If At First You Don’t Succeed, Die And Try Again
HIGH An amazing cast of colorful characters in one massive mystery.
LOW That this game did not get ported or remastered sooner!
WTF All the crazy plot twists.
Ghost Trick was originally developed for the Nintendo DS and directed by Shu Takumi, who also directed many entries in the Ace Attorney series. In Ghost Trick, players take control of a recently-deceased spirit by the name of Sissel. Players will use his supernatural powers to navigate the 2D world, solve puzzles, and uncover plenty of secrets along the way.
The game’s titular powers come from the two major aspects of play — to ‘ghost’ (players can possess an object by moving into it) and to ‘trick’ (players can manipulate the object they currently possess). These powers mean that Sissel is essentially a poltergeist, although not a powerful one.
In fact, he has a lot of limitations, including things like how far he can move between objects, or that each object has only one specific action — if any, at all. A lamp, for example, might only be able to switch on or off.
Learning how to use these powers while keeping their limits in mind is the challenge at hand, and this setup lends itself to many unique situations throughout the story. The situations also (usually) involve saving someone’s life via one of Sissel’s other abilities — going back four minutes before a person’s death and changing the past.
After saving a life, Sissel is able to communicate with these ‘former’ spirits, which leads to plenty of comical (or sometimes, gravely serious!) encounters with the large and colorful cast of characters. I always enjoyed seeing these interactions as the story went on, from the fiery young detective to her stern mentor, or some very off-putting foreign assassins. Many are flamboyant or over-the-top, but they all possess details that humanize them, and their individual stories coalesce into the greater mystery surrounding Sissel’s death.
Without spoiling anything, this story ties the entire experience together, and it’s so good that it stuck with me years after playing the original DS version. Being able to go through it again was just as enjoyable, and the many twists and turns in Sissel’s path make for a compelling narrative that many still rave about to this day.
The music also deserves a mention, with multiple tracks still playing in my head as I write this review. Not only does the remaster introduce new arrangements and one new song, but also includes the original renditions as options for those who prefer the digitized aesthetic. As a bonus, all of the artistic assets can be viewed or listened to in a gallery that becomes available after completing certain goals.
Ghost Trick is a game where every fantastic detail comes together to make something even greater than the sum of its parts — and those parts are plenty great on their own. This is an experience worth checking out for just about anyone, and with a modest price tag and a free demo, there’s absolutely no excuse to pass.
Rating: 9.5 / 10
Disclosures: This game is developed and published by Capcom. This game is available on Switch, XBO/X/S, PS4/5 and PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PS4. Approximately 12 hours of play were devoted to the single player mode. There is no multiplayer mode.
Parents: This game was rated T for Teen by the ESRB due to mild language and mild violence. The official description reads: This is a puzzle-adventure game in which players “rewind” time and work to reverse murders by changing the course of events leading to each kill. Players manipulate objects such as wrecking balls and chandeliers to thwart murders’ plans. During the course of the game, characters are seen getting shot, crushed, and impaled to death. The storyline includes frequent references to murder. The words “damn” and “hell” appear in the dialogue.
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: This game offers subtitles. (See examples above.) Subtitles are not able to be resized or altered. Sound cues are not required for play. This title is fully accessible.
Remappable Controls: No, this game’s controls are not remappable. There is no control diagram. The game is mainly controlled via joystick and different selections are made using various buttons (generally displayed on-screen during gameplay).