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Ghost Trick review

Spooktacular mystery from the creator of Ace Attorney

As the creator of the Ace Attorney games, Shu Takumi has developed a cult following from gamers who love his complex mysteries, twist-filled cases and often hilarious dialogue. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is his attempt at trying something else, and the result is a game that feels different to the Ace Attorney games but still manages to retain a similar sense of humour and a complex storyline.

Your character Sissel is lying dead in a junkyard yet despite his death Sissel can still hear his own thoughts even though he's lost his memory and has no idea who he is or what's going on. Suddenly, he hears another voice talking in his head. This is the voice of Ray, who appears to be a ghost trapped in the body of a desk light. Ray explains that not only is Sissel dead, he also has special powers called 'Ghosting' and 'Tricks'.

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A Ghost Of A Chance

Ghosting allows Sissel's soul to possess any inanimate object he chooses, as long as he's close enough to hop over to it. Many of the objects Sissel can possess can also be Tricked, meaning he can make them perform an action. Whether it's extending a ladder or turning a light on, Tricking lets Sissel continue to have an impact on the surroundings around him despite having snuffed it.

If Sissel possesses and Tricks a corpse (except his), he has the power to turn back time to four minutes before their death occurred, giving him time to try to change things. Having done this, Sissel is told that his soul can only live for one day, and that by the next morning his consciousness will no longer exist. He decides that before that happens he's going to find out exactly who he is, who shot him and why, so that his soul can rest in peace.

It's an interesting story and one that only continues to get more intriguing as the game progresses through its 18 chapters. You'll encounter many secret identities, wrongful accusations and mysterious secrets long before the final, touching climax. We're absolutely sure you won't see the ending coming either.

In order to get there though, you'll have to solve some fiendish puzzles. The first truly difficult one, involving a mechanical murder machine, will have you scratching your head until you eventually crack it, with pleasing results.

Familiar Feeling

Ghost Trick looks original but this is still an Ace Attorney game at its core. It's split into two types of gameplay: exploration scenes and puzzle scenes. Each time Sissel finds a corpse a puzzle starts where you have to go back to four minutes before they died and try to manipulate events to change history and prevent their death. While these can be incredibly clever, each death scene is essentially the same as the Testimony sections in the Phoenix Wright games: you repeat them over and over again with Sissel speaking out whenever he feels something's been missed. When you finally figure out the one thing the game wants you to do, the puzzle proceeds.

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Despite this, it has a visuals style all of its own. The animation is incredible and offers some of the best 'acting' we've seen in a game. This gives personality to each character before they even say a word, and is a huge improvement over Takumi's previous games.

The only real problem is that you'll more or less be doing the same sort of thing over and over for the 10-12 hours it'll take you to finish the game. Have a chat, move around the room, move some things around, find a body, solve a puzzle to save their life, and repeat. If you're a fan of the Ace Attorney games you should already be used to this so it shouldn't be a problem. If you're on the lookout for a puzzle game that has a gripping story, a funny script and a cast of colourful characters that offers something a little different, Ghost Trick is a resounding success.

This is an edited version of a review that appears in the January issue of Official Nintendo Magazine which is on sale now. For more in-depth analysis, screenshots and boxouts buy the magazine here.

Want to see Ghost Trick in action? Watch this Ghost Trick trailer.

Comments

26 comments so far...
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  1. imbusydoctorwho Thursday 13th Jan 2011 at 15:32

    I really want this game.
    But will Tesco sell it? Please answer.

  2. MarioMagic Thursday 13th Jan 2011 at 15:32

    I'm sold. :)
    It seems very interesting and my type of thing.

  3. Emperor Evil Thursday 13th Jan 2011 at 16:20

    Can't wait to get this!

  4. Mart2006 Thursday 13th Jan 2011 at 16:27

    Is this the first review of the year?

    I might be slightly interested in this if it wasn't for the 3DS. Hopefully, I won't feel the same way about Pokémon Black/White.

  5. Ai64 Thursday 13th Jan 2011 at 16:39

    Impressive. A great start for DS games this year. :)

  6. MrChewtoy Thursday 13th Jan 2011 at 17:12

    Just completed Phoenix Wright the other day, absolutely loved it, so I am looking forward to getting this :D

  7. LaytonMario3 Thursday 13th Jan 2011 at 17:44

    Not sold, but this is 2011's first game worth buying. Maybe I'll ask for it for my 14th birthday...

