Community Review: Ghost Trick

Alright, usually I try and make the Community Review a game that was very recently released, but every now and then I pull rank like a boss and talk about a game I've been playing. Just for the hell of it. This is one of those times.

I'd like to preface this Ghost Trick discussion with a disclaimer - let's try and keep this as spoiler free as possible. Partly because I haven't finished it yet and partly because the story, with it's numerous twists and turns, is by far the game's greatest strength.

In fact, being perfectly honest, Ghost Trick is barely a game at all. Not only is it a completely linear experience, with minimal player input, but it's also mercilessly guided - the game never allows you to struggle with its puzzles - not really. You'll very rarely find yourself stuck in the way you do with most games of this ilk.

But that's not necessarily a bad thing. Playing Ghost Trick can be frantic, as you constantly play against the time limit in various different scenarios, but despite that, it's almost a different, relaxing kind of gaming experience. I tend to settle into it just before sleeping, playing it as I would typically read a book. Playing a quick chapter before nodding off to sleep.

Ghost Trick has me wondering about my expectations and demands of what a gaming experience should be - and how utterly redundant those expectations really are in the scheme of things. Why can't playing a game feel like reading a book? Why can't it be completely linear and feature interactions that only exist to drive narrative?

Ghost Trick is refreshingly different and original. It feels new and seamless. I've promised to remain spoiler free, but the story and, in particular the characterisations - and the animation that helps define those characters - are stellar. Ghost Trick is a game that seems to obsess over the details of character and movement and the result is a game dripping in charm.

But enough from me - what do you guys think? Have you played much of Ghost Trick? What's the verdict?


Comments

    I refuse to read this post, even thought you attempt to be spoiler free.. just becuase i literally have NO idea what the game is even about and want to play it. I still have not got my hands on a DS but the game has arrived.. i'll sort it out.

    From a community review perspective, the case looks nice and i enjoyed the design on the front.

    It's currently sitting in my pile of shame - though after reading multiple reviews online and in mags I'm more than a little intrigued and will be cracking the shrink wrap this afternoon.

    I only recently picked up this game and ploughed through it. I was engrossed from beginning to end.

    The game's greatest strengths, like the Ace Attourney games, are the story and characters.
    While I didn't find it challenging, I was wrapped up in the mystery from the moment I started.
    The mechanic of jumping from one object to another is also fresh and fun.

    Without revealing anything, for those who have just started the game or are part of the way through it, you do learn who Ray is. For me, this was one of the most rewarding parts of the game and it pays not to forget one of the first characters you meet.

    I really want this.
    I've been tossing up between Ghost Trick and 999 for my next portable game, but I have a problem: I've never actually finished any of my portable games. Not even Crisis Core which I loved.
    I don't know why this is, but I'm hoping one or both of these story-driven games will cure me.

    I believe it is spelled how it is pronounced: 'LIKE A BAWS'

    I actually have a gripe with the gameplay. It is certainly a novel concept, but it sometimes suffers a little from the traditional Adventure game point and click style of puzzles where you have to do things in an exact order. You know the general gist of what you have to do, except there's a very precise order in which you have to use a long chain of items, and the trial and error is frustrating.
    Although, I did just come off playing 999 at the time, and that's game's hint system was a good balance of gently pushing you in the right direction without actually holding your hand, despite the puzzles not being too hard.
    To be fair, I only really got stuck on one of the scenarios in Ghost Trick (Justice Minister's office), so I guess it's not that big a deal, but it was just frustrating.

    The thing about it being a game though, I see what you mean. Ace Attorney copped flak for this as well. Maybe it's just one of those strange differences between 'Western' and Japanese audiences (in general)? I think if people thought of it as a Visual Novel with extra interactivity, it'd be viewed better upon. From my understanding, Visuals Novels in Japan are viewed as a different entity to a "Game" (although being grouped under the broad umbrella of "gaming software"), while over here there still seems to be some sort of confusion where Visuals Novels are expected to play like games, and are subsequently marked down for it.
    I'd say there needs to be a distinction, but it seems to be only a niche market to us anyway. Everyone knows about Ace Attorney and Hotel Dusk, but other VNs/Games like Time Hollow, Lux-Pain and 999 spreads via word of mouth amongst fans (although I guess 999 did get critical acclaim). Fans hear it from other fans, and pick them up, and I don't think they pay much attention IGN's 7 review of Time Hollow.

    I finished it a couple of weeks ago but i'll keep this spoiler free.
    To me, Ghost Trick started off as a game with just some fun mechanics and interesting art direction (which is what drew me to the game initially) but after a while i realised it was one of the best DS games I had ever played.
    The art direction is absolutely superb.
    Each character has their own developed personality and the animation (which has been universally praised) really brings them to life. These are memorable characters that you will care for.
    Unlike Mark, I never felt like this was a "linear" experience. Nor did I feel it was too guided. It is, to some extent, but inhabiting this world meant that that was never on my mind. I was so involved in this story and felt like my actions truly propelled it forward. (I never understood complaints about games being linear. It may be a cliche, but if being linear makes a bad game then Super Mario Bros. is the worst game ever created. Not to mention it has almost zero story.)
    Changing characters's fates with the lead's ghost tricks was a puzzling experience without being punishing. I had to retry some scenes multiple times but when the solution became clear the "Ah ha!' moment energised me to keep playing.
    As I said before, you will care about these characters. The story is by far the best part of this game. It twists and turns leading you far from where you expect it to go.
    Some may be confused or disappointed with the ending (or even see it coming as I did) it wraps up all threads neatly.

      I kind of saw it coming, it dropped a few hints here and there, but TBH it was still a bit disappointing.

    Missile is the best video game character ever!

    I could not get enough of this game. It's really exciting to see a company which such a big franchise under it's belt (PW) opt to go for a whole new IP instead of just milking the cash cow.

    It really paid off, the story and characters are great, but what i liked most about this game was it's awesome animations.

    Also Mark, I agree with you. At some point in game development, 'linear' became a dirty word. We became inundated with 'open-world sandbox' experiences, often being forced onto games that clearly did not need them. I can tell you know, I'd play Half Life 2 over GTA IV any day of the week. Linear games are FUN. Sometimes you just want to strap yourself in and ride the roller-coaster, instead of trying to find your own way through the maze.

      Haven't played Ghost Trick, but it was staring at me the other day from a shelf in JB Hifi - sadly the 3DS is going to burn a hole in my pocket and I had to keep moving. :(

      As for linearity, I concur. I (usually) get more out of the story and characters in games than the gameplay: a well-constructed and polished 'linear' game is second to none in my book.

    I didn't love Ghost Trick as much as I loved Phoenix Wright, but it was still a fun and addictive experience. The animation, style, story & dialogue were outstanding, and yes Missile was adorably awesome!! The puzzles weren't very challenging, but you still felt good once you solved something. Not every game needs to be like Braid anyway.

    It was also thanks to this game that I heard about 999. Now that game/visual novel has a story you won't forget about anytime soon, it's a shame it wasn't released here.

    I feel that the best games for DS are the niche ones. Sure if you exclude mariokart and pokemon and all that jazz, playing a game like this re-sparks my interest in the puzzle concept.

    well, i've passed the game, and i wont say any more, the story is so good that not one bit should be spoiled.

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