Customer Reviews: Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective - Nintendo DS
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on January 16, 2011
The premise of the game is fairly interesting: you start off dead and have to use your soul to possess and manipulate objects to accomplish goals. At first you are just trying to find out who you were and why you were killed, but as the story progresses you start uncovering bits and pieces of a bigger plot with national security implications (I kid you not). This game is from the creators of the Ace Attorney series, so people familiar with those games will probably see similarities here, mostly a good story with quirky characters, wrapping humor around a fairly tragic situation.

Story (spoilers will be highlighted): being an adventure game, this is the main selling point of the game and it does not disappoint. Since the game starts off with you dead and witnessing someone about to get killed, you can't say this is a slow starting game. The sense of urgency is also highlighted by the fact your soul will dissipate at dawn, so you really have one night to figure things out. As you go from chapter to chapter meeting more people and changing their fates, you slowly uncover a plot that can have national security implications for your country and you slowly change your motivations and your initial assumption of who you might be. The game even throws a little mystery along with its tutorial (who is the soul that is teaching you about your abilities?) that is revealed at the end of the game.

*** Spoiler alert ****

This is where the game will remind you of the Ace Attorney series. Everyone is connected to each other somehow, by an event that happened several years ago and that still has consequences on the present. In this case, it was a meteor fall that occurred 10 years ago and prompted someone to seek revenge over everyone else involved on the story. This meteor's alien radiation is also the games explanation to some ghosts having powers and others not and the object of desire of the foreigner country involved on the plot (the bad guys that are the "national security" threat. They are all blue, Capcom must have been burned by the racist allegations on Resident Evil and picked a non-realistic skin color this time). The final chapter is fairly epic, with you and your friends stuck on a sinking submarine and the final fate change (for everyone really) taking you to 10 years ago, to the moment of the meteor fall. The final explanation of who you are and the reveal of the soul that was helping you in the beginning is Capcom's signature tear jerker before the happy ending.

*** Spoiler ends ***

Game mechanics and controls: your initial ability is possessing objects and manipulating them in a limited fashion. You also have limited range, so several times, to cross a room, you have to mess around with objects to create a path. This takes care of the puzzle portion of the game and at least to me, it actually seemed more logical than most adventure games (I love Ace Attorney, but sometimes the puzzle solutions made no sense at all, I did not find an instance on Ghost Trick that made me feel that way). You also can travel over the phone (the equivalent of long range transportation in this game and on some chapters, a decision point as well - "Should I stay or should I go?") and the most important one, story wise: when you get in touch with a recently deceased person, you can travel back in time, to 4 min before their death, and change their fate by manipulating objects in the past. It's a limited set of abilities but the game developers use it in very creative ways. At a later point on the game, another ghost is introduced with the ability to swap similar objects and you tag-team with it on several chapters to solve puzzles. The DS touch screen and stylus are a great fit to control the game and you can rewind time an unlimited amount of times, allowing you unlimited chances for trial and error.

Characters, art style, animation, etc...: the game is full of interesting characters, like the dancing detective or the singing fried chicken restaurant chef, my favorite being Missile the dog (yep, a dog is one of the main characters). Even minor players, like generic guard A have lines delivered with personality and actually makes you wonder what is their background (Panic Dancing Prison Guard comes to mind). The art style is very unique, all angles and strong colors, which I really enjoyed. The game looks great in motion, by the way, the first time I saw the Dancing Detective, I was surprised at how fluid the animation was. Music is very good, just like in Ace Attorney, it fits the mood of the moment and builds up the pace when things are getting serious. Even the save game melody reminds me of Ace Attorney :)

