Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective Preview – A Thankful Second-Chance

For as much of a goliath as Capcom is nowadays with its Resident Evils and Monster Hunters, the developer has a slew of underrated and overlooked classics that deserve a second chance. One such game is Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective, a DS mystery adventure from the mind of Shu Takumi, more widely known as the creator of the Ace Attorney franchise. The title’s initial 2010 launch eventually amassed a dedicated cult following. Still, it was definitely a slow burn, and sales figures weren’t too kind to it.

So, with Ghost Trick now receiving a modernized release on all platforms, it’s the perfect time to either revisit this fascinating mystery adventure or experience it for the first time. The story follows an initially nameless protagonist who discovers himself dead after seeing his corpse in a rather sad position.

However, some unexpected traits coat his now ghostly existence. For one, he has a case of amnesia, not remembering who he was, including his name. Second, an unknown being which has also passed on resides within a lamp post and informs him that he possesses supernatural abilities. Notably, he can manipulate inorganic objects and travel back in time four minutes before someone’s death.

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The main character decides to use these skills to save the life of a nearby woman, Lynne, who was shot by a mysterious assassin. Ghost Trick wastes no time introducing players to the bizarre circumstances surrounding the protagonist, and it helps make him endearing.

Despite his circumstances making the prospect of helping others and learning more about himself seem meaningless, he takes it all in relative stride. Plus, he supposedly only has this night to complete his tasks before he completely passes on. He embodies a sort of resigned acceptance of his fate that makes his yearning for the truth all the more unique.

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Gameplay-wise, Ghost Trick primarily features timed puzzles based on logic. The main character’s core can inhabit objects, but it’s not all-powerful, meaning its range depends on the reach of the object you currently reside in. Essentially, while goals contextually differ, you have to consider how to alter the events leading to someone’s death based on your position relative to them and the impactful facets of the environment. It’s a pretty thought-provoking gameplay basis that keeps tension high, thanks to the occasional time limits.

While the Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective demo only features the beginning hours, it provides an excellent introduction to its clever puzzle designs and overall charm. The writing and character relationships still hold up, giving this niche entry in the Capcom catalog another chance in the spotlight.

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There’s almost too much to say about the experience that would lean into the realm of revealing too much, so let’s leave it at this: Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is for fans of detective mysteries and unique gameplay experiences. Check it out; you won’t be disappointed.

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective will launch for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC via Steam on June 30, 2023.

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Orpheus Joshua

Random gamer equally confused by the mainstream and the unusual.