Having seen the trailer and read through the original concept for Murdered: Soul Suspect, I was immediately excited. It reminded me of the old school point and click adventures I grew up with; just grown up and matured. Most gamers (and I still use the term loosely) think a modern title needs bullets flying, robots stomping, half naked female characters and enough swearing to even turn the cast of Channel 4’s Shameless red in the face. But the truth is, gaming is still more than that to some of us, and little gems like this are breaths of fresh air.
The story of Murdered: Soul Suspect centres on Ronan O’Connor, a detective from Salem; Massachusetts. His past was a rough one filled with crime and prison time but was able to turn things around with the help from his wife and brother-in-law. The story starts as Ronan is confronting who seems to be an intruder and after a small scuffle falls from a second-story window to the ground. Just as he begins he’s shoot multiple times in the chest. After the final curtain goes down, so to speak, Ronan comes round and realises he’s a ghost and after a short sequence resolves to solve his own murder.
Investigations are the central point within the game itself as it is split between investigating different crime scenes and locations and exploration using existing police skills and new found abilities that come with being a ghost. When you first start out as Ronan you only have a few ghostly abilities, walking through walls is one of them but as the game progresses you’ll quickly learn how to possess animals, people, read minds, influence conversations and thoughts, interfere and cause disruptions with electrical equipment, and teleport around certain locations. Using these new found abilities can be quite fun, especially whilst trying to solve your own murder which is linked to a much larger case involving the Bell Murderer.
There is an element of LA Noire to Murdered: Soul Suspect and the clue finding aspect is just as easy, which is a little disappointing at certain times. Finding clues normally comes down to inspecting certain objects, normally after revealing them through simple puzzles. Examples of this would include a particular scene early on in the game where you need to influence a cop to move a stack of papers and thus revealing photo’s which leads to your next location to explore. Old School point and click adventures like Day of Tentacle and Sam & Max employed some really hard brain teasers but Murdered: Soul Suspect just requires the player to use a little logic; the puzzles aren’t overly complicated.
There are a number of small side mysteries to solve and unravel including the Bell Killers other victims and learning how a mysterious fallen drowned of the coast of Salem to name just two. These don’t extend Ronan’s abilities or add to the main story, but they are in their own right fun and interesting to solve. Plus an extra achievement or two always goes down well.
There is one feature to the game that in my opinion (and is echoed online) was completely excessive and over the top. That’s the game of Hide & Seek you are forced to play at random points within the game with demons. You could be in a residential block, the local Church or Police Station and suddenly you need to hide from these vengeful spirits, sneaking around behind them and exorcising them. Each building has between 2 and 4 of these demons, so although not many, it’s already enough considering the awful QTE that goes along with them.
Ronan does have a sidekick, a teenage medium who he meets early on in the story. Joy is Ronan’s only way to manipulate and communicate with people in the world of the living. Joy’s character is quite refreshing and considerably more intriguing that Ronan as a character.
The art style in Murdered: Soul Suspect isn’t ground breaking or breath taking, it’s not even necessarily creative however it is a good looking game on the whole. It doesn’t look better or worse than other current generation titles and there are a collection of nice touches throughout the game including characters attire and features.
Overall, Murdered: Soul Suspect isn’t perfect; at times it can feel far too simplistic, the puzzles can feel shallow at times and excluding joy. Additionally, the majority of the characters can tend to be a little bland. However the game is different and interesting, the story is well paced, the smooth logical investigation mechanics work well, the graphics aren’t bad and the voice acting is enthusiastic. To me that equals a success.
Thanks to Xbox for providing the review code to thisisxbox.com