Final thoughts: Ghost Trick is a very good adventure game and any fan of the genre should give it a try. It has a great story with great characters delivered in a very unique package. At this moment it seems my review is the first one (almost 1 week after the game released), which makes me a little sad that the game is not selling well. I really hope that, like Ace Attorney, this game is slowly discovered by adventure game fans and builds up sales overtime.
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on January 21, 2011
You know how there are those games that you are in awe over and get excited every time you turn it on? This just had to be one of those for me.I have not enjoyed a game this much in quite awhile.
When I had first heard about this lovely title, which was actually a few days before it was released, I was instantly intrigued by it and patiently waited for the soon release. And so when I finally got my hands on it, oooh boy... Let me tell ya, I'm definitely glad I stumbled across this gem. It almost makes me angry that it was not advertized well enough.
Anyway, here is my review split up into segments:

Gameplay - The ability to manipulate certain objects and to travel through them is very unique, and immensely fun. And the way the objects interacted with one another was pretty cool too. While some of the puzzles WERE a bit frustrating and took some time to figure out, that never kept me from playing it, I'd find myself constantly rewinding time to the beginning, and going through the entire span of the 'four minutes' just to change one little thing at the end. It still did not interfere with my enjoyment. The ability to save the characters lives is fun, though for certain characters, it got a bit annoying having to save one repeatedly *cough*Lynne*cough* :P

Story - I found the premise to be very interesting; playing as someone who just died, then sets out to solve the mystery that is his death. Sure, the whole 'I have amnesia, I can't remember anything' bit is played out too much, but Ghost Trick is such an exception. In fact, in most of the game, you're trying to solve other characters' mysteries rather than your own. As the player progresses further into the game, the story becomes more complex, but never too difficult to understand, and similar to Ace Attorney, there are plenty of tweeests!
The characters are very, very quirky, but quite memorable, some more than others, such as (an apparent fan-favorite, and mine especially) Missile, the loyal and adorable Pomeranian. Fortunately, he became a VERY important character, so we got to see more of him.
Towards the end (no spoilers here), the story becomes heart-tugging, but it all works itself out in a happily, tear-jerking end. And I have to say, I REALLY enjoyed the ending, both in how they presented it and how they wrote it out.

Art/presentation - I'm very big on art in video games, seeing as I'm an artist myself, and I will have to say that I enjoyed the sort of edgy anime portraits. They provided a specific style for the whole game that truly made it unique. The character designs are obviously quirky and even humorous, but this added to Ghost Trick, and did a good job of going along with the overall of feel of the game. And the animation...My gosh! I was so surprised by the impressive animation -- it was beautifully fluid!! It was almost like watching a little play, what with the 2 dimensional backgrounds. Speaking of the backgrounds, those were very well-rendered too! The style reminded me a lot of Out of this World, but much more detailed.

Music - Similar to the Ace Attorney, it's still pretty good. It does a good job of conveying the emotions and feelings that are going on in certain scenes. Some of them are pretty catchy too, like the main theme. I really liked the soundtrack for the most part; although probably one song became very repetitive while I was 'ghost tricking'.

I've played some of the Ace Attorney series, but I enjoyed this game much more. Don't get me wrong, Phoenix Wright is fun, but Ghost Trick is one spectacular adventure game and that needs to be played by everyone with a DS! :] I'm seriously hoping that Ghost Trick gets the attention that it deserves, it really needs it!
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on January 17, 2011
You just woke up...but, wait! You're dead. So begins the story of your character, Sissel, and the night of his murder.

The game pretty much begins with you lying dead, just discovering you've been murdered. Now the only question is why were you murdered and who killed you? As Sissel, you decide to find out. Because it turns out you only have one night to do so. Luckily upon your death you have acquired some "ghost tricks" which allow you to manipulate non-living objects within the game. This is also how you get around, by moving from object to object. It is actually a very cool concept once you get the hang of it. It is fairly simple. With your ghost tricks in hand, you set out to find out more about your story.

I like how the game gets started right away. The first chapter is essentially a tutorial on how to play. You will learn how to use your ghost tricks. You decide to use them to help others so that you may find out more about your own death. Each chapter consists of your character trying to avert the fate of a would-be murder victim. You have to go back four minutes before that person died and attempt to manipulate objects to save them from death. You may have to save one person several times. You are timed, but you can try as many times as you like. This game is sort of like a puzzle and logic really have to think about which object to use to help your victim survive. What I do is I try all the possible manipulations with each object and then I go back and figure out how I can put them together to save the victim. It is a very fun way to play and its pretty original, too!

