Ghost Trick Phantom Detective Preview Header
Image via Capcom

Preview: Ghost Trick Phantom Detective Promises Intrigue

All detectives dream of solving a murder, but how many of them get the chance to solve their own? That is the question that faces Sissel, the amnesiac protagonist of Capcom’s Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective remaster. Despite over a decade having passed between the game’s original release and now, it still feels holds up with its fast-paced writing, timeless aesthetic, and smooth visuals in the preview build.

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The story of Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective follows Sissel, who wakes up to find himself dead. However, he doesn’t remember how he died, nor does he even remember who he was. Thankfully, he is a special spirit capable of Ghost Tricks. With them, he can interact with the world of the living by traveling through objects or manipulating them. He can also briefly go back in time. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective presents an intriguing premise with a unique style of gameplay that is very intuitive to pick up.

Ghost Trick Phantom Detective dialog

Image via Capcom

Before we begin, let me start by saying that I never played the original Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective. The extent of my knowledge is that Shu Takumi wrote it and it was on the Nintendo DS. That second part is the key point. How can Capcom remaster a game native to the DS in this day and age? To answer this question, I did some detective work and… peeked at screenshots of the original Ghost Trick. I learned that, unlike games such as The World Ends With You, it had never been a game that entirely relied on the split-screen concept of the DS. So the port feels very natural. I don’t feel like I’m losing out on anything by playing it with one screen during this initial segment. Of course, since the game is also available on mobile devices, it’s not surprising that it’s fully playable with a single screen.

As you can expect from the name and synopsis, Ghost Trick is a mystery and puzzle game. Unlike Shu Takumi’s Ace Attorney, some of the puzzles have time limits. There are also more arbitrary time limits, such as needing to manipulate an object before a character performs an action. Since you’re using tools in your environment to accomplish a variety of tasks, it feels very dynamic in how you go about solving the puzzles. Sometimes, Sissel can’t reach an object, which requires you to jump into something else. Sometimes, an object isn’t present for Sissel to interact with, so you have to find a way to bring it back on screen. It doesn’t feel like playing Ace Attorney at all, but I can still definitely see 4’s influences in the main mechanics.

Ghost Trick Phantom Detective gameplay

Image via Capcom

Personally, what stands out to Ghost Trick for me is in the humor. It’s definitely a Shu Takumi game, as if the sound effects every few text boxes don’t already clue you in. On paper, the story sounds quite serious. But the assassins and their little quirks are genuinely funny, and Missile is absolutely adorable. My one complaint is that I wish we could fast forward through scenes, but my impatience is probably a side effect of this fast-paced information age we live in now.

Thanks to the original art direction of the game, it’s hard to think of it as a game from 2010. How smooth the port looks and plays also lends to that impression. I’m very excited to learn about Sissel’s past and future when the full game comes out!

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective will come out for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One on June 30, 2023. Windows PC version previewed.


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Author
Stephanie Liu
Stephanie is a senior writer who has been writing for games journalism and translating since 2020. After graduating with a BA in English and a Certificate in Creative Writing, she spent a few years teaching English and history before fulfilling her childhood dream of becoming a writer. In terms of games, she loves RPGs, action-adventure, and visual novels. Aside from writing for Siliconera and Crunchyroll, she translates light novels, manga, and video games.