What They Say:
Solve your own murder in this quirky, puzzle-packed mystery classic, now in HD!
BANG! A single bullet rings out in the dark city. But as one life ends, the story is just getting started… Sissel wakes up as a ghost and realizes he has lost his memory along with his life. “Who am I? Who killed me? And why?” With only a few hours until sunrise — and oblivion — to uncover these answers, Sissel must solve the mystery of his own murder, starting with the detective who may have witnessed the crime… Using the powers of the dead, you can possess and manipulate objects and even rewind time as you work to solve brainteasing puzzles in a story chock-full of quirky humor and charming characters.
This long-awaited HD remaster of Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective, the classic mystery puzzle game directed by Shu Takumi, creator of the Ace Attorney series, features upgraded visuals and sound. Enjoy new music arrangements by celebrated Great Ace Attorney composer Yasumasa Kitagawa which are fully synchronized with the original music so you can switch between them at any time during gameplay. There’s also a new gallery of artwork and music. This is no trick: it’s the ultimate version of this puzzle-solving mystery adventure classic!
Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is Capcom’s unique puzzle adventure game. The critically acclaimed game was released all the way back in 2011 exclusively for the Nintendo DS to a niche fan base. Now in 2023, Capcom has decided to remaster it to for newer platforms. After spending hours with the game and its engaging puzzles, I can confidently say that it’s one of the best puzzle games I’ve played in a while, but one that still could’ve been improved in many ways.
Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective follows a Sissel, who wakes up to find out that he’s been killed, his corpse lying beside him, and a hitman standing over it. He also doesn’t recall anything about his life or identity. Luckily, he encounters another friendly ghost possessing a desk lamp who briefs him on his current situation, teaches him about his powers to possess and manipulate items, and also informs him that at the end of the night, he will pass on forever. However, before then, the ghost decides to take this opportunity to figure out why he was killed, who exactly killed him, and the true nature to the mysterious circumstances surrounding his murder. The first step in doing so will be to use his powers to save a woman about to be killed by the same hitman who seemingly killed him.
While simple, Ghost Trick’s narrative is incredibly amusing, and the characters seen in the game are all endearing in their own way. From the enigmatic detective Lynne to the eccentric missile-loving Pomeranian, the characters are lovable, well-developed, and bring life to the rich narrative. A lot of them have their own quirks and personalities be it quirky, ditzy, or serious. The character behaviors are also very reminiscent of other characters seen in older retro games common in the original game’s era. The game’s story also hooks the player by presenting its main characters and an intriguing concept but keeps them playing with a promise of an excellent mystery to solve. The story is filled with unexpected twists and turns, keeping players on the edge of their seats as they uncover the truth piece by piece.
Gameplay starts by teaching players the ins and outs of the game and its environmental puzzles. Every stage basically presents a problem to be solved. Each stage will first present the scenario before the moment of danger occurs and then plunges the player 4 minutes before said moment in order to find out how to change a character’s fate. This means players are given a specific time limit to clear the level, which usually involves possessing and manipulating environmental objects to change the scenario’s outcome. The difficulty in this is finding out what is to possess, when to possess it, and how to control items in the required order.
The game’s mechanics are intuitive and easy to grasp, allowing players to quickly adapt to the supernatural powers at their disposal. Each level presents a unique set of challenges, and the process of unraveling a complex puzzle and witnessing the impact of your actions is always satisfying .
For example, the first chapter will task players to save a character in a landfill filled with several interactable objects, so players will have to possess, manipulate, and move from object to object to stop the pursuer and prevent a character’s death. The game’s puzzles are always highly creative, with each subsequent level offering more creative ways of solving scenarios. However, as a result, levels progressively get more challenging. While that wasn’t much of a surprise, it was surprisingly significantly more satisfying to solve than the first, especially as clearing a level can be incredibly quick once you figure out how to solve it, which always felt satisfying.
What is disappointing, however, is that the game doesn’t have a checkpoint system in the menu, as players can only save and load one manual save. If you aren’t satisfied with where you saved, you’ll either have to wait till you fail and are then presented with the option to load a checkpoint or start the level from the very start, which is painful.
Besides that, the Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective’s remaster is an improvement on the original game in almost every way. Character and object models are no longer pixelated and are now incredibly crisp and attractive with a lot of depth, making them look almost 3D. Character motions and animations are also extremely smooth and precise, and the game sports a stellar art direction with incredibly detailed backgrounds and superb designs. The character designs are quirky and memorable, and the animations are fluid and full of personality. The attention to detail in each scene is commendable, immersing players in the game’s captivating atmosphere. Moreover, the game’s rearranged soundtrack sounds terrific while still being similar to the original soundtrack. Players can also switch between the new and old soundtracks if they prefer to keep the nostalgia vibes pure.
Overall, while the game still has some archaic elements, playing the Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective remaster was a pleasant experience in almost every way. The game sports captivating storytelling, engaging puzzles, and impeccably remastered visuals. Its gripping narrative, well-developed characters, and unique gameplay mechanics make it a standout title in the puzzle-adventure genre. So if you’re a fan of mystery and puzzles, Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is a must-play experience that will keep you enthralled from beginning to end.
Age Rating: Teen
Release Date: June 30, 2023
Platform: PC (Reviewed), PS4, Xbox One, Mobile, Nintendo Switch
This review was done with a review copy provided by the publisher. We are grateful for their continued support.