Monthly Archives: February 2014

Growing Pains

Ghost Trick is all wrapped up and I have finally gotten to the mystery of Sissel’s death. I won’t spoil it but I really didn’t see THAT coming! Weird but certainly wonderful. In other gaming news there is basically no news. It seems that of late I have not really had the opportunity or motivation to do much gaming which seems very odd. Much of it is a time issue. Having recently had a baby, time priorities have become altered so that, even though he is usually (hopefully) fast asleep by 7.30 or so that is still enough of a squeeze on an evening. This plus my recent interest in board games has meant that digital gaming has taken a slump in my house.

There used to be a time when I used a games console on a daily basis but at the moment it’s more like weekly. A drop in Xbox time would usually be because I wouldn’t have any games waiting to be completed but even then I would be rooting through the bargain bins or having just one go on Trials HD over and over. However this isn’t the case at the moment as I currently have several pretty good titles ready to go like Sleeping Dogs, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light and Ni No Kuni but not the drive to make time to play them. This is to be expected to some degree. As time passes and our lives change so do our interests but to think that my passion could be waning in something that I have loved, championed and been captivated by for almost 30 years feels strange and a little frightening.

Maybe it’s just a matter of waiting for the right game to come along. Right now I have no interest in any of the newer consoles and even less in splashing out on a powerful gaming PC as titles on them seem to be lacking in any magic or wonder. Maybe it’s a matter of seeing through the cracks. After so long enjoying games my mind will naturally break a game down in order to beat it. It took a conscious effort to make natural decisions in Mass Effect instead of thinking about gaming the system for the best outcome. Maybe I should be looking back instead of forward. Nostalgia can fog our recollections about the true quality of things past but I have been thinking about getting Majora’s Mask on Virtual Console for a while now and I would love to see if I can recapture that N64 magic.

Maybe I should just stop being a baby, fire up Sleeping Dogs and just enjoy it. Yeah, probably that.

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Tales From the Bargain Bin: Ghost Trick

Death can present a problem in a lot of video games. Once the main character is killed it’s usually the end of their adventure, at least temporarily. But Sissel’s demise in Ghost Trick is the very start of a strange and wonderful mystery that will have you scratching your head in confusion before palming your face in disbelief. After discovering he is dead and having lost his memories Sissel is assisted by a friendly spirit who tutors him in the art of ‘ghost tricks’ where he can move between objects and manipulate them. It sounds pretty basic but these simple powers make for some interesting puzzles that see you saving others and trying to get to the bottom of the mystery of Sissel’s death before sunrise the next day when we are told that time will run out and Sissel will cease to be.

Ghost Trick is a great puzzler, not as punishing as those old LucasArts adventures but still with a level of challenge that doesn’t treat you like an idiot. Many puzzles are time based which meaning you will occasionally get to a point where you can’t proceed any further but a neat rewind mechanic and helpful checkpoints mitigate a lot of frustration. The exception is a rather painful stealth section which meant a lot of agonising trial and error (which I hate) but thankfully this is only one brief part of one of 18 chapters so once finished it can be swiftly forgotten.

Story plays a big part of the game and you will probably spend as much time reading as puzzling. Thankfully the story is full of humorous twists and bizarre characters that really bring it to life. On top of this the animation is top notch and squeezes something pretty stunning out of my old DS Lite. It seems so rare now to be wowed by visuals but the simple and clean art style here really impressed me.

Ghost Trick won’t be for everybody, the fact that puzzles can lead you down a dead end may alienate traditional puzzle fans who aren’t used to a fail state and the crackers story gets a little tricky to follow at times especially when it loops in on itself but I wouldn’t let those things put you off. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is a wonderful and unique title that I think all puzzle fans will get a kick out of.