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Game Review: Murdered – Soul Suspect

It’s not uncommon for videogames to have the player trying to solve the murder of a loved one.  But having the player solve their own murder is a pretty unique take on the whole murder-mystery thing.  But it seems being a ghost has its advantages when it comes to solving decade-old crimes, as being dead apparently lets you  mess around with the living in ways that those with a pulse just can’t manage.  And thus I’ve summed up the concept of Murdered: Soul Suspect in one paragraph.

Don't you just love wordplay?

Don’t you just love wordplay?

The ghost in question you play as in Soul Suspect is Ronan O’Conner, a former-con & now former-cop who starts the game getting killed by the Bell Killer.  His unfinished business is to stop this killer who’s been leading police on a wild chase while getting away with murdering young women.  But even ghosts can only do so much, so Ronan enlists the help of a young, rebellious psychic named Joy, who reluctantly agrees to help Ronan if it helps her find her missing mother.  But what happens when the killings relate back to Salem’s darker history?



The majority of the game is spent collecting clues and solving the next mystery to get one step closer to the Bell Killer.  Being a ghost gives Ronan a variety of useful abilities to help in this regard.  He can possess people to influence their minds, helping them remember crucial clues, see through the eyes of the living, and uncover residual energy of events.  At each scene, you’ll have to uncover clues and decide which ones are most relevant.  But there are demons that prowl limbo looking to devour Ronan’s soul.  The only way to fight them is to hide in residual energy pockets until you can sneak up behind them and exorcise them.

Narrative: While not the most complex plot, I did find the mystery of the Bell Killer compelling.  The story paces itself fairly well as you slowly uncover the deeper mystery.  However, I did find I’d caught on to things faster than the characters did, so at times it felt like the story thought I was slower than I was.  I liked the supernatural aspects of the story & how well it tied in to Salem’s history.  I also found the main characters to be interested & fleshed out.  Both Ronan & Joy could’ve been played as one-note, but they portray a range of believable emotions.  They could’ve easily written both characters as your typical rebels, but they show more emotions, & have justifiable reasons for why they act the way they do.  But I do find it hard to believe that a character with as sorted a past as Ronan would’ve been able to hide it well enough to become an officer.  I also liked how the relationship between Ronan & Joy develops over the course of the game.  At first Joy wants nothing to do with him, being fed up with ghosts always wanting things from her, but eventually they come to rely on each other.  I also liked learning about Ronan’s history with his deceased wife & his brother-in-law.  If I had one complaint about the story, it’s the big twist at the end.  While it was a nice twist, I felt it may have come a bit too far out of left field, as there was really nothing in the game to hint at it.  Maybe if I’d found all the hidden messages it might’ve given me context, but as that’s optional it’s something a lot of people will miss.  I also didn’t get the killer’s motivation.  So overall, a compelling mystery but with mixed feelings about the ending.  Score: 4

Even demons have Metal Gear Solid Syndrome

Even demons have Metal Gear Solid Syndrome

Mechanics: While a mystery-adventure game at heart, Soul Suspect does try to vary the gameplay in between investigations.  Stealth & escort sections try to spice things up, but with varied success.  Originally I didn’t mind the sections with the demons, as they weren’t particularly difficult.  You just hide until it turns its back.  But towards the end I just found them tedious & that they prevented me from getting to the next investigation section.  Surprisingly, the escort sections faired better.  In these sections, you have to help Joy through a route by possessing items to make people in her way move.  They’re actually not that bad, as Joy will actually wait until you’ve moved a person.  But they’re also really easy.  As for the investigation bits, I liked searching for clues.  Usually they’re obvious, but I liked that the game required you to think about what the clue meant somethings rather than just spelling it out for you.  For example, some clues would simply be “great force” where there’s a dent in the wall from a fight, but other times you have to decide from a list of possibilities what the clue actually meant (was the person hiding, fearful, etc.).  However, concluding an investigation could be a bit frustrating because it’s not always easy to tell what the game thinks is the “most relevant” clue.  I mentioned this in my Impressions post, but often I would have the whole picture but fumble at what specific clue the game wanted highlight.  Also, there was one point in the game when it didn’t tell me I had an ability & I couldn’t get past an obstacle.  I knew I needed to possess the officer & get him to walk over the lost souls, but I couldn’t figure out how, because you can’t physically control people you possess (unless it’s a cat).  The game didn’t tell me I could use teleportation to poltergeist far away objects.  This was the only time the game didn’t explain an ability.  So overall, it gets points for having interesting investigative bits & for making escort sections that didn’t make me want to pull my hair out, but loses some points for tedious stealth/combat & some thick puzzle solving.  Score: 3