Along the way you will go between the present and past. The game advances in present time; you only enter the past when you go back in time to try and save the dead. While in the past, you can speak with the dead you are now trying to save and they will give you hints about your life and who you were. They may even have a connection with you. They will also work with you to help you save them. This is one very Ace Attorneyish part of the game. Just as Phoenix gives you little hints in the courtroom, so Sissel gives you hints to try and save the victim. I am only in the beginning, but so far the hints have been helpful without just giving you the answer.

The way you travel from place to place is rather unique. Apparently the dead can only travel by phone line, so to gain new places you must possess the phone and listen in on people's conversations to find out where the person is on the other line. This way you gain new locations and can travel throughout the game world. Anytime you want to move, you just possess a phone and manipulate it and the address book pops up. Just choose where you want to go and zap, you're there!

Another AA aspect would be the music! Seriously if you loved the AA music, you'll feel right at home in GT! It is that same fast-paced music in the courtroom when you advance in this game, that exciting "you did it" music. The graphics are a little different this time around. They look somewhat cartoonish but still with a real-life feeling. It isn't the anime-type drawings of AA. However you will be able to tell that the producer of AA made this game, because the ambience and format is very similar, but still unique.

The way I see this game going is each chapter you learn a little more about yourself from the dead. Each time you have four minutes to save the current victim using your ghost tricks. You travel to different locations to use your tricks to save the dead. At the beginning of each chapter Sissel recaps where you are in the story, which is nice. Like in AA, you meet new characters and gain new locations and information as you advance. Time is passing quickly though, so you have only tonight to find out who you really are and what you got yourself into! Use your ghost tricks successfully, and you might find out before you disappear! Have fun!

Side note: if you are a fan of Ace Attorney I highly recommend this game you will feel right at home:D
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on March 25, 2011
With 3DS fever on the horizon, many developers are focusing their efforts on Nintendo's new 3D handheld. Some companies, however, have not given up on the original DS just yet. Ace Attorney director Shu Takumi has created a fresh new game that will possibly go down as one of the greatest DS games ever created. That game, is Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective.
You play as a man named Sissel. The thing is, though, is that you're dead. Sissel has just woken up as a ghost and has no idea who he was or how he was killed. He has one night to figure out the mystery of himself, or else he'll fade away into nothingness by dawn. Along the way, he'll meet countless of other characters including a red-headed detective named Lynne, an adorable Pomeranian dog named Missile, an eccentric inspector named Cabanela, and many more.

He'll also have to stop other murders from taking place. Sissel has many "Ghost Tricks" that he can use to his advantage. His spirit can move from object to object and cause them to do certain actions. He can also move through phone-lines to get to far-away locations and can also go back in time 4 minutes to stop murders. Much like Professor Layton and Ace Attorney, the gameplay is run on a point and click interface. The control with the stylus is easy and fluid and will appeal to both casual and hardcore gamers. It should be noted though that Ghost Trick is also largely a text-based game. If you don't like reading, then it will be difficult for you to sit through the hours of in game text.

The story is extremely well written. There are many plot twists added in and gamers will likely be scratching their heads until the very end. The story, though, makes the game feel extremely linear. There is only one answer to the many puzzles in the game, lowering the replay value considerably. Graphically, Ghost Trick couldn't be better. The art style is colorful and fits the personalities of the characters perfectly. The animation itself deserves special praise. It is simply some of the best 2D animation on the DS. The animation is buttery-smooth and rivals even some of the better cartoons out there. Audio wise, Ghost Trick doesn't disappoint. Ace Attorney composer Masakazu Sugimori was able to return to Capcom to compose the soundtrack. The chiptune-style music creates a subtle atmosphere and adds a new layer of depth to the game. The game itself will likely last you about 10 to 12 hours at the most and possibly longer depending on how long it takes for you to solve the puzzles. The only problem is that after the game is completed, there's little reason to return to it again.

