Murdered: Soul Suspect
It’s not often I’m torn with how to approach a game review. I quite often know how I feel about a game. Whether I loved it, loathed it or anything in between. I also know the difference between an okay game that I personally like, and a game that I loved that is also fantastic on a technical level. ‘Murdered: Soul Suspect’ is a game I simply can’t get enough of. I want DLC and/or a sequel and I want the game to do phenomenally well in sales. I do know though, that it is far from a perfect game, but if other people can overlook it’s linear gameplay and average visuals, they will discover an enthralling concept for an adventure game that is truly unique.
Murdered: Soul Suspect casts players as Ronan O’Connor, a detective on the hunt for the Bell Killer, a serial killer who has been preying on victims in Salem, Massachusetts. Ronan encounters the Bell Killer and attempts to apprehend him, only to end up losing the fight and getting thrown out of a window. The Bell Killer then finishes off Ronan with his own gun. Just like that, Murdered’s protagonist is…murdered. I didn’t even get to control him yet! Thankfully (for me), Ronan’s investigation doesn’t quite end there.
Separating from his body, Ronan is now a spirit. He does not take the news well, as he frantically tries to re-enter his body in vain. The energy around him transforms the environment; everything looks different, and at the same time, looks the same. Engulfed in a bright light, he encounters his wife, who had passed away before him. At first, it seems like a beautiful reunion, but his wife informs him that he is on a different plane to her, and that he cannot join her until he resolves his unfinished business from when he was living.
Now, Ronan must somehow track down the Bell Killer, and find a way to apprehend him from purgatory. Along the way, he will encounter demons, lost souls, residual energy and other supernatural entities that will put his detective abilities to the test.
Murdered: Soul Suspect is a mix of gameplay styles, but if you had to label it, I guess you could call it an adventure game with stealth and action elements. Players control Ronan from a third-person perspective. This isn’t your typical action game, you won’t be throwing any punches or shooting any guns. Instead, you will be investigating crime scenes and other environments. More importantly, the story’s progression is directly linked to solving some puzzles. For example, investigating your own murder scene will reveal important plot details and clues about the Bell Killer. “Why was he here? Why didn’t he bring a weapon? If I interrupted him, what was he searching for? Where is he going next?”. All these answers can be unearthed by gathering vital clues, and putting important events in the order in which they unfolded.
In addition to using the detective skills Ronan learned in his former state, Ronan will also learn that he has gained (and will gain) supernatural gifts. He can possess anyone he comes across, witnesses, cops, random people – even animals. Possessing people will allow Ronan to read their thoughts. Perhaps someone saw a vital clue, but doesn’t know how vital it actually is. Maybe a cop knows some recent events that can aid Ronan, but wouldn’t voice them to his peers – whatever the situation; Ronan has a gift that will help him learn more than the living.
In addition to investigating, Ronan will also encounter demons and other dark entities. They will sense him and hunt him down, hoping to devour his soul. Players can hide Ronan in energy left behind by spirits that didn’t escape purgatory and withered away into nothing. A stealthy game of cat and mouse then begins, as Ronan can destroy demons if he approaches them from behind unnoticed. I wouldn’t quite call it a stealth kill, as they’re already dead. Perhaps it’s rather, a stealth exorcism? In any case, these moments rarely serve as a challenge, and feel more like a diversion. After all, we can’t investigate all day, can we? I just wish there was a little more depth to these moments. They’re enjoyable; they just don’t advance in any way.
Visually, Murdered: Soul Suspect won’t win any awards, but it certainly has a competent level of detail. Being a fan of supernatural lore, ghost stories and other paranormal stuff I was greatly impressed by how accurately Murdered depicts so many elements from ghost stories, such as residual energy (ghost flames from witch burnings, ghost buildings that hosted important events, events that loop over and over), spirits that flicker and disappear (so as to remain hidden, even from Ronan), demons and shadow people, and other elements. If you’re a ghost-nerd, you’re going to enjoy this game.
- An engaging and clever supernatural story
- Investigations are loads of fun
- Stealth moments help shake up the gameplay.
- Linear, despite having the illusion of being very open
- Average graphics
Not everything is perfect in Murdered, but it isn’t trying to be either. While it falters compared to other games in some areas, it also triumphs in areas other games don’t. It’s merely aiming to tell a story, and it’s definitely one that hasn’t been told before. If you’re looking for a game that dares to be different, give Murdered: Soul Suspect a go. Paranormal enthusiasts won’t want to miss out either!