Investigations actually require observation

Investigations actually require observation

Aesthetics: The graphics are average, but they do have a suitably gritty look to them that fits the setting.  I liked how they overlap past & present Salem so that you can see snippets of the town’s history in its environments.  The game also has these ghostly images that appear in the background until you get closer, lending to the atmosphere of the game.  I mentioned in my last post, but I also like Ronan’s design.  He’s a nice change from the clean-cut hero.  The voice acting was pretty good, especially for Ronan & Joy.  The music wasn’t that memorable, & was mostly for ambiance.  I didn’t notice it most of the time, except for when it got a bit heavy on the sinister scale like it was trying to scare me.  But it didn’t detract from the experience.  Score: 3

Replay Value: Low to Average.  Depending on if you run through the story or take your time exploring the town & looking for all the artifacts, side mysteries, etc., the game can feel kinda short.  But unless you’re an achievement hunter & you want to find every artifact in the game, there really isn’t a lot of reason to replay it.  Score: 2



Overall Score: 3

Final Word: Murdered – Soul Suspect won’t appeal to fans of more action-oriented games.  However, if you like mysteries, it’s at least worth a rent.

– GamerDame

Title: Murdered – Soul Suspect
Console: PC, PS3, PS4, 360, XB1
Rating: M
Developer: Airtight Games
Publisher: Square Enix
Release Date: June 3, 2014

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Filed under 3, Adventure, PC, PS3, PS4, Reviews, XBox 360, XBox One

First Impressions: Murdered – Soul Suspect

What is it with game companies & putting multiple titles on their games?  I can sort of understand for games that are part of a series, although personally I still prefer the number system.  At least that way I can tell at a glance where in the sequence a particular game comes in.  But what do I make of a title like Murdered: Soul Suspect?  Wordplay aside, are there going to be more Murdered games?

I guess I shouldn’t complain too much.  At least it’s not a re-title, like Murdered: Revenge, Redemption, Remastered or whatever catchphrase is trending.

I got Soul Suspect for my birthday, but due to being on vacation at the time I just now got around the playing it.  I think it’s best described as a mystery-adventure game.  The protagonist of our game is Ronan O’Connor, a former criminal, cop &, as of the start of the game, living person.  Yes, videogames are fond of killing the main character’s loved ones in the beginning of the game for motivation, but in this case it’s the main character who’s dead.  In fact, Ronan dies in the opening cutscene.  A serial killer dubbed the  Bell Killer shoots Ronan with his own sidearm, & now you have to help Ronan track the killer down.  Or else Ronan will be stuck in limbo forever.

A lot of the game so far has involved looking for clues to help solve the next piece of the bigger mystery.  But being a ghost has its advantages.  Ronan can possess people, allowing him to see through their eyes, read their thoughts & even influence their memories to uncover clues.  So far the investigations follow the pattern of finding X number of clues in the environment, then using those clues to draw conclusions.  Some conclusions can’t be reached until you find the necessary evidence.  And not all evidence is relevant.  For example, in the second main investigation, the clues point to the Bell Killer having been in the apartment looking for a psychic girl who is now missing.

However, it can be difficult to tell the game what it wants to hear even if you know what conclusions to draw from a scene.  It seems that to Influence someone’s memory, you have to pick the right clue, but it’s hard to tell what the game wants.  For instance, in the first optional murder Ronan can solve, it was obvious that the murderers were the old couple, & that they’d taken the woman’s body to the quarry, but I got a lower score because I originally selected the wrong clues as being relevant.

There’s also a bit a stealth in the game.  The limbo world that Ronan wanders in is also inhabited by demons that want to devour his soul.  But as you can’t really kill a demon, Ronan has to hide from them in spiritual residue before sneaking up on them & exorcising them.  It hasn’t been that difficult so far, thanks to Ronan being able to “see” the demons, but I find myself struggling thanks to my continued unfamiliarity with the PS4 controller’s button scheme.  I keep screwing up the quick-time events & have to hide again until they forget I’m there.  But that’s not really the game’s fault.  I’m just so use to the XBox controls that I don’t instinctively know where Circle is.

So far I’ve enjoyed what little I’ve played of Soul Suspect.  I like adventure games, & this one seems to avoid a lot of the adventure game logic.  I also like Ronan’s character so far.  It’s still early in the game, but he seems likable enough.  One of those rough-around-the-edges but generally good guys.  Also, I know a lot of people fussed about Ronan’s design, talking smack about him wearing a fedora like a hipster.  But I like his design.  It’s nice to see a male protagonist that isn’t your clean-cut Nathan Drake lookalike or some grizzled bodybuilder.  He looks like a cop who used to be a gangster.

And what’s wrong with fedoras, anyway?  I myself have been known to rock a trilby (which is often mistaken for a fedora) on occasion.  In fact, I vow right now that every time I play Murdered: Soul Suspect, I’ll wear my favorite trilby just to spite all the hipsters & hipster-haters.  I may even break out my vest, skinny jeans & pocket watch & really get into character.


– GamerDame

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