TGS 09: Ghost Trick First Impressions

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Posted September 24, 2009 - By Sterling McGarvey

TGS 09: Ghost Trick First Impressions


What We Know: Until 24 hours ago, none of us knew it existed. Ghost Trick (which I imagine will have a new name if/when it shows up on US shores) seems to be a supernaturally-focused game from the creators of the Ace Attorney series over at Capcom. The art design is quite different from the law and order focus of Capcom's other series. It's got a more stylized look that's reminiscent of the art trends of the 1960s. Other than that, no one at the Capcom booth spoke English, and the only Romaji in the entire demo was the game title.


What's New at TGS: Everything. It's Ghost Trick's worldwide debut. From what I could ascertain from the demo, the game's hero has the ability to jump out of his own body and momentarily inhabit objects. It seems to be his tactic to scare off enemies. I can't tell if he's dead or if he just has out of body experiences. The demo starts in a junkyard with a gunman aiming to kill a young lady. After what I can assume is some "I'm going to kill you" explanation, the would-be assassin gets ready to shoot. Suddenly, the action stops, and the screen turns red. A blue flame pops up onscreen, and everything in the environment is outlined. The blue flame seems to represent the hero's spirit, and can be controlled with the DS stylus. When you flick the flame over an object that can be possessed, it glows blue. From there, he can inhabit the object and use it to scare off enemies. In this case, he jumps into a gate and slams it open to spook the gunman and give the woman a chance to escape. She does, but ultimately, the shooter manages to pick up his gun and fire off a shot.


She falls and seems to be dead. The gunman escapes, and the hero regains consciousness. He goes to her body, but before doing so, he's interrupted by what appears to be a talking lamp. Maybe it's someone else's soul inhabiting the lamp? Hard for me to tell when it's all in Japanese. The lamp, which I'll dub Tutorial Lamp, tells the hero that he can "jump" across different objects to possess them in a chain combo. I tapped the stylus and moved the soul across some junk in the area in order to move the spirit flame around the environment. After reaching Tutorial Lamp, I led the flame over to the young woman's body, and it reanimated her. At that point, I had to wrap up the demo, but I have an idea of the main mechanic of Ghost Trick.


What I Want to See: An English translation. I'm a huge fan of the Ace Attorney games, and I think that the team is totally capable of creating cool, weird experiences that outpace other Japanese-produced games out there. The idea of possessing objects and chaining together objects with the touch screen is a novel one. Based on my personal experience last year at TGS, I imagine we won't be seeing any translated versions of the game for some time -- after all, Ace Attorney Investigations debuted at last year's TGS, and although it's probably close to finished, it's still not out in the US. I imagine that we in the gaming media won't see much more about Ghost Trick until at least spring of next year. But when we do, I'll be one of the first in line to try out a translated demo.


TGS 09: Ghost Trick First Impressions


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