Reviews: Ghost Trick
So Ghost Trick is one of my favorite games period. It's really good at what it does, but is not exempt from flaws. The characters are very likeable and well characterized; hilarious, but can get serious when the situation demands it. In this game I met two of my fave characters of all time: Lynne and Sissel. Their stories seem just tangentially connected at first, but they actually have a lot in common, and their final speech nearly got me crying (It Has Been an Honor) because of how much time I spent seeing how these two interact through the game. The central mechanics is saving others' lives through time. I knew I couldn't go wrong with this game, because I love Time Travel — and it certainly didn't disappoint. Each death you have to avert is different from the others, and requires you to take different actions while consulting your sidekick (you always have one in this segments). Said sidekick is usually friendly and funny (especially Lynne), and unlike some Annoying Videogame Helpers (coughcough Navi coughcough), they often give useful and not-so-obvious clues, so it usually doesn't get too hard to avert someone's death. Of course, there are puzzles that seem too reliant on Trial and Error and some that outright seem unfair (like the checkpoint past the Unwinnable situation with the Justice Minister). But solving puzzles overall is a nice, fun experience. My only complaint is the sheer limitation of your range of action, but this seems to be just a case of Gameplay And Story Integration — you feel the limitations of your character and have to deal with them just as he does. I would complain about the weird San Dimas Time in this game... but it's not a big deal. After averting a death, you go forward in time just as much time as you spent saving that person, which doesn't make sense but doesn't ruin the game at all. Plus there has to be some way to get the plot along through the night, or else it would just take about two hours, which seems extremely implausible. The amount of plot twists is huge, but they are really good and feel just awesome. Besides, there are a lot of important things you will overlook on your first playthrough, so you definitely will want to replay the game to catch on those seemingly innocuous details. The instruments of the soundtrack don't have an amazing quality, but that's to be expected from a DS game. Plus this is mitigated successfully by the sheer quality of the compositions — they're awesome! Special mention goes to Fate Updated, Chained Past, Providence and The Beginning of the Night. The songs are incredible and would be mindblowing if played by HQ instruments. So I'd like to give the game a perfect score, but I can't. I'll have to give 95 out of 100 because of the aforementioned occasional puzzle nastiness, but that's pretty much my only complaint with it. This is an incredible videogame that knows what it does, and everyone should give it a try. At least for the plot.
If there isn't already a quintessential story of massive plot twists, then this is it.
Being a Visual Novel, gameplay is of relatively little importance, but I'll adress it to get it out of the way. The puzzles are somewhat trial and error, but checkpoints are frequent to the point where it will never be too frustrating. They all make enough sense to clear them without pure trial and error. The story relies heavily on plot twists to keep the player's interest. It opens with one, and ends with one. Almost every plot twist comes across as a great surprise, and a couple come across as thoroughly impossible at first. But in the end everything gets explained, everything makes sense... and then the game throws another enormous plot twist your way. There are a variety of twists, in fact this game covinced me there was such a thing. You've got the ones that fly in the face of everything you know, you've got ones that raise important questions, ones that answer questions, and there's one that's just plain comical, among others. None of the plot twists come across as a Shocking Swerve. I have briefly stopped playing once just to be able to process what was happening - complete with a Flat What. It's extremely difficult to hold a conversation about this game without spoiling many things to any eavesdroppers. The characters all have their charming quirks and personalities. The animation is very smooth, which helps to emphasize said quirks, and this is very noticable despite the DS's low resolution. End result, most characters end up being very likable. I've always said that a good soundrack helps with storytelling, and this game is a good example of that. The song placement always matches the moment. You've got your bittersweet, depressing, despair-filled, suspenseful, and upbeat, among others. Whether or not you notice the songs, they will enhance the moment. My only complaint with this game is that one character's development seemed rather out-of-the-blue and jarring. Fridge Brilliance kicked in, it ended up making sense, but it changed the problem to failing to sufficiently emphasize their motivations. My personal experience with the game? I had been spoiled with what I thought was the biggest plot twist. I was dead wrong, it would probably be generous to call it the third-biggest, and was able to thoroughly enjoy the story regardless.
A game of plot twists, but unfortunately the story is short
Ghost Trick is an amazing game - the puzzles are ingenious and don't become boring due to subtle differences. The characters interact in a witty manner, and every loose end is tied up neatly. Unfortunately, this game lacks replay value and is relatively short. The puzzles are all possibble, but can be frustrating if you miss the final step before a checkpoint. The ending is amazing set up, and made me shed a tear. I'm hoping they release a sequel which contains more puzzles, and perhaps a new storyline seperate, but linked. After all, fate is always changing, and this allows the story to be continued without any issue regarding continuosity. Excellent music, good job CAPCOM! ~Dogfish44