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LTTP: Ghost Trick (iOS) & Finally Some 999 Impressions?

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LTTP or ‘late to the party’ pieces are opportunities for me to catch up and write about games I missed out on the first time around. They may contain spoilers.

After finishing Capcom’s Ghost Trick, I am finally able to articulate why I didn’t enjoy 999. Both titles share adventure game elements and both asked me to retread scenarios but only Ghost Trick fabricated an in-fiction reason to tie everything together.

But why did this matter to me? Other games ask me to reload saves or go back to checkpoints and they don’t bother me because immersion and narration is not focal points of those games. 999 asked me to go back and re-read the same slow scrolling drivel. Ghost Trick built in a rewind mechanic into its universe and offered subtle changes and shortcuts to each puzzle scenario.

Ghost Trick’s rewind was for gameplay and narrative reasons — 999 asked me to rewind to complete the narrative experience. This was when I discovered that I didn’t care for 999 or games of this style.

Ghost Trick captivated me with its unique presentation. Both the music and the animation style foretold something special. I had to play it but I bided my time. I passed on the Nintendo DS release when I heard about the Japanese iOS release. When it finally debuted on the North American App Store, I waited some more before picking it up during a sale. But if that wasn’t enough dawdling, the game sat unopened on my iPad for months before I finally decided to launch it.

Initial reactions was that of disappointment because I had forgotten Ghost Trick was not Retina enabled. Some may label it as blasphemous but I would have liked to have seen a healthy dose of anti-aliasing applied on the character models. I quickly got over the technical shortcomings and was in entranced by the game’s style.

The use of spotlights, exaggerated actions and their choice of musical and audio cues delivered a show unlike anything I had ever seen before. The fixed 2D perspective reminded me of a stage play which was the line of reasoning that I carried throughout the game and allowed me to suspend my disbelief a lot easier.

Ghost Trick that played fast and loose with the rules of real world that we know it. People, objects, processes and even the world’s physics all behaved in service of the narration which often meant it was farfetched. It was unfortunate but they selectively applied the game’s internal logic as well. I played as a ghost named “Sissel” who had the ability to possess inanimate objects however there were a number of inanimate objects that were clearly visible but I could not possess. There’s no reason why Sissel couldn’t use said object. If I didn’t suspend my disbelief all of these quirks would have bothered me to no end.

Leaps in logic, oversights in details and unorthodox physics were the norm for Ghost Trick. I overcame those issues and never dug deep into anything; I didn’t want the entire house of cards to come tumbling down. I took each chapter and solved its puzzles. I enjoyed what they showed me.

Ghost Trick created likable characters and its successes were pulled off with pizazz and clever trickery. It ran on charm and I fell under its spell. I clicked with their world’s logic and internal workings so I was able to let many things slide. I don’t know how they could work in a sequel but I sincerely hope Capcom returns to this universe and give it a proper sequel. They could pull off a truly remarkable game if they paid a little bit more attention to the rules of their world. I’ll be perfectly honest though: I just want to see more Missile. He alone turned me into a Pomaranian lover.

Worth a Try

Ratings Guide

For more information on Ghost Trick, visit the official website.

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