Saturday, July 23, 2011

Ghost Trick is Wonderfully Addictive

While out and about today, I happened to stop in at Gamestop intent on picking up a PSP game or two, provided I could find what I was looking for (which was a long shot; Star Ocean:  First Departure was one of them.) and, as I am wont to do, I simply started browsing about after I checked the (slim) PSP selection and saw nothing I really cared to purchase.  I usually only intend on checking prices of games when I'm in "Browsing" mode, as I've really learned to curb my impulse purchase....impulses.  Well, sort of.  You see, when you run across a game you've only seen once, or in some cases, never before, it sort of trumps everything else.

So when I saw rather pristine boxes for Ghost Trick:  Phantom Detective and The World Ends With You for the DS, I just couldn't help but unleash my purchasing piece of plastic and walk out of the store ~$43 poorer.  I'd never even seen a copy of TWEWY in the wild, and if I'd seen Ghost Trick I don't really remember (the difference being that I'd never even seen TWEWY's box art, but I have seen Ghost Trick's, so I can't remember if I saw it in a store or just as a picture.) and with as many times as I've been into a Gamestop and other such gaming retailers, to have not seen either game until now was just a sign, you see.  And when I returned home, I grabbed my DS and popped in Ghost Trick with the idea that I'd play for a little bit just to try it out.

Five hours later, I looked up from the DS to my clock and noticed that it was 6:32, and that I had literally just spent five hours doing nothing but playing Ghost Trick.

Now, clearly, there is a reason for this, and that reason is that Ghost Trick is fascinating on every level.  I mean, I haven't beaten it, so I can't attest to the game as a whole obviously, but my experience with it just today was magical in a way that I'm not sure I can say any other DS game has provided me.  From the time I sat down to play to the time I broke its hold on me, I laughed, I grinned, I thought and most importantly, I had all sorts of fun.

The premise of the game is pretty simple, yet fairly great in the way it unravels; the game starts when a man 'regains consciousness' on a spiritual level only after being killed.  Or, in layman's terms, the game starts right after the main character realizes he's been killed and is now a ghost.  Lingering still at the scene of his death, he spots a woman being accosted by a man with a golden shotgun intent on killing her and, at the behest of a disembodied voice he doesn't recognize, explores his ghostly abilities of inanimate object manipulation in an attempt to spare the woman's life.  It.....doesn't go quite as planned, unfortunately.

All is not lost, however!  The disembodied voice, who eventually introduces himself with the pseudonym of "Ray", takes that moment to introduce our dearly departed protagonist his most useful tool in his special ghost ability arsenal:  the ability to rewind time to four minutes prior to the victim's untimely demise as many times as he wishes.  By witnessing the victim's death, the MC can then notice times where death is preventable and by using his ability to possess objects and use their inherent abilities (making a fan start, making a button activate, etc.) take advantage of those moments.  It's not the easiest thing to explain, but I assure you, the game does a splendid job of it.  Certainly better than I could.

From there, you join the MC as he investigates the cause of his own death, since unfortunately, he cannot prevent himself from dying.  Closure is the next best thing, after all.  And from there the story starts unfolding into something pleasant, clever and entertaining over the next, well, five hours.  After that, again, I can't speak for the game, not yet at least but to the point I left off was still everything positive that I've spoken of so far.

I simply cannot express how pleasantly surprised I am with the game.  Hopefully by the end of it, I'll still carry that positive feeling and I suspect I will.  And when that time comes, I'll be writing about it again, no matter what.  Who knows?  I might even (gasp) try my hand at writing a proper review, as I do think I can speak on the game in a way that isn't inappropriate levels of gushing.

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