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Remember how good Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective was?

Reminisce with the HD Remaster demo, out now

A hitman is surprised by a bicycle in a junkyard as they attempt to shoot a red-haired woman in Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
Image credit: Capcom

There is one good dog in video games and his name is Missile the Pomeranian. Fight me. On second thought, maybe don't fight me. My wrists are quite dainty truth be told, and I'd almost certainly end up pegging it in an actual fist fight. If that happened, I might turn into a ghost that's forever doomed to manipulate objects within arm's reach that may or may not change the course of people's history. Actually, maybe you should fight me on this, because a) that sounds pretty rad actually, and b) I've been playing an early version of the freshly announced Steam demo for the excellent Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective this week, and it's reminded me all over again just how good it is to muck about your environment as a disemodied spirit.

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Tonight's Capcom Showcase - the last (thank god) big stream of this year's Summer Game Fest and notE3 season - had only a handful of announcements compared to some of the other big hitters over the last week, but it did at least bring word that Ghost Trick has a free demo you can play right now, ahead of its full release on June 30th.

The demo consists of the first two main murder puzzles in the game - your own, and that of Missile's owner, Kamila. After learning the basics of hopping into different objects and performing your titular tricks on trickable objects - opening a fridge door, ringing a bicycle bell, operating a wrecking ball lever and dropping it on a hitman's head, you get the idea - you're given a fresh murder to solve all on your lonesome. You'll need to watch your timing, figure out the right sequence of events and save the day the only way you can - by getting Missile to bark incessantly at a doughnut so... well, that would be telling.

This new HD remaster maintains the Nintendo DS version's original 4:3 aspect ratio, filling out the rest of the screen with the all-important minute glass down one side, and the words X minutes to death down the other. While it's a shame Capcom haven't revamped these gorgeous murder scenes into a full 16:9 aspect ratio, it is quite handy to have a visual representation of how much time you've got let to solve each puzzle (it was sequestered to the top DS screen back in the 2011 original), and really, after a while, you just don't notice that much that you're staring at a box rather than a rectangle.

What's important is that Ghost Trick's wonderfully fluid and characterful animations now look even better than they did on the tiny DS screens of yore, and all at a lovely, smooth 60fps frame rate. It really is very lovely indeed.

We'll have a full review of Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective closer to launch, but in the mean time, I'd strongly recommend giving its demo a go if you have time. It's a real treat, and you can grab it for free on Steam right here.

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