Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective on the Nintendo DS has solid gameplay

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews
  • Buy Now
Capcom Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
  • Capcom Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
  • Capcom Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
  • Capcom Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • Interesting story, excellent animation, well-localised dialogue is actually funny

Cons

  • Some levels involve more waiting than puzzling, cutscenes are unskippable, story gets preachy toward the end

Bottom Line

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is a quirky adventure-puzzler from Capcom luminary Shu Takumi that boasts a charming sense of humour and a unique, if sometimes frustratingly implemented, gameplay gimmick.

Would you buy this?

  • Price

    TBA (AUD)

Calling do-overs is usually the last resort of a sore loser, but the main character in Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective has plenty to be sore about in only the first three minutes of gameplay: Shot dead in a junkyard for reasons unknown, with absolutely no memories to clue him in.

Fortunately, Sissel (who doesn't remember his real name, either) has the mystical power to call "do-overs" in a way that takes him back four minutes in time before a person's death. Using magical "ghost trick" powers in the past, he can possess objects and manipulate them in a way that off-sets the chain of events leading to a person's untimely end. The only problem is, he cannot work his own magic on himself -- and nearly everyone he comes into contact with over the course of the game winds up dead at one point or another in connection with some big mystery that ultimately lies at the heart of his own death.

The premise sounds silly -- especially if you try to articulate it to somebody on public transit who asks you what the game is "about" -- but once the story gets going, Ghost Trick gets pretty exciting, and the solid gameplay backs it up. Each "chapter" involves one to three "ghost trick" puzzles where Sissel must move objects in order to reach an objective or trigger an event that reveals another tantalising clue, plus several explanatory cutscenes introducing him to new characters in the plot. Nearly everyone Sissel meets is somehow a part of the big mystery, and most of them have well-written dialogue that keeps things interesting -- even when you have to repeat a puzzle or six.

That's the thing about calling do-overs: you usually have to repeat yourself. Many of the more advanced puzzles in Ghost Trick after about Chapter 5 require you to either fail completely or come right down to the wire to find the right timing of events in order for Sissel to execute a life-saving ghost trick. Even then, an early mistake in your puzzle-solving might blow an entire sequence of events and you'll have to hit the hourglass icon to reset the puzzle back to the beginning -- which gets old if you've worked yourself into the same dead end of a puzzle more than twice. This is probably Ghost Trick's worst weakness: Unlike the Phoenix Wright games where you can rely on the process of elimination, or the Professor Layton games where you can pay for clues, Ghost Trick puzzles have only one solution -- and until you find it, you're doomed to fail a puzzle over and over again.

For example, a life-saving puzzle late in the game forces you to sit through all four minutes of a dialogue-heavy sequence and doesn't offer you a way to solve the puzzle until the final second -- which you might miss because when the scenario timer started flashing "3-2-1," you hit the hourglass icon before it got to "0," which is where the game finally offers you the solution. Patience isn't a virtue we associate with gamers, but Ghost Trick expects you to have plenty of it.

Fortunately, the game only has about three hair-pulling puzzles where you might find yourself rage-quitting (remember to save before you do; skipping cutscenes isn't an option), and if the mystery hooks you like it hooked me, you'll stick around until you figure them out. The conclusion the plot hurtles toward you may not be one you saw coming (I didn't), but the satisfaction of getting there cancels out all the tufts of hair you ripped out along the way working out the tougher puzzles.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Read more on these topics: games, ds games, nintendo ds
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?