Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective Hands On

By Nick Young on August 9, 2010, 8:42AM EDT

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is a quirky new IP from Capcom, not surprising considering its development was headed up by Shu Takumi, creator of the Ace Attorney series. The game is based around the death of Sissel, a character who's killed by a mysterious assassin known as Jeego. Sissel wakes up dead essentially with no memory of who he is and no understanding of why he was killed. He then vows to find out why he was killed and to stop more murders from happening at the hands of Jeego. With the help of the haunted lamp Kuneri, Sissel learns of his powers to possess inanimate objects and travel back in time four minutes before a victim's death so that he may change their fate.

At a recent event hosted by Nintendo, we had the opportunity to play a tailor-made demo of the DS title which gave us a good understanding of how to play the game and what we could expect from the full game. The demo started with the death of Sissel, shot by an assassin for a reason we never had the chance to find out. At the side of his body was a distraught woman named Lynne, but due to Sissel's memory loss it was unclear who she was, but she is obviously someone close to him. Lynne eventually finds herself at the same fate as Sissel and is killed by Jeego, but not after Sissel learns of his powers to travel back in time and possess objects in order to save her.

Using his abilities, Sissel can enter the Ghost World where the scenery turns to a bloody red and objects that can be possessed turn to a bright blue. Sissel's 'soul' will appear as a blue flame that can be moved with the stylus in order to possess objects. The drawback is that Sissel can only move a certain distance meaning players will have to think about how to use the objects to get around as well as save Lynne. Nearly every object in the game that Sissel possesses will have a 'Ghost Trick' function and returning to the Real World will allow Sissel to perform this function. For instance, we possessed a guitar that allowed us to strum it in the real world, doing so both distracted Jeego and gave Lynne some time to escape.

It's the use of these 'Ghost Tricks' that makes the game both fun and sometimes amusing in what could only be described as a somewhat depressing theme. An assassin going around killing what could be your friends and family is not fun, but distracting them with bicycles and dropping wrecking balls on them is. It's the mixture of a serious situation and a bizarre one that makes this game unique. Add to that the impending doom of someone you're sworn to protect and it becomes engaging. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is a game that breaks through the boundaries of any one genre and truly becomes its own unique experience. An experience that we enjoyed.

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is due out this Winter exclusively on the Nintendo DS.

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