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Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective’s demo proves this cult classic holds up

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is a game that’s not known by many, but it is beloved by those who do know about it. It was a point-and-click adventure game released by Capcom for the Nintendo DS in 2010. As a ghost, players use their powers to prevent murders by interacting with different objects. Its gameplay and puzzles feel minimalist, but its dialogue, animations, and characters were all incredibly charming, creating an adventure game like no other.

Sadly, the game didn’t sell well and became particularly expensive stateside, so unless this quirky adventure enticed you back in 2010, it’s unlikely that you’ve ever heard of it. Thankfully, Capcom is giving people another chance to try the game later this month with a remaster, which received a demo today during the Capcom Showcase. I had the opportunity to play this demo ahead of time, and I found that Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is shaping up to be just as much of an enjoyable romp in 2023 as it was in 2010.

A remaster done right

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective begins with a man regaining consciousness. Soon thereafter, a sentient desk lamp reveals that he’s dead but has the power to help people by pulling off tricks in his ghost form. For example, he could possess a bicycle from the afterlife to send it toward a bad guy and prevent them from shooting someone. As part of the first case, he’s saving a mysterious girl with red hair from being murdered in the same junkyard as him.

After that, he confidently uses his newfound powers to save that woman’s roommate and her dog from another assassin. It’s a slick, unique premise, and these first two levels of the game still make a strong first impression years later. Because Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective was made by one of the creators of Ace Attorney, it shares that series’ trademark humor and wit while dealing with a premise that could seem a bit macabre from afar. This remaster does nothing to change that, as the charming story and characters are completely intact.

Sissel speaks in Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective.

In terms of gameplay, Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is very simple. It’s a slightly off-kilter take on a point-and-click adventure game, with the main interactions being to turn into a ghost, pull off the titular ghost tricks, and reset everything if you mess up or the potential victim actually dies. These systems were all originally designed for a touchscreen, though, so I was worried about how they’d adapt now that Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is on platforms without touchscreens.

Thankfully, this demo demonstrates that the game transitioned to controller support well. The game’s simplicity ultimately works to its benefit here. Moving around in ghost form works just fine with a control stick, and the button placements are intuitive and easy to pull off. For those looking for a gameplay experience closest to the original, I recommend playing on PC, as you can use a mouse like you would a DS Stylus.

Overall, this impending re-release of Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective seems like a solid way to experience a cult classic. The game’s visual overhaul is clean, refining the visuals and making them more vibrant without sacrificing any of its overdramatic, kooky animations. The rewind animations going fullscreen is also an excellent visual effect exclusive to this remaster. Music tracks have also been re-recorded and sound quite good.

Gameplay in Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective's remaster.

Although I did get a chance to try out the new Sliding Ghost Puzzles, that’s a more superfluous addition and doesn’t change my opinion that this is a really good remaster for adventure game fans to keep on their radars if they haven’t before. A whole new generation of gamers has a chance to experience this quirky, charming cult classic that deserves more love than it ever got, and that’s a net good for the industry.

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective releases for PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch on June 30. You can also play the demo on all of those platforms now.

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Tomas Franzese
Gaming Staff Writer
Tomas Franzese is a Staff Writer at Digital Trends, where he reports on and reviews the latest releases and exciting…
Everything announced at the June 2023 Capcom Showcase
capcom showcase june 2023 everything announced dragon s dogma 2 lion guy

Hot on the heels of showcases hosted by Geoff Keighley, Microsoft, and Ubisoft, Japanese game developer and publisher Capcom held a showcase of its own. This June 2023 Capcom Showcase comes after the successful releases of the Resident Evil 4 remake and Street Fighter 6, and gave Capcom a chance to show us what is has coming next. Titles like Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective and Exoprimal were shown off, but Capcom also confirmed a couple of new games coming in the future, including Mega Man X DiVE Offline and the Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy collection.
We even got a new look at Pragmata, a game that has been mostly MIA since its 2020 reveal, although our first look at gameplay also came with a delay announcement. To get a full sense of what Capcom revealed at the show, check out this full recap of every announcement made during the June 2023 Capcom Showcase.
Capcom Showcase | 6.12.2023
Mega Man X DiVE Offline was announced
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Pragmata isn't coming out in 2023
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Ghost Trick Phantom Detective gets a demo
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Capcom will release its remaster of cult classic Nintendo DS point-and-click adventure game Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective on June 30. Ahead of that launch, this showcase featured a new trailer for the game. Capcom capped things off by releasing a demo for the game across PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch, the same platforms the final version of the game will release on.
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Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess' Xbox Games Showcase was replayed.
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The Capcom Town website's 40th-anniversary additions were revealed.
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Exoprimal's narrative elements, modes, and character customization options were detailed in an overview. 
Exoprimal will get a second Open Beta test that runs from June 16 until June 18.
Capcom promoted its 40th-anniversary sale and Steam bundle.

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Capcom has been on a hot streak this year with the launches of Resident Evil 4's remake, Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection, and Street Fighter 6. Now, later this month, the storied Japanese game developer and publisher is going to continue celebrating its fortieth anniversary us a look at what's coming next from them. This will come in the form of a new Capcom Showcase, which the company has typically held around this time each year.

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