Overall, Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is one of the most satisfiying games I have ever played. It combines a well-written story combined with intuitive gameplay. Could we see Sissel and his friends in a sequel? Could we possibly be using his tricks in 3D? I'm not entirely sure. With the ending given, perhaps this game is better off by itself. But with Capcom, you never know. When Trials and Tribulations came out, we all thought it was the end of Ace Attorney but soon we got Apollo Justice. Pherhaps we will see another Ghost Trick in the not-to-distant-future. Anyways, whether you're living or dead, I'm sure that you'll enjoy Ghost Trick. Although this game has come out late in the DS's life cylce, its proven that the handheld isn't dead yet and that it still has a few "tricks" up its sleeve. If you enjoy point-and-click puzzle games like Ace Attorney, Secret of Monkey Island, or Professor Layton, then I definatly recommend that you pick this one up.

Story: 9/10
Presentation: 10/10
Sound: 9/10
Lasting Appeal: 7/10
Overall: 9/10
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on October 8, 2014
Ghost Trick is an immensely fun game. I found myself having a hard time putting it down. You play the role of a ghost. You've just died *no spoilers* and have no idea who you are and why you were murdered (at a junkyard, no less). So you set off to solving the mystery of your death (with the guide of a desk lamp - I'm not kidding). Along the way, you save potential victims via Powers of the Dead. Not everyone possesses these powers, but you certainly do. While you can save others, you can't use your powers to save yourself (bummer - at least long enough to trim the cone-inspired hair 'do).

You can rewind four minutes prior to the victim's demise and find a way to alter their fate. You do so by possessing and manipulating inanimate objects. There's an hourglass and you must save the victim before time runs out. Honestly, I don't find myself enjoying a game if I must perform under a time-constraint (that's just me). But the game is forgiving in a way that lets you rewind time at any given time (without being penalized).

This game reminds me a lot of Tiny Thief and Limbo in terms of manipulating your environment. So if you liked those games, you'll like Ghost Trick.

The first chapter serves as a tutorial. At first, I was a bit overwhelmed (especially when I had to get used to the idea of being dead AND save a beautiful red-head from being murdered *no spoilers*), but by the end of the first chapter, I found the mechanics to be intuitive and a total breeze.

I bought this game while not knowing that it was produced by the same Phoenix Wright series' creators. The animation, colorful characters (I absolutely loved the heroic Pomeranian) and clever dialogue that I loved in the PW series translates quite seamlessly in Ghost Trick. While I loved PW in its entirety, I think Ghost Trick would appeal to people who didn't enjoy PW because it has a bit more gameplay. Granted, there's a lot of reading, but not quite as much as PW, in my humble opinion.

This is a trial and error type of game. You keep trying different solutions and techniques until you find the one that works. I recall trying different tactics over 8 times until I gave up and consulted a guide. I was a bit peeved because I performed that technique, but not in the same sequence. So the game's TOO linear. That said, don't let it put you off from buying it, because it is very fun and addicting.
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on February 7, 2011
First off, I have never played any of the Phoenix Wright games. I know about them but just have never played them. I also like puzzles. Now that that's out of the way...

I loved this game! I bought it during a sale and the only thing I knew about it was that it was what I read from the brief description. I knew nothing about who developed this game (other than it comes from Capcom. I hardly considered that this was a puzzle type game though I assumed as much from the description and title (tricks?!). This game was fun! The puzzles were actually not too hard but a few were a bit challenging. Just read the clues and try again and I didn't mind trying several times. I loved the characters. All of them! Part of me kept trying to hold off playing it as I knew it would eventually come to the end. I'm glad I made this purchase. It was definitely worth the price.

(4 Stars for fun?!)A downside is that I do wish some puzzles were harder (but I like trying to figure out things) and that we got to see more of the crazy characters that were introduced! Also, I felt like this was too short! Saving...when you save it didn't matter because you restarted from the beginning of that Time Frame (from which you save in the first place). Overall these did not hinder my entire experience though.

