Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is Back From The Dead and It Feels Great

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective PS4 Preview

I didn’t know what to expect when I started this game. The remaster announcement garnered a lot of hype. Is Ghost Trick a long-lost classic, or a forgettable relic? After spending a couple of hours with the demo, I came away pleasantly surprised. Perhaps some of that excitement was legit, after all.

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective opens with your death. So, kind of a bummer. It’s not all bad news, though. Now you’ve got spooky powers! Possession, paranormal communication, and even a bit of limited time travel are now at your disposal. Rewinding time feels sort of excessive, but it’s a fascinating mechanic. Every stage also features a time limit. Even with the power to rewind and try again, I found this part quite stressful. Especially with the puzzle solutions being so esoteric.

Not So Obvious, It Turns Out

Maybe I’m not wired to think the way the game wants me to. Perhaps I’m just a little dense? The puzzle solutions all feel deeply unintuitive. You’re manipulating a random assortment of objects in the hope that a solution will reveal itself. It all makes sense in the end – getting to that point is just a little unusual. Again, the pressure on you isn’t overwhelming. I just felt it more keenly.

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective Preview

This was originally a DS game. I mention this because it no longer looks like one. The visuals are crazy crisp, and the animation is much more fluid. Simple motions like sitting down and answering the phone look fantastic. Simple stuff by today’s standards, yes. But the graphical glow-up can’t be ignored. The music has also been given an upgrade. You can switch between the arranged and original versions whenever you like. I’m a bigger fan of the new soundtrack, but I appreciate the flexibility.

The text-heavy narrative feels a bit dated, however. Not the dialogue, mind you. That’s just as snappy and silly as it needs to be. But something about the giant chunks of text feels like a mobile game. It’s honestly fine, it just feels out of place in a PS4 or PC title.

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective Preview

On the other hand, I’m fascinated by the narrative premise. You’ve only got one night to solve your own murder before you disappear forever. How cool is that? It’s a tantalizing mystery, one I look forward to solving. The first two chapters do a great job of setting everything up and keeping your curiosity piqued. Who killed you, and why? More importantly, what kind of material impact can you have on the people you’ve left behind before it’s too late?

Sharp and Slick Visuals

Now, I’ve never played the original version of Ghost Trick on the DS. As such, I’m not familiar with the touchscreen controls. I can’t help feeling like the conversion could have been smoother, however. It took several tries to get the hang of going from ghost mode to living mode, for example. It feels like touch controls would make this very straightforward. Perhaps the Nintendo Switch version feels more natural. Something to consider when choosing which version to buy.

All told, I’m looking forward to the full version of Ghost Trick. While I found some of the early puzzles a bit obtuse, solving them was a lot of fun. You’re encouraged to experiment, to try every little thing. Who knows what will yield results, you know? I was thrown off at first by the former touch controls, yes. But I’m sure I’ll get comfortable with them quickly enough. Thankfully, the game looks and feels excellent. This makes any transition periods pretty smooth and seamless. I’m excited to see what else is in store when the full version of Ghost Trick drops later this month.

***A PS4 code was provided by the publisher***