Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
|Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective|
North American box art
|Release date(s)||Nintendo DS
Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective (ゴースト トリック Gōsuto Torikku?) is an adventure game developed by Capcom for the Nintendo DS and iOS. Ghost Trick's story centers on the protagonist Sissel, and his ghost's struggle to discover who he was when he was alive and who killed him. The player assumes the role of this ghost, who has the ability to perform various Ghost Tricks to solve puzzles and navigate the world around him.
The lead development was handled by Shu Takumi, creator of the Ace Attorney franchise. The game is published by Capcom and was released for the Nintendo DS in Japan on June 19, 2010, in North America on January 11, 2011, and in Europe on January 14, 2011. A version for iOS was released in Japan on December 16, 2010 and the rest of the world on February 2, 2012.
Ghost Trick is an adventure game in which players control Sissel, a ghost that must use his powers to save lives. During gameplay segments, players can swap at will between the Land of the Living, where time flows naturally, and the Ghost World, in which time is stopped. In the Ghost World, Sissel can travel between objects within a certain radius. These objects are represented by blue cores, and in the Land of the Living, Sissel can animate these objects to perform actions, known as "Ghost Tricks", that open new paths or influence the characters around him. For example, moving a tray of donuts will prompt a character to change where he or she is currently seated, as well as giving Sissel access to new areas.
Much of the plot is driven by Sissel's ability to possess corpses. When he does this, he can return to the time four minutes before the corpse's death. In these four minutes, Sissel can attempt to use his Ghost Tricks to alter the situation, and ultimately change the future by saving the person's life. He can also communicate with the ghost of whomever he is saving, but only if the ghost is conscious. If the player fails to save the victim in time, he may choose to go back to the beginning of the four minutes, or return to a checkpoint created when the player manages to alter fate a little. Later in the game, players can switch control to Missile, the ghost of a small dog. Missile's spirit has a longer reach than Sissel, and has the ability to swap the position of two objects that are of the same shape. The majority of Ghost Trick's gameplay segments consist of the puzzles that make up these scenarios.
The game begins with Sissel, a spirit, coming to consciousness without any memories of his past but his name and his dead body lying before him in the middle of a junkyard. He witnesses the death of a young detective Lynne at the hands of an assassin, but another spirit, calling itself Ray, instructs Sissel how he can use "Ghost Tricks" to go back four minutes before a person's death and occupy various objects as to avoid that death. Sissel uses Ray's advice to save Lynne's life. Ray warns Sissel that his soul will disappear at dawn, and Sissel decides to stay with Lynne to discover why he was killed even after seeing security footage that showed Lynne shooting him, while Lynne learns that she is presently under suspicion for murdering Sissel.
Sissel continues to help to prevent attacks on Lynne with his Ghost Tricks. Lynne returns to her apartment, where Sissel meets Kamila, Lynne's adoptive sister, and their dog Missile. Lynne asks Sissel to try to save Jowd, Kamila's father and a former detective, due to be executed for the apparent murder of his wife. Sissel is able to delay the execution, but Kamila is kidnapped during this event by members of the same foreign agency that arranged for Jowd's execution led by Sith. As Sissel goes to rescue Kamila, he finds that Missile is now also a ghost, having died while trying to protect Kamila, and also possesses Ghost Tricks. Together they free Kamila. Sissel learns of a "manipulator" spirit that has been affecting present events and was the one that caused the death of Kamila's mother. They find the manipulator spirit using Sissel's body, and learn that the spirit's name is Yomiel, who was killed by a meteorite fragment ten years prior, giving his spirit similar Ghost Tricks.
Yomiel lures Sissel, Jowd, Lynne, and Missile onto on of Sith's submarines, and attempts to use Kamila's body to kill Lynne, but Sith betrays him, dispelling the spirit from Sissel's body and taking the meteorite shard still buried within it and then purposely sinks the submarine. Sissel and Missile are able to rescue Lynne and Kamila, and corner Yomiel's spirit, forcing him to reveal the truth. Yomiel explains that ten years prior, he was also a detective but accused of being a spy by Jowd. He was able to escape by kidnapping Lynne before he was struck by the meteor. Finding himself a spirit, Yomiel uses his new Ghost Tricks to recover his body, but found too late that his lover had killed herself after hearing of his death. Yomiel sought revenge on Jowd by making a deal with Sith's organization in exchange for the meteorite fragment, and framed Kamila for the death of Jowd's wife, which Jowd took responsibility for. In the present, Yomiel furthered this revenge by manipulating Lynne to shoot Sissel's body and frame her for murder.
