Lets look at a game by Cashcom…I mean Capcom. Ghost Trick is one of those games that I never heard of and probably would never have found if I wasn’t looking around Amazon. Fortunately, I like to browse Amazon’s game selection quite a lot to find these hidden gems. Ghost Trick is one of those and I can safely say that it was worth the Swagbucks money. It’s one of the best mystery games on the block. Come to think of it, it may be the first pure mystery game that I’ve played. Sure, there’s Layton, but it’s usually a “fun” mystery where there isn’t any real danger. This one plays out like a mystery novel with plenty of twists and lethal stakes all around.
The plot follows a man named Sissel. He is mysteriously murdered one night and wakes up as a ghost. A mysterious lamp tells him that he is now a spirit who will fade away once dawn strikes. Sissel wants to find out how he died before that happens so the lamp advises him to save a young detective who is about to be murdered with his Ghost Tricks. Sissel has the ability to manipulate non living objects which is quite handy. He can also use telephone wires to travel from place to place. Finally, Sissel’s most important ability revolves around time. If he comes across a dead body, he can time travel to 5 minutes before his/her death so that he can prevent it. Naturally this doesn’t work on his own body and not every death can be prevented simply by manipulating objects. There’s only so much Sissel can do. Still, he needs to figure out what happened since he lost all of his memories by dying. Can he solve the mystery?
Ghost Trick is impressively long. There are 18 chapters in the game and most of them are of a good length. You’ll be playing this tale for quite a while and it’s engaging from start to finish. The story goes in many directions that I didn’t expect. Some of these additions are real game changers. I won’t even really go into the plot at all since the mystery is what makes the game so much fun. The cast gradually gets larger and larger even though it was initially quite small. Everyone that you meet during the game serves as pieces of the puzzle so there are no one shot characters. The credits even take time to show them all off with various epilogues. Most importantly, the cast is likable.
Sissel’s a heroic lead even if he can never admit to it. He always claims that he is just helping out so that he can remember his past, but he really can’t watch anyone die on his watch. He insists on saving everybody and gradually develops a bond with the people that he helps. In particular, he gets along best with Lynne and Missile. Lynne is a young detective who is always very cheerful and energetic. She dies multiple times during the game, but always takes it in stride and doesn’t mind being dead so much. Of course, dying isn’t as scary when you know that someone’s there to bring you back to life each time. Some of the ways that she dies can be a little funny like being squashed by a giant chicken. Hey, it happens to all of us I suppose.
Another big character is Jowd. He’s an example of a second half character as he doesn’t really do much until you’re at least at chapter 10, but quickly becomes a massive character. All I can really say about him is that he supposedly murdered his wife, but Lynne doesn’t believe this. She is working to prove his innocence, but it is tough since he keeps claiming that he is guilty. He’s a pretty good character even if I didn’t like him for most of the first half of the his screen time. He made a lot of the wrong decisions. There’s also Inspector Cabanela who had a pretty spiffy entrance whenever he’d appear. The guy was consistent, I’ll give him that. He never forget any part of the routine and used it every single time he appeared. He’s definitely a fun guy and he makes for a good rival. It’s always hard to guess what he’s thinking and he definitely dances to the beat of his own drum. That being said, he’s certainly very clever and someone you should keep an eye on.
Finally, there’s Missile. Missile is a dog who wanted to help her owner but couldn’t do much in her physical form. Sissel does get to talk to her once the place is ransacked and Missile is a casualty though. Missile is always upbeat and very helpful throughout the game. Missile even makes the hard call of staying dead a little longer so she can help out. She also has special abilities, one of which is that she can swap objects that look the same, at least from the direction she is viewing it from. It’s a pretty handy ability even if it is one that’s a little more specific than Sissel’s.
Yeah, that’s definitely all I’m going to touch upon with the characters and plot details. You’ll have to play the game to find out more. Meanwhile, I have to give the game a lot of props for the graphics. The sprites that the game uses were crafted very well. The characters appear to be very expressive throughout and the pictures are just at a very high quality. Just as impressive is the game’s soundtrack. There are a bunch of really catchy themes here and I dare say that it may have the best soundtrack in a DS game. That’s very bold so I’ll have to think about it a bit, but it may have earned that title. It’s just way ahead of its time and has good variety as well. It’s difficult to overcome such a combo.
I can’t forget to talk about the gameplay! Each level is effectively a puzzle and it’s sort of a point and click game. As I mentioned, you move around by possessing objects in ghost mode. From there, you go to normal mode and activate the object if you want too. That is the crux of the gameplay. Each level has several objects to possess though and the villains will do all they can to keep the murder going. You have to use strategy to know when and how to use your ghost abilities. This gets more complicated as the levels go on and you have to use new abilities. The game does give you hints though and you can keep rewinding time as often as you need too until you figure out what to do. It’s not a hard game in that sense since you can just try everything out until it works, but you do need to pay attention so you can understand the timing. After all, you could pick the right option but do it too soon or too late. The gameplay’s not super thrilling or anything, but this is one of those times where the plot picks up the slack. Furthermore, it is very unique so that’s certainly a positive.
Overall, Ghost Trick is a fantastic game. It’s a pure mystery through and through. There is no replay value here as completing the game leaves nothing more to do. Still, it’s a long game and one that will grab your attention. With the solid soundtrack and graphics behind it, the story can really shine through. The story never really dropped the ball either. I was maybe not too impressed with the final revelations on who the men in blue were, but it was worth it for other twists. Either way, their design was awesome. Also, watch out for the comet cutscene, it’s easily one of the most impressive moments that I’ve seen in the DS. I highly recommend buying this game ASAP, you don’t know what you’re missing.