Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective finally finds its way to the sunny shores of Xbox bay. First released in 2011 for the Nintendo DS, Ghost Trick is ready to haunt the good players of Xbox (and those other systems). Coming from the genius minds behind Capcom’s Ace Attorney and Phoenix Wright franchises, gives the game some instant street cred. Is this a must play, or a one (ghost) trick pony?
I was pleasantly surprised at the reveal for the Ghost Trick remaster coming to Xbox. It was a game I had thought looked neat, but was constantly on my “get to it one day” pile. Bringing the game to new platforms over a decade from first release is a bold move, especially when there is no announced sequel at the time of writing. So let’s dive in and see what it has to offer with this remaster for current gen consoles.
Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is primarily an adventure style game; one that is hidden behind almost traditional point and click mechanics. You play as Sissel, a ghost who cannot remember much about what has happened. That in turn sets up the entire story as you must investigate the mystery behind your own death. Being “previously living” grants Sissel some cool powers, which opens up some neat gameplay mechanics.
Throughout the story you (as Sissel) can possess dead bodies – gross I know. What this allows Sissel to do is return to a few minutes before that corpse’s death and try to change the outcome; the death. A lovely sounding game already, right?
Luckily Ghost Trick isn’t actually that gruesome and uses the mechanic to make for an intriguing puzzle or three. See it isn’t just bodies that you can possess, and you can also take control of objects around the screen, trying to move, manipulate and change the events surrounding each death. It’s wacky, it’s crazy, but it’s also much fun. The dialogue in the game is genuinely witty and I looked forward to meeting each new character to see what their personality was like.
The gameplay is equally as fun and can be quite a brain tease thanks to the enforced time limit for each possession. Sissel only gets control for four real time minutes before he must leave whatever he has possessed. Luckily a timer at the side of the screen will help you keep track of time as it runs out. I never really had an issue running out of time for the most part, but there are some tricker moments in later parts of Phantom Detective that come very close to taking the allotted time. Each wrong move will cost precious seconds, but the game is never so unfair that multiple restarts will be required. That said, there is an element of trial and error in some of the puzzles, which some players may not enjoy.
Graphically and Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is quite unique. The remaster has been run through Capcom’s versatile RE Engine, however for a game such as this, it may be a bit overkill. The original game still stands up graphically to this day with its comic book-esque stylings and static backgrounds. This is not a slant by any means on the graphical style, I think it looks really great, it’s just a shame it couldn’t have been stretched out to 16:9, as I hate borders at the side of games.
In this remaster, the soundtrack from the original by Masakazu Sugimori has been newly arranged for this release. Heading into the extra menu on the title screen allows you to listen to the full soundtrack in both original and arranged versions. I do really like the new versions of these songs, enjoying the little nuances that have been added, helping make them sound a lot more bold. Definitely check out both versions of the music for yourself!
There is also an art gallery in the extras menu allowing you to view snapshots from sections of the game. I never pay much heed to art galleries in any game, but for fans of those – this has one too. You will also find a set of challenges to try and beat, ranging from simply beating chapters to trickier ones like not dying while changing a fate. There is nothing revolutionary, but an extra something for those wanting more after the main story is over. You can also play the Ghost Puzzle mini game after beating the main story which will unlock unique illustrations by solving puzzles.
All in, Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is a fantastic time to be had for all. Not necessarily a full blown remake, this is a nice remaster with a wonderful newly arranged soundtrack to boot. Fans of Ace Attorney, Phoenix Wright, or the like will want to check this one out, especially if they are looking for something a little different.
Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective should take most players around fifteen hours to beat, more if there is a need to try and complete specific challenges. But even then the game definitely doesn’t outstay its welcome.
Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is special – a game that needs to be experienced by all at least once, it is one of the finest puzzle games you will ever play.