Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Additional Thoughts on Ghost Trick and its Use of Text.

My review of Ghost Trick is up at Paste. I wanted to address a couple things that I mentioned in the review, but didn't want to lose focus by ranting about. Notably its use of text.

Roger Ebert has a saying that "No good movie is too long and no bad movie is too short." I have a similar feeling about text in games. There's no "right" amount. What matters is what's in the text and if it's interesting. In most cases I'd say Ghost Trick's text is captivating with an intriguing plot and great characters. However, all too much of it is dedicated to redundant exposition of stuff you've already been told or pandering hand-holding.

This is especially irksome in the puzzle stages where you should be able to just have at the environments and go about your ghostly business, but are instead interrupted every two seconds by someone explaining what your actions mean or spouting out an obvious hint. This is extremely irritating as it not only impedes upon the puzzle solving, but ruins the pacing as well. There's also a lot of repeated text as you'll hear the same hints every time you perform specific actions. This can be sped up, but not altogether skipped. Very annoying.

Otherwise, I had no problem with Ghost Trick's talky nature. The plot was convoluted, but holds up well the more I think about it. I absolutely adored some of its twists and must give credit to Takumi and the translation team for dropping such subtle foreshadowing throughout. It really is a great story. It's just a shame I had to put up with such irritations to get to it.

I had a lot of the same problems with Phoenix Wright as well, but was hoping Ghost Trick's more traditional point-and-click puzzle mechanics would break free from the mold a bit more, so I could enjoy Takumi's great stories without the highly scripted hand-holding design. Sadly, that was not the case.


Oh, and here's some other stuff I've written lately:

ilomilo review - The first 5 star review I've given at X-Play. I had a feeling it would be good, but no idea it would be THIS good.

Raskulls review- I didn't care for this one so much, but it had some good ideas.

I Don't Know What Came Over Me - Analyzing the relationship between playable characters and the players who inhabit them.

Epic mickey's Epic... Success - Why I loved EM despite its major flaws. Focuses on how it achieved its goal of getting me into oldschool Disney animation.