Buy if You:
Like puzzles
Like a good story
Don't mind reading and re-reading dialog
Want a short game that is a little challenging
Want to feel good about the game after you played it

Do not buy if You:)
Want to rush through this game
Do not care for the story line
Have no patience
Are not fun to be around
Cannot read (game won't be fun nor the same)
Don't like guys with sunglasses who wears them at night
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on February 19, 2012
I bought this game at the same time I bought 9 People 9 Doors 9 Hours (999). The storyline "Ghost Trick" was really interesting, and the "who dun it" aspect of it kept me playing until the end. The conclusion of the game is quite unexpected, and the game does a great job delivering the storyline and keeping you reading to find out what happens.
However, at times, the game is too scripted. As a result, some of the puzzles become less about figuring out the solution and more about just looking around you. This is sometime overcome when the game throws in a timing aspect to a puzzle. At these instances, these puzzles require an action to be done not only in the correct sequence, but also with the correct tempo.
The most frustrating part of the game (for me) was the time travel aspect of the story. When you really start to think about what happens when you travel back in time to change the outcome in the present, some aspects of the game begin to fall apart. However, if you just go with it and ignore the "but if this doesn't happen then I wouldn't have been here in the first place", the game is a lot of fun.
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on October 25, 2013
Superb. Emotional. Fantastic.

I simply cannot stop praising what I think is one of the best games I have ever played, and I have played quite my share of them. In the same vein of hits like Phoenix Wright (same creator) but with a wonderful, puzzle-centric ghost twist. What a game.

Do not miss out on it. When we support games like these, we encourage creativity and don't allow it to die.

Superb. Congrats, Capcom.
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on August 28, 2013
It's not often I rave about a game: I'm pretty picky (see my other reviews), however, this game was so addictive, in many ways. The art is unique, stylized, and well done. It reminds me of Street Fighter Alpha, a little over the top, however, I'm pretty sure the characters are 3D models, or I'm even more impressed with the quality and smoothness of the animations! The game play is simple and new, yet can get very complicated. Going from object to object, preforming single "tricks", at specific times to see how it affects the world, and other objects.

The details of animation and background, as well as interactive objects is great. Perhaps so much there to make up for the simple interface. At times you end up with a sort of Golberg-esc device, manipulating objects in a particular order to affect the change necessary to progress the story. And the story is very intriguing! It's a murder mystery, with a twist, that's deep, with many levels and minor stories that add to the whole picture. I regret rushing so fast through the story, to find out who dunit, and not taking the time to investigate each character better (such as reading their bios).

There really isn't much to Ghost Trick; it's as simple as it's name. You are a ghost, you can perform minor poltergeist-like tricks, however, with so many different objects you can perform tricks with, the puzzles become challenging. I hope for a sequel (if that is even possible with this type of game), where, perhaps, they give you more choices in solving puzzles. Most of the time, there really is only one way to complete a puzzle, having more choices would be great. Does this game deserve 5 stars? Again, I don't give that rating often, with this game I justify it because of the obvious quality in design and implementation, and, as a personal feel, it pushed me to look for more games with the same qualities it has.
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VINE VOICEon April 3, 2014
A very short while ago I watched a video that featured Ghost Trick briefly, and I fell in love with the graphic style of the game. After ordering it with some other DS games, for use on my 3DS XL, I decided that it would be the first of the batch that I would play, and therefore also one of the first games I had played on the system in months.

Throughout this game I found myself saying 'what a great game' aloud, after finding one thing or another that was amazing. While this is the first game of it's type that I think I've played, I don't believe it'll be the last.

A few of the puzzles I had difficulty with, and ended up consulting a guide for the solution, but I'm sure I would have figured them out, had I not been more interested in the story than my pride of completing it alone.

The story is definitely the strongest aspect of the game, although the art style and gameplay are not too far behind. With a few twists and turns, and a fantastic (and slightly tear-invoking) conclusion, Ghost Trick will stay with me for quite some time.

I can easily give Ghost Trick a full five of five stars.
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