So you think you are good at solving murders? How would you fair though if you had to solve your own? In Murdered: Soul Suspect you must solve your most important case to date so that you can crossover and rest in peace. Now let us begin the investigation to see if this game will live up to expectation or need to be buried in the ground.
Developer: Airtight Games
Publisher: Square Enix
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: 6 June 2014
Thanks to the publisher for the review code.
Murdered: Soul Suspect takes the traditional homicide detective role and reverses it. Instead of investigating someone else’s murder you are investigating yours. Set in Salem, Massachusetts you play as Ronan O’Connor, a detective that just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is given a tip-off that the serial killer known as the Bell Killer is at the apartment you are checking out. You happen came across him and after a struggle you end up leaving the quick way – being pushed out of a 4th floor window. Even though you survive the fall, the killer finishes you off by putting multiple bullets in you. Instead of crossing over, Ronan’s spirit is held in some sort of purgatory – a place between life and death that troubled spirits go.
Being dead you can’t interact with objects and people in the traditional sense. To enter a building or a room is easy as you can just pass through any walls and doors in your way. The more tricky part is that you must gather clues and find out what witnesses saw. Luckily being a ghost you are able to possess people – so when you take them over you can either read their mind or influence them to reveal what they are afraid to say or make them interact with objects in the scene. In order to progress through the game you must investigate crime scenes and find enough evidence so that you know what your next step is and move on. At each location you must find clues to what happened – these can be flashbacks from people there at the time or objects scattered around.
Once you have found all the clues you are given three chances to pick the right one that will give the answer to the question that surrounds the scene. Once this has been solved you close that specific investigation and move on to the next one. You are reading this probably thinking that don’t sound too tricky and you be right except for one thing…there are demons at each scene that seem intent on sucking the soul of Ronan and take it to hell. You can’t fight these and you must hide from them in the good spirits that are scattered around the building. You will see white outlines and if you hide in them the demons find it hard to track you. Hoping from spirit to spirit will allow you move around unseen and after a while they give up. If you sneak up behind them even though you can’t fight, you are able to destroy them.
Besides the main quest where you solve your own murder, there are also side missions to do. Around the locations you will find sort of remnants scattered around that you can reveal by pressing the R2 button when you find them. If you reveal all the clues then you get a story of some of the history of Salem and what did actually happen in the past. The side missions don’t really add much to the game, but they do increase the length of the gameplay. But I will admit that playing through it a second time to try and help every ghost does sort of fulfil you with a good feeling that you helped them out.
Murdered: Soul Suspect is not really too difficult. The cases are pretty linear and even though you should collect all the clues, if you get the majority of them you can make an educated guess and usually get it right on the first or second attempt, but it is still a fun system though. Graphically the game looks really nice and the effects that the developers used to give Ronan the spiritual look is impressive. For a fictional event the detail does give a sense that you really are straddling between the living and the dead world.
Murdered: Soul Suspect is an ambitious effort by Airtight Games to take a tried and tested genre and put an interesting twist on it. The idea of having to investigate your own murder from the afterlife is brilliant. What lets this game a little is that the actually game is quite short. Playing through the main will probably only take around 4 hours and that is not really rushing through either. The side quests are fun to play and these give it the replayablity value that many games don’t have. To be honest I enjoyed the game and would recommend it even though it is short.