  8. fisher2007 Thursday 13th Jan 2011 at 22:01

    buying the game tomorrow can't wait and i enjoy the demo.

  9. Phoenix Wright Thursday 13th Jan 2011 at 22:01

    Is this the first review of the year?

    I might be slightly interested in this if it wasn't for the 3DS. Hopefully, I won't feel the same way about Pokémon Black/White.

    It's not for the 3DS.

  10. imbusydoctorwho Thursday 13th Jan 2011 at 22:07

    I showed my Mum the Demo tonight and she loved it.

  11. Turbo Blooper Friday 14th Jan 2011 at 17:28

    I hope my mum'll get me this, I'm a HUGEE fan of the Ace Attorney series and this looks fantastic! If she says no, I'll see if I can change her mind after she's played the demo :lol:

  12. master dingley Friday 14th Jan 2011 at 18:29

    Just bought this, not started but I'm very excited to do so.
    I just hope it can live up to the expectations that Ace Attorney have set for it :P

  13. Emperor Evil Saturday 15th Jan 2011 at 14:51

    My Mom's just ordered it for me off Play.com!

    Woo-hoo!

  14. Mahzes Saturday 15th Jan 2011 at 15:26

    Had an absolute nightmare trying to get hold of this game. Almost nowhere seems to stock it at all. :/

  15. imbusydoctorwho Sunday 16th Jan 2011 at 00:05

    Had an absolute nightmare trying to get hold of this game. Almost nowhere seems to stock it at all. :/

    Try Tesco Ł24 is pretty cheap for it.

  16. SBM Sunday 16th Jan 2011 at 18:15

    bought the game on friday, didn't put it down til i finished it yesterday (a good 20 hours at least)

    brilliant game, and i'd suggest it to anyone who is a fan of either phoenix wright and professor layton
    story is amazing

  17. zapper01 Sunday 16th Jan 2011 at 18:39

    This game is brilliant, and I haven't got that far into it, so it may get better before the end. I hope it sells well and I hope there is a sequel, this game really has potential.

  18. Mikeman368 Monday 17th Jan 2011 at 15:49

    Finally! I have completed Ghost Trick in less than 10 hours! Oh the tragic storyline, piercing my saddened heart!!! You won't find any spoilers here, though!!!! :)

  19. layton lover Monday 17th Jan 2011 at 16:01

    I'm really tempted to get this, but monies tight, and i need a 3DS.

  20. DarkDeoxys Monday 17th Jan 2011 at 21:19

    a brilliant game, i really enjoy the ace attorny game series and played the demo on the nintendo channel. i bought the game on friday and compleated it at around 10-11 hours. i must say the storyline was brillaint, the characters are wacky :D

  21. Shinnos Thursday 20th Jan 2011 at 17:45

    Got this the other day. Really enjoying it, the characters and dialogue are funny and the animation and art style is amazing! So far it hasn't really proven much of a challenge, but I'm engrossed in the story so haven't really minded too much. Think your review is spot on.

  22. zapper01 Thursday 20th Jan 2011 at 18:03

    This game deserves a gold award. I did not find it repetitive at all. The only downside is that it's not as fun on the second play through, but Professor layton is the same. The graphics, story, gameplay and music are brilliant. What more could you ask for in a game?

  23. Imperfect_Dark Sunday 23rd Jan 2011 at 09:50

    Awesome. Might have to get this :D

  24. Captain Kuchiki Thursday 24th Mar 2011 at 12:43

    I brought this time, and after a week or two, completed it. I have to say, this game's best point has to be the story; perhaps it would have been better as a book or a movie!

    We're absolutely sure you won't see the ending coming either.


    Definitely agree! I thought I had the story all figured out at Chapter 15; then the last few chapters came along and...a mix of "wow" and "wth?" - fantastic.

    I agree with the gameplay; although, some of the puzzles can be a bit too puzzling; a few more in-game hints could have helped. Although, with the repetitive gameplay, I think the story eclipsed that quite well; although, a bit of variety could have gone a long way.

    I'd probably have put it closer to 88/89%; it only needed a little bit more to deserve a 90%+.

  25. RTY1998 Thursday 21st Jul 2011 at 14:58

    Ace Attorney with a ghost. What more could you want? Worthy of a gold award!

  26. Rae Broom Thursday 21st Jul 2011 at 22:21

    :D one of the best games i have ever played! I dont feel like playing another one now, the story was amazing, it was really thought out! whoever doesnt have this game has to get it, i never guessed the ending either....what a story!

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