Murdered: Soul Suspect is a 3rd person adventure/puzzle game with stealth elements. It was developed by Airtight Games and published by Square Enix and was released for a variety of consoles as well as PC.
I love detective stories. So when I heard there was a game where you play as the ghost of a detective that was murdered during an investigation of a serial killer, by the serial killer, I was very excited. So, did this game live up to my expectations, or did the game possess few qualities to make it a memorable experience?
The game takes place in a fictionalized version of Salem. You play as Ronan O’Connor, a detective that is on the hunt for the Bell Killer. The game starts off with a confrontation between Ronan and the Bell Killer.
Unfortunately for Ronan, he is murdered by The Bell Killer. It doesn’t take long for Ronan’s ghost to return and make sense of what’s happening. He is informed by his dead wife that he will be unable to move on until he solves the case. Determined to move on and be with her, he sets off to solve the case by reentering the building where he was killed.
There are several areas to explore, including Salem itself. You walk, run, and teleport around, solving mysteries and finding clues that lead you to the killer.
In addition to the story-related clues, there are also hidden clues/items scattered about all of the levels, including Salem. You, as the player, don’t have to find the hidden clues, but they do add lore and backstory to the game and characters. The hidden clues/items are also tied to the trophies/achievements.
Since Ronan is a ghost, he can also walk through most walls in the game which leads to more hidden things to find. Possessing NPCs allows you to hear their inner thoughts as well as help out with an investigation.
The writers threw in a few Square Enix references as well (e.g. mentioning Tomb raider). There are also ghosts out there that need help moving on. You can help them by finding clues related to their deaths. These don’t add much to the overall story, but they are tied to the trophies/achievements.
I mentioned before that there are stealth elements to the game. The stealth elements are few and far between, with only 1 – 3 per level. You need to avoid demons as they skulk about the area, looking for wandering souls. If they see you, they attack. Hiding from them is a must. You can hide in spectral trails and use your surroundings to distract them. When you’re feeling confident, you can sneak up on them and attack them from behind. You get rid of them by performing a QTE. This is the only combat-related action in the game, aside from possessing items to distract the demons.
The story is pretty unique and I enjoyed it for the most part. I could honestly imagine this game being a 1st person walking simulator as well, given the action is so sparse. However, Murdered: Soul Suspect is relatively short and is only artificially lengthened by the collectibles. It’s also artificially lengthened by the fact that you have to traverse the town of Salem with no map or warp points. It’s very easy to get lost while wandering about.
There is a game breaking glitch in the first level of the game (the apartment level). At the end of the level you have to solve the mystery of why the killer was there in the first place. You can collect up to 13 clues in order to solve the puzzle. If you collect them all, the game literally won’t let you proceed with the story. The trick to fixing this is to only find the 1 clue needed to make the cop open up his file folder. It’s strange, but it works.
The ending is a little disappointing as well. There’s a plot twist that begins revealing itself towards the midpoint of the game. Even though the game starts dropping hints about who the killer is, the plot twist isn’t fully revealed until the very end. Unfortunately, the twist is presented very lazily. Basically, you stop the killer from killing his last victim, catch the killer, interrogate him to reveal what was happening, and then the game ends. There really isn’t a lot of time to watch the character deal with what he heard.
The ending cutscene is also very bizarre. The scene shows what happens to the characters with Ronan narrating and ends very abruptly with his wife calling to him. The rest is left up to the player I guess.
The credits are weird as well. No effort was put into them as they just have scrolling text over the static shot of Ronan from the title. I mean, I guess that’s all credits are anyway, but there’s no music and no way to skip them. Just seems like a weird choice.
The graphics are kind of bad for a 2014 game and the music is nonexistent. The gameplay is uninspired, but the story kept me going until the end. I was excited to learn more about the killer and his motives but was a little disappointed with how everything was revealed at the end of the game. Still, it was an interesting concept and I did enjoy the detective portions of the game.