Sissel comes up with a plan, and he, Yomiel, and Missile use a torpedo to reach the sunken submarine, finding both Jowd and Yomiel's dead bodies. Now aware Yomiel died 10 years ago, they use Ghost Tricks to return to the past, four minutes before Yomiel's death, and prevent the meteorite from striking him, effectively rewriting the futures of those involved. As Sissel witnesses these changes, he comes to the realization that he was not the person that he thought he was, but actually Yomiel's pet cat named after his lover. Yomiel had carried Sissel around in a cat carrier for the past ten years as his only companion, including bringing him to the junkyard at the events at the start of the game. Though Yomiel had tried to manipulate Lynne, Lynne was able to resist and instead shot Sissel in the carrier; Sissel's spirit, on awakening, only saw Yomiel's body and assumed that was his corpse. Ray reveals himself as an alternate version of Missile's spirit who had been unable to save everyone aboard the submarine before, but recruited Sissel's help to assure that future was corrected.
In the new present, Sissel is now the pet cat of Jowd's whole family, including Jowd's wife and Missile, though still with ten years of alternate memories and Ghost Tricks due to the redirected meteorite shard now striking him instead, and learns that Yomiel is finishing up his jail sentence and soon to be reunited with his fiancée.
Development was handled by the creator of the Ace Attorney series, Shu Takumi. "I first thought of this idea about five years ago," Takumi told Famitsu magazine. "We were working on the third Ace Attorney and figured it was time to start thinking about the next thing. So I came up with a plan to make a new type of mystery, something different in style from Ace Attorney." The game was originally titled as "Ghost Spy", and was later renamed as "Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective". Following a release on NDSL in Japan on December 2010, the iOS version was released for the rest of the world on February 2, 2012. The first two chapters are available for free, with additional chapters costing extra.
In an interview with Official Nintendo Magazine in 2013, Takumi said that he'd love to make a crossover video game between Ghost Trick and his other series, Ace Attorney, speculating that Phoenix Wright could be killed, while his killer would be prosecuted by Sissel.
Ghost Trick was the second best-selling video game in Japan during its release week at 24,000 copies. It dropped to number nine the following week with an additional 20,000 copies sold, and then to number 22 for its third week. Capcom has listed the game as a contributor to the low sales of its first quarter of its 2010 fiscal year. Results from a poll conducted by Dengeki showed that Japanese gamers found Ghost Trick to be the 13th most interesting game for the first half of 2010.
Ghost Trick has received mostly positive reviews, with an average score of 85% on GameRankings, and a current Metascore of 83 out of 100. 1UP.com editor Justin Haywald rated the game an A, praising Ghost Trick's puzzles and story. But he points out that, "The concept is novel and fun, though you might feel occasionally frustrated by the trial-and-error process to get at a solution." Ultimately, the story's quick "concise plotting and entertaining puzzles" helped elevate the overall experience. Famitsu gave the game a score of 34 out of 40. IGN gave the game a score of 8.5 and an Editor's Choice award, praising the game's mechanics and animation, although notes that it "gets a little wordy sometimes." GamesRadar gave the game 8 out of 10, praising the gameplay and characters while criticising some trial-and-error and some frustrating puzzles. GameTrailers gave the game a score of 8.5 out of 10. GameSpot gave the game a score of 9.0 out of 10, praising unique gameplay and memorable characters.
The game was nominated for Best DS Game of E3 2010 by GameTrailers, though lost to another Capcom game, Ōkamiden. GameSpot gave Ghost Trick the awards for "Best Handheld Game" and "Best Game No One Played," while also nominating it for the "Best Puzzle Game" and "Game of the Year" categories. The game also won the award for "Best Nintendo DS Game" of 2011 from GameTrailers. Ghost Trick has also been nominated for an Annie Award in the "Best Animated Video Game" category, alongside another adventure game Catherine. GamesRadar included Ghost Trick in its list of the top 25 Nintendo DS games of all time. GameTrailers nominated Ghost Trick for the "Best Story" award. GameZone gave it the "Nintendo DS Game of the Year" award.
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ST: ...or Phoenix Wright could be killed and Sissel could prosecute his killer in court! Whatever form it might take, a crossover between these games is something I'd love to see happen.
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- Official website (Japanese)
- Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective at iTunes Preview (Japanese)
- CAPCOM-Unity page