DS Review: Ghost Trick Phantom Detective

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is the new IP from the creator behind the whacky lawyer adventure series, Phoenix Wright. And although the gameplay and characters are different, the unique style and design of Ghost Trick proves the design teams are linked. Is this game another underrated gem, or a piece of coal?

Players assume the role of Sissel who’s dead, suffers from amnesia, and is a ghost. From there it’s your mission to help him uncover the truth about his death and unravel the bigger plot around that. Along the way Sissel will meet bumbling assassins, spunky dogs, quirky detectives, and others who either hinder, or assist Sissel in his mission. The dialogue between characters and the overall plot are smart and written well. While this is a DS game, it outshines some of the bigger blockbusters on home consoles. It’s a fun story, full of twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the end.

Ghost Trick is a puzzle game. Somehow Sissel has powers to posses objects with cores. The puzzles can range anywhere from getting to the other side of the room to reanimating a corpse 4 minutes before their death in order to save them. The puzzles aren’t too difficult for the most part, but get a little more challenging later on. Other than that, that’s the game. Talk to people, listen, interact with the environment, and repeat. The story will hook you to want to go on, but the gameplay, while unique, won’t.

The graphics, for the platform, work. They’re a little basic at their core, but the design of the characters, animation, and colorful pallet make the game shine. The music is also fantastic ranging from dull mood setters to upbeat tracks that’ll inspire your brain. The length ranges from about 6-8 hours, which is a little short considering there are no extras to unlock or dynamic choices to make, like a Bioware title, in the game.

Ghost Trick is a beautifully produced game that fans of the Phoenix Wright series will love. It has a great story, great characters, and is unique above all else. The gameplay and length however, keep it from being a perfect game. Still, it’s a must buy especially to encourage the developers to innovate on what’s already a good formula.

Score: 4/5 Stars

Special Notes: This article was originally published on January 24, 2012 via my Examiner account before the website shut down.

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