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Review: Ghost Trick Phantom Detective

System: Nintendo DS

Developer: Capcom

Publisher: Capcom

Score: A+

Given that all the attention on the Nintendo handheld front is focused on the upcoming 3DS, it’s easy to forget the now going on over 6 year old traditional DS. In the twilight years of any console, there is always several pieces of software that help the system go out with a bang as opposed to a whimper. Hailing from Shu Takumi, the mind that brought the world the quirky and unforgettable Ace Attorney series, Ghost Trick Phantom Detective proves that there is still a little life in the 2D screen. For either fans of handheld games, great games and the DS platform, this is a title that simply cannot be missed.

Those familiar with the Ace Attorney series will see a lot of similarities in Ghost Trick. Both stories are told through superbly written dialogue and feature eccentric and well defined characters. Where the two series diverge is in the gameplay. Though both boil down to being at their essence great detective whodunnit stories, the manner in which the mystery goes about being resolved is night and day.

In the Ace Attorney games, the player gathered information and evidence from the various characters and environments, in Ghost Trick you are the environments. Players take on the roll of Sissel, or for further clarification the “ghost” of Sissel. Just after being killed, Sissel wakes up in his new corporeal form and finds he has no recollection of whom he is and how he ended up dead. He is informed that he has until dawn to find these answers as he will then cease to exist. What he also notices is a young girl who is staring down the barrel of a gun who is then subsequently killed. One power you are granted is the ability to rewind time to exactly four minutes before the death takes place, and then by possessing objects in the environment the player can create Rube-Goldberg-esque chain reactions that tilt the scales in the favour of her living. This sets off a chain of events that ties Sissel to the young girl and further clues to his previous living existence.

The puzzles included in Ghost Trick are challenging but fair. The game does a great job of providing enough hints without blatantly telling the player to “hit X to do Y”. It is difficult to discuss the many ways in which the environment is played with without spoiling the many ingenious puzzles. For the more trickier scenarios, the rewind function is always available and the player is not penalized to into reading dialogue they have already read or seen. In most cases there is a mild change to the scenario that creates a check point so entire sections don’t have to be replayed a well.

Dialogue between characters in the game takes place between two talking static characters like most adventure games, but on screen animations in Ghost Trick really are a sight to behold. Taking a cue from traditional rotoscoped titles like the original Prince of Persia, the colourful characters animations help in giving added personality to the cast. From the Micheal Jackson dancing Inspector to the adorable Pomeranian Missle, the characters motion help to define them just as much as the words they’re saying.

Ghost Trick is a terrific piece of send off software to the DS platform. Featuring a great story, memorable characters and brilliant use of the hardware itself, no DS owner should be without this game in their collection.

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January 23, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized |

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