Capcom's Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective begins by posing a question to its player. This question, which may be familiar to the mystery fan - and which is possibly in danger of becoming rather clichéd - is, Who Am I? The player is therefore immediately confronted with the basic plot strand of the game, yet Ghost Trick is not about to give you just one vague mystery to solve. In fact the game continues to pile mystery upon mystery even to the very end, and it is truly a testament to the writers of the game that it holds together so impeccably well. Because, while Ghost Trick may open with a generic question, it is the game's concise and entertaining narrative which drives the player on through till the very end.
This universe itself is immediately striking for its visual beauty. Backgrounds are colourful and bold, while character animation is remarkably smooth - especially as, according to Takumi, they were all initially animated using 2D sprites, without the use of motion capture. Characters move about with stunning fluidity and this smooth animation is further used to the advantage of characterisation. The often absurd characters express themselves with their movements as if they had no other way, strutting around the screen or dancing in panic - the animation beautifully serves the game's comedic tendencies and in turn realises the characters as unique, if slightly unhinged, individuals.
|Expect lots of dancing|
Despite these criticisms it is hard not to recommend Ghost Trick. If the puzzles are at times frustrating or repetitive it is not to the detriment of the whole gaming experience. For one thing, when have you ever played a game that didn't have a little frustration somewhere along the way? Ghost Trick's overall excellence allows us to overlook these small problems. It is a game unique in both gameplay and presentation. With remarkably smooth character animation and beautiful background locations, the game allows its unique puzzles and mechanics to be nestled in a striking gorgeous world. The story is also excellent and is perhaps the most compelling I've seen this year. At times it travels at breakneck speed and delivers one shocking revelation after another, yet it never feels utterly ridiculous (though it does get pretty close) and maintains its eccentricities wonderfully. Ghost Trick is not just one of the best puzzle games I've played this year, it’s one of the best games full stop. An absolute gem!