Release Date: January 11, 2011
ESRB Rating: Teen
Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is kind of like the movie Ghost. Except you’re not Patrick Swayze. And you don’t have Whoopi Goldberg as your psychic sidekick. Oh, and there’s no sexually-charged pottery scene. I guess when it comes down to it Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective and Ghost don’t have all that much in common. What they do have in common is that both main characters are dead. They are trying to figure out who killed them and why, and they can manipulate objects in the land of the living.
In Ghost Trick, you are Sissel, a recently deceased detective who has 24 hours to figure out who murdered him. Your soul is able to inhabit objects and manipulate them, or you can inhabit another person and talk to his/her soul (you can only do this if this person recently died, which I’ll get to later). Creativity is a must for this game. For example, how do you make it from one side of the screen to the other? Since in this realm, for some reason, you can’t simply walk over, you have to pick a path in order to get to your destination.
Sometimes it’s as simple as inhabiting a bicycle and making the wheels move to get to where you need to be. At other times you need to examine everything that’s around and see what you can use to your advantage. You can inhabit a glass of water and wait for a person to pick it up to drink. While the person is tilting back the glass to drink, you jump to a ceiling fan up above. Make the ceiling fan go faster and then quickly inhabit a sheet of paper to drift to the other side of the room. I will admit that this is tedious at times. Creativity is key, but timing is also important. If you fail an objective- and you will- you can retry as many times as you like.
There will be times when you have to rescue a dead person. This dead person is usually valuable to you because they have information about your death (it’s surprising how many people can die in the game within these 24 hours). You are able to talk to the souls of other dead people, but unfortunately souls can remember little about their previous lives. So you need to save them to get them to help you. You are allowed to rewind time to exactly four minutes before that person dies. You watch a little cut scene to see how the person croaks and then it’s all up to you to find a way to save them. Some deaths will also take you many tries in order to figure out how to save the person. After you have saved a soul, you sometimes still have the option to talk to that person’s soul depending on how “strong” the soul is.
I’ve had this game now for a couple of weeks and I hate to say that I’m more bored than anything else. The graphics are great and the story’s okay, but the gameplay gets old after a while. At this point I don’t really care who killed Sissel or why he was killed. I seem to be in the minority here, however, since the game received good reviews from sites like 1up.com and ign.com, and it was also nominated for Best DS Game at E3 2010.
In my opinion, Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is a neat concept and is fun for a while, though those who are keen on problem-solving will probably get more out of this game than I did. For those who think it might just be a one-trick pony, however, you may just want to stick with the movie Ghost. It’s exactly like Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective. Kind of.
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