Dead men can tell tales.
When I first hear of Murdered: Soul Suspect, I thought “Man, what a dumb name.” Then, when I heard the details of the game itself, I was actually very interested in seeing what it had to offer. Airtight Games has come along and created a game with great intentions and an intriguing story, but with poor execution.
Players take control of Ronan O’Connor – a now deceased police detective in Salem, Massachusetts. Ronan is gunned down while chasing a serial killer known as the Bell Killer. Now, as a ghost living in a somewhat purgatorial plane, Ronan must find out who his killer is in order to cross over to the next life.
Like a cross between Phoenix Wright, LA Noire and the Sherlock Holmes games, Murdered has players investigating scenes, finding clues, and deducing conclusions about certain questions. Players move Ronan around a scene while interacting with things in the environment that may be a clue. In some instances, he must also use his ghost powers to find more. This can be done by possessing living people and reading their thoughts and influencing their thoughts using already discovered clues.
A little too easy.
The investigating is rather hit or miss. Most of the time, I was finding clues that I knew would work in the deduction stages of the investigation. It was almost too simple. Then again, in some parts, I was constantly choosing the wrong piece of evidence and having no real penalty for it except losing a scoring point for that investigation that really means nothing. Players can’t really fail at this game, with the exception of the “combat.”
Combat is focused on Ronan being chased by demons lurking around in the world. If spotted by a demon, they will chase Ronan and eventually begin sucking up his soul. Players must hide Ronan in floating spirits that populate the area. Moving from one to the next will keep the demon guessing and eventually they will give up and go back to patrolling the area. The only way to take demons out is to sneak up on them and use an execute move to exorcise them. I was never confronted with many at a time and never found it difficult to take them out.
The storytelling and characters are the saving grace for this game. Ronan and the other supporting characters are very likable and the voice acting is very well done and believable. The actual lore and mystery behind the afterlife along with Ronan’s troubled past really set the tone and make for an interesting back story all set upon a decent murder mystery.
Along with Ronan’s story, there are multiple things to discover and collect in the world of Murdered. Finding collectables will eventually unlock stories. These offer up back story on other ghosts inhabiting purgatory, as well as dive into the dark history of Salem. Many play out like a ghost story and some are even rather creepy.
For a game, Murdered: Soul Suspect feels far too simplistic. There’s not much of a challenge as far as puzzles go in both the investigations and in the demon stalking sections. The look and feel of the game was the stand out for me, and the story and characters were where I got my enjoyment. It’s a great story with mysteries, ghost tales, and thoughts of the afterlife. Players may have to go through a few ridiculously simple investigations to get to it, but the story is the star of the show and entertains throughout. Players looking for more of an adventure game with a good story who doesn’t mind a few simple things to get through to see that story should give Soul Suspect a try.
Review copy of game provided by publisher. Primary play on PlayStation 4.