Reviewed on: PlayStation 4
Also available on: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC
Reviewed by: Darryl Linington
Developed by Airtight Games and published by Square Enix, Murdered: Soul Suspect is a supernatural, stealth-based, action-adventure title. While Murdered: Soul Suspect has been on our radar for quite some time now, the question still remains; is it the supernatural thriller we have come to expect… or is it just a wayward soul crying out to the living for a little help? Well, let’s find out!
Murdered: Soul Suspect follows the story of Ronan O’Connor, Ronan has a rather sketchy and violent past; however, he tries to redeem his past misdemeanours by joining the ranks of the Salem Massachusetts Police Department. While hunting down the infamous Bell Killer, Ronan is violently thrown out of a window of the Regal building. While Ronan seems unscathed from the fatal blow of the concrete beneath him, he attempts to once again capture the Bell Killer. Upon trying to re-enter the same building he was thrown from, Ronan realises that the fall did a lot more damage than he had realised. Turning back, he sees his lifeless body on the street. Ronan then attempts to revive himself; however, the Bell Killer picks up Ronan’s gun an empty’s the magazine into his chest. Being nothing more than a spirit now, Ronan has to solve the mystery of his own murder and put a stop to the Bell Killer’s brutal killing spree.
Murdered: Soul Suspect features a fairly solid storyline; however things seem to become slightly disjointed when the game attempts to throw in multiple elements surrounding the city’s lore as well as a variety of elements that track back through Ronan’s past. There were times where I would completely forget about Ronan’s struggle and would instead venture around the town in order to solve the mysteries of other people’s deaths and uncover various facts about the town itself. While this was not entirely a bad thing, it does pull the player away from the plot slightly.
Overall, Murdered: Soul Suspect features a storyline that is well thought out; however, the storyline experience would have been more solid if the game focused more on Ronan’s plight. The guy has just been murdered by a violent serial killer… but let’s stop to check this corner in order to gain some insight into what happened in town over 300 years ago. Now don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed diving into the past of the Salem Witch Trials, but the game focuses on it too heavily.
To add to this, in order to uncover the mysteries of the town, you will need to find collectibles throughout the game. These collectibles are surrounded by a bright golden light, which essentially makes them visible from miles away and extremely easy to spot. This brings down the challenge of the game as each collectible is basically screaming out, “Oi you, dead guy, I’m over here and if you can’t see me well maybe you deserved to be thrown that window”.
Murdered: Soul Suspect exceeded my expectations when it came to gameplay. Ronan has the ability to walk through walls, which can throw you off at times. Funny enough, I found myself running around couches and desks as well as running towards doors due to the fact that this is what I am used to doing when playing video games. However, once you stop caring about these objects the game becomes an extremely unique experience. Granted, there are areas that feature certain spiritual barriers; however, I suspect that these have been placed in order to prevent the player from stepping out the 4th story of a building, or exiting the playable area.
The stealth-based combat featured within Murdered: Soul Suspect is an absolute joy to experience. When faced with multiple soul-sucking demons, Ronan has no choice but to hide and survey his surroundings. You cannot just run up to a demon and attempt to blow it away, you have to carefully make your way towards it and execute it from behind. In order to do this however, Ronan needs to hide in the residue of individual ghost souls, which are tightly packed together and form a teleportation system in order to get him closer to each demon. Once Ronan is close enough, he can attempt to execute the demon. While Murdered: Soul Suspect has a fairly simple approach to combat, it works well within the game… the only problem is you don’t entirely come into contact with demons too often, which was slightly disappointing at the end of the day.
While Ronan’s movements can feel restricted at times, he does gain the ability to teleport at a later stage in the game. This opens up the world to Ronan and is really cool to experience once obtained.
As a detective, Ronan will need to solve various cases throughout the city. Ronan can essentially possess the living in order to read their minds and gain vital insight into what happened at the scene of the crime. Additionally, Ronan can analyse the ghostly residue of a scene as well as interview and question other ghosts within the vicinity. Once every clue has been analysed you will need to piece together the evidence and come up with a conclusion for the events that transpired.
While this is generally an easy task to do, some crime scenes can be slightly baffling at times. It was just unfortunate when I found out that you cannot fail investigations, which made things seem too easy at times; you are, however, ranked for each investigation. I tried to make a point of getting each investigation right each time, just for a sense of accomplishment and not feel like I cheated the game just by clicking random answers until the right ones came to light.
Graphically, Murdered: Soul Suspect is a gem to look at. The town of Salem is an eerie one and really adds to the game’s overall visual appeal. Furthermore, the characters featured throughout the game look great; however, don’t be surprised if you come across a duplicate character at times. Overall, Murdered: Soul Suspect has been crafted in such a way that it is perfectly suited to its theme.
When it comes to audio and voice, I would have to say that the developers have done a great job when it comes to making this game genuinely creepy. I spent most of my time playing Murdered: Soul Suspect with the Gioteck Ex-05s headset, which really brought the game to life. When it comes to the voice cast, Murdered: Soul Suspect features a very talented cast. Ronan is voiced superbly and so is his unwilling partner, Joy. While Joy steals the scene from Ronan, when she has screen time, it would have been great to see her featured more throughout the game.
Murdered: Soul Suspect is a great murder mystery themed title. While the storyline is fairly solid, it would have been nice to see less redundant side-quests and more action orientated gameplay featured within the title. Murdered: Soul Suspect has a lot going for it; however, the developers need to strip away the redundant factors and bring in gameplay features that actually mean something to the player. Furthermore, the game needs to feature a system that penalises players for getting things wrong. I personally don’t want to play a game that constantly holds my hand until the very end… it makes me feel like I am cheating the system in theory.
To end things off, I would recommend Murdered: Soul Suspect for its great storyline and unique gameplay mechanics, even if they were underused at times. Let’s just hope the game receives a sequel at some point, which will give the developers the chance to utilise these mechanics properly.
Lasting Appeal: 4/10