective Free with $9.99 IAP to unlock the full game. Universal for iPad/iPhone/iPod
Version: 1.00.00
Seller: Capcom Co., Ltd

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  • Anonymous

    good review

  • Anonymous

    Yup, the story is really one of the strongest points of this game, but the overall environment and atmosphere is also quite engaging, making for one sweet package. Btw, you can hold the screen to skip text that you’ve already read, so I guess you should edit that in the review.

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