Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is the definition of a cult classic. Being released back in 2010 on the Nintendo DS, the cramped screen and fuzzy-looking textures didn’t exactly capture my attention. But I was always intrigued by the art style and gameplay, especially after I had just finished the original Ace Attorney trilogy.
Now with this HD version on the market, all the action has been upscaled to a wider and singular screen, rendering the graphics crystal clear and making Ghost Trick more approachable for modern audiences. Meanwhile, veterans can appreciate an even better-sounding OST, upgraded visuals, a puzzle mode from the iOS version, an unlockable art and sound gallery where they can A&B between the original and arranged tunes, plus extra gameplay challenges that they can add to their trophy cabinet. An enticing package, I’ll say.
A Soul That Cannot Rest
For those who’ve never touched this title before, what is it about? Well, Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is a unique and captivating puzzle-adventure game that takes players on a supernatural, yet very bizarre journey. After waking up in the afterlife, the lead character, Sissel begins suffering from amnesia and is only given a single night to unravel the mysteries surrounding his own death. Through his ghostly abilities, he must unravel the secrets of the past and alter the fates of various characters, ultimately piecing together the truth behind a tangled web of events. Our banana-haired protagonist and his ability to “ghost trick” lets players manipulate things in the environment and possess various items to influence dire events from happening. Each of the 18 chapters presents a unique set of challenges that require quick thinking and logical reasoning to manoeuvre around the game’s snazzy, noir-themed locales.
The 2D gameplay is both innovative and addictive, as Sissel’s ability to “ghost trick” opens up a myriad of progressively increasing challenges that almost always provide a titanic dopamine rush whenever that “Aha!” moment kicks in. Since Sissel can only rotate his soul from one object to another, in a limited 360° diameter (sounds ridiculous, I know) players need to interact with different things like rolling a car wheel down a slope to reach a previously unreachable area, or shaking a flagpole to prevent something from falling. As time stops when Sissel is moving between objects, this gives players an opportunity to mull over their next move, but they will have to let the clock run between movements to see how their choices have affected certain characters and their surroundings. Sissel can rewind time to a specific point if something was missed and he’s also given an extra power later on in the game which adds another layer of complexity into the mix. I won’t explain what it is for spoiler’s sake, however.
While Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective offers an entirely unique puzzle-solving experience, it is not without a few minor flaws. Several sections may feel overly complicated compared to others, occasionally requiring some furious, headbanging trial and error to find the correct solution. Plus, I wish there was a real time fast forward and rewind mechanic, rather than just a simple checkpoint system. Because if players take the wrong route or make a mistake, they’ll occasionally have to wait 30 seconds or more to restart the same section. Something which gets mega frustrating over Ghost Trick’s 12-hour runtime.
This Seems Familiar…
One of the standout features of Ghost Trick is its captivating storytelling. The game’s narrative has a magnificent pace to it which helps to keep players on the edge of their seats. And as Sissel interacts with other spirits and characters, the story unfolds with a steady stream of surprising twists and turns, ensuring a constant sense of anticipation throughout. The writing is also sharp and witty, infused with the humour and whimsy of the Ace Attorney series that adds an extremely charming depth to the characters and their interactions. Their animations are beautifully animated too, and their flamboyant movements can now finally be appreciated in HD, rather than looking like jaggy pixels jiggling around on the Nintendo DS.
The same level of care has been applied to the arranged soundtrack. When it comes to remastering beloved tunes from fan favourites, it can be quite hit-and-miss in the way they’ll be received. With Ghost Trick’s soundtrack however, the difference between the original and the arranged versions are night and day. Each tune is so much more cleaner and vibrant with better EQ, mixing and fuller-sounding instrumentation which long-time fans will no doubt adore. Be sure to A&B the original and arranged versions in the gallery to see what I mean—such a glow-up!
Created by Shu Takumi, the director of the Ace Attorney series, Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is a hidden gem in the world of puzzle-adventure games. Its innovative gameplay mechanics, engaging storyline and stunning visuals combine to create an experience that will captivate players from start to finish. Despite its shortcomings, the game’s unique concepts and well-crafted execution make it a must-play for fans of mystery and puzzle-solving genres alike. Prepare to be enthralled by the supernatural world of Ghost Trick and embark on a journey like no other.
By Anthony Culinas – Reviewed on PC
Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective offers a refreshing twist on the mystery genre, blending intricate puzzles, compelling storytelling and a charming cast of characters that will keep the audience hooked from start to finish. Couple all that with extra puzzles from the iOS version, HD upgraded visuals and a now even better-sounding OST, and you’ve got a spectacular time on your hands. Ace Attorney fans, in particular, will very much enjoy it.
This game was reviewed using a download code provided by Capcom. The Beta Network uses affiliate partnerships, however, this does not influence reviews or any other content published. The Beta Network may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links that are on the website.
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