Murdered: Soul Suspect
Disclaimer: I played this game on the PS4 and other playthroughs may hold different results.
Murdered: Soul Suspect is about Ronan, an ex-criminal who got married and decided to become a detective. After the death of his wife he had grieving issues and found life t be very difficult, soon after, a string of murders thought to be committed by a killer under the name of The Bell Killer. At the very beginning of the game Ronan is killed by The Bell Killer and meets his wife who tells him he cannot move onto the afterlife until he puts everything to rest, which in Ronan’s case is The Bell Killer.
The story is heavily based off of the Salem Witch Trials, and the world is built on an extremely supernatural foundation. In this world spirits and demons exist, and are forced to live on Earth avoiding being devoured by demons and haunting the living until they finish everything they started in life. There also exist ghost buildings, ghost barrels and ghost trains, among other things.
The story itself is well written and well executed. It details the after-life of detective Ronan O’Connor as he continues to try and solve the murders of the relentless Bell Killer. The world they built which is based off of the real world Salem Witch Trials, is a very interesting one but leaves much to be desired.
The gameplay itself strays from the regular shoot-em ups on the market. This is both a blessing and curse. There are three different gameplay sections in the game, clue searching, interrogation, and demon hunting. Sounds pretty exciting, right? Wrong. Where this game suffers most is that you have done everything it has to offer in the first hour of the game, and none of the sections are any fun.
The clue searching and interrogation sections had a lot of story progression whereas the demon hunting sections felt boring and clunky. While searching for clues you have to walk around the crime scene looking for things that can point you in the right direction. The problem is that some of these things you are looking for can be infinitesimally small, and for it to work you have to have the camera pointed at just the right angle, which was annoyingly difficult. After collecting the right clues you can begin an investigation, in which you have to pick three of the umpteen clues you found that are relevant to the case, if you pick the wrong clue, it kicks you out of the menu, which was rage inducing. After getting the right clues, you get a CSI-esque flashback of what happened, which was…nice? Overall the sections just felt like a glorified I-Spy book.
The interrogation sequences rarely happen in the main story-line, but were the most fun section of the game, which is just disappointing. Ronan would just ask condescending questions to ghosts, which is just awesome. There were two different types of interrogations, main mission, where you ask every possible question to proceed, and side content, where you ask one of two questions, which leads to nothing because you can then never talk to them about anything ever again. They literally just keep telling you to get lost. These sections were overall interesting to listen to but useless, as it didn’t need any player interaction at all, because there were ultimately no choices to be made.
Then there were the demon sections. This has rightfully earned its name because it feels like a punishment from the devil himself. First of all, considering the abundance of these sections of the game, there is only one demon model, which was creepy the first time I saw it, then boring for the rest of the game. These sections had to be beaten for safe travel to your destination, because demons are looking to eat the souls of the already dead. To kill a demon you must go through a quick event triggered by sneaking up behind the demon and holding the R2 button. Problem is these quick events were horrendously fast and hiding from these demons is a problem in itself. Most of the time these sections are fairly easy, but made annoyingly difficult by the lack of fluid controls.
The games hub world is just one big mistake. It has no map, which makes it increasingly difficult to find your way around, and ultimately serves no purpose other than to add to the overall game time. The game forces the player to travel through the hub world to get from one level to the next. Which should be fine…except it isn't. It is extremely under-populated, and of the few people that are there all share something in common, their player model.
You can possess each person on the street and read their mind, which can be a redeeming factor until you find out they only recorded a total of twenty lines. With each character saying two lines each, this gets pretty old, pretty fast. There are also side missions that can be found, which are exactly the same as any main missions you encounter. The hub world is also exploding with a huge amount of collectables. All of which are extremely close together. Overall the hub-world just feels lazy.
From a technical standpoint, the game is good; the frame rate was steady from beginning to end, with the exception of auto-saves. The game overall looked quite good and made transitions from cut scenes to gameplay almost flawlessly. Although the colour palette was dark, as it should be, it was bland and boring. The music never once took me out of the experience and only served to make things feel better, which is what a good score should do. Although the checkpoints could have been better (Note: The scariest part of a game full of ghosts was reverting back to a checkpoint).
There is no difficulty choice at the beginning which would be fine, if it weren't for this game being so easy. The game never lets go of your hand, it was like the entire game was a tutorial for another game. Which brings up another point: the length. This game was extremely short and had almost no content to back up the full seventy dollar (I’m from Canada) price tag.
Overall this games story was intriguing, and throws a few curve balls at the end to keep you guessing, and the side stories you get from random ghosts end up being the best part of the game. The gameplay though is a horrible addition to an overall good idea. This game is not worth the full price tag.