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Possess This Game

It seems like few games today are difficult enough to have the humbling experience of dying near the beginning of the game.  With the game I’ve been playing lately, they’ve taken it one step further.  The very first thing you see in the game is a shot of your corpse.  Like it or not, you’ve died, even before getting started. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is not about whether you can survive, but how you use the afterlife that is given to you.

Capcom’s latest Nintendo DS venture comes from the creator that brought us the Ace Attorney: Phoenix Wright series, Shu Takumi.  As I consider the aforementioned series one of the best on the system, I was pretty excited about picking this new game up.  If you enjoyed the adventures of Takumi’s famed attorney, then you will definitely enjoy this newest outing.  The characters are ridiculous and likable, the story is engaging in all the right ways and there are enough twists and turns to keep you on your toes.  It’s also got a very interesting art style with character animations that have rarely-seen fluidity for the DS.

As soon as the main character becomes aware of his situation, he learns that he has some interesting powers.  This fact sets up the gameplay for the different sections of the game.  As a spirit, you can move between different objects and with some you can perform a trick.  Using these tricks will allow you to move throughout the different areas.  As well, should you stumble across a freshly dead body, you can use your ghostly powers to travel back to the last four minutes of that persons life and prevent their death.

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When you take this game down to its core, it’s a puzzle game with a fun twist.  As with the Ace Attorney series, if you were to strip the story out of the equation, the experience would be much less meaningful.  With the added motivation that the story gives you, it makes what would otherwise be a fairly simple point-a to point-b puzzler and vitalizes it.  It also flows quite nicely from chapter to chapter.  It’s very easy to say that I’m just going to play one more chapter and suddenly it’s 4am and I’ve played more like four more chapters.

For fans of the Phoenix Wright series, you definitely need to pick this one up.  For everyone else, if you have a DS and enjoy a good detective story, I also recommend picking this one up.  This just goes to show you that even with the 3DS looming on the horizon, there are still top-quality games coming out for the handheld already on shelves.

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