I’ve got to say, I do love a good mystery. Whether that be a film, TV series or game, it’s almost guaranteed to get me hooked. I’m one of those people, you know the ones that always try to solve the mystery before it unravels. That is probably why Murdered: Soul Suspect caught my eye, especially as the mystery at hand is your own murder! Did the game unravel itself to be a hidden gem, or is this one mystery best left unsolved? Read on to find out.
Game: Murdered: Soul Suspect
Developer: Airtight Games
Publisher: Square Enix
Murdered: Soul Suspect sees you take on the role of Ronan O’Connor, a felon turned detective. Roman is tasked with solving one of the most complex murders that he has come across… His! Yes, that’s right, the game starts as Ronan is killed by someone known only as ‘The Bell Killer’. I’m not going to spoil the story for you lovely people who are interested in buying it, but will stress that the story is actually quite enjoyable. It may not be the deepest, but there are plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing right until the end. Again, without spoiling too much, look out for Joy, who gets to become an accomplice of Ronan’s throughout the story. Their relationship is well scripted by the developers and really flourishes throughout the game as they help each other solve a mystery or two. I’m not saying that you should call me Sherlock, but I did like how the game managed to side track me completely on numerous occasions. So much so that when the ending came, I was genuinely surprised.
Murdered: Soul Suspect is available on both the last and current-gen consoles, with the PlayStation 4 version being sent to me for review. I was expecting it to have a slight “next-gen” feel to it, but it was more like playing a PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 title. Of course, that isn’t a bad thing, but other games (inFamous for example) have shown off can do and I would’ve liked to see more attention paid to the visuals in the PlayStation 4 version.
Still, the visuals aren’t exactly horrific, with some nicely detailed in character model being the standout part. The visuals also compliment the nature of the game quite well, making you feel as if the world really is plagued by death and weird criminal activity.
Given the nature of the game, it would be fair to say that the audio side of Murdered: Soul Suspect is somewhat crucial. Too much, and it will feel make the experience feel force. Too little and it will make the game feel dull. It’s good then that the sound in Murdered: Soul Suspect is pretty much on the money, portraying the haunting nature of the world very well. I also found the voice acting to be of a good standard, highlighting the intriguing relationship between Ronan and Joy.
Usually being dead in a game is not a state you want to be in. However, Murdered: Soul Suspect turns that statement completely on its head, giving you several advantages and powers. It’s fair to say that Roman is a better detective dead than he was alive. No offense, of course! As touched upon early on, your main objective is to help solve the mystery surrounding your murder and uncover who the Bell Killer really is. As you move from place-to-place, you initiate investigations that help you unearth clues and give you get a better understanding of the Bell Killer’s whereabouts.
Clues, they’re very useful (of course) and there are a number of ways to get them. Touch is one, a fairly simple concept to understand. Well, kind of. Read this carefully. Once you’ve selected a clue you want to reveal, a number of options will pop up on the screen and you’ll be prompted to correctly “guess” the right sequence. If you do this without fail, a flashback of what happened in the room you’re in will appear and there’s your clue. Simple. Kind of. You can also possess various cops and other people, an ability that allows you to eavesdrop on their conversations to get more information or influence who the person they are interviewing. A neat little trick.
Staying with the possession theme, there are times in Murdered: Soul Suspect where you have to possess a cat so you can get into small gaps or jump up to ledges to progress further in your investigation. It sounds ridiculous (and kind of is), but this is where the demons come in to play. Oh the horrid demons! These can get very frustrating to get past or kill, even when you use ‘Hydes’. What are Hydes I hear you ask? Well, they are passages of air that allow you to hide (get it?) from demons for until they go back to their usual state. A quick warning though, stay in one Hyde for too long and a demon will easily find you, possessing you in the process. If that happens, it’s game over, so beware.
An area where Murdered: Soul Suspect is severely lacking. I managed to complete the game in about 7 hours which, considering there aren’t any other modes, is quite disappointing. Whether the developers add more story-based DLC in the future is to be seen, but I can only judge what it’s the package on launch for now. I would also say that replayabilty factor is quite low as many of the techniques in the game get repetitive very quickly.
Murdered: Soul Suspect is a quite unique experience, one I did mostly enjoy. However, the lack of content and repetitive nature of the gameplay did end up grating on me a bit. Some new DLC would be exactly what the doctor ordered, only helping the game in the long run, but that’s not exactly a guarantee at this stage. With that in mind, Murdered: Soul Suspect isn’t a game I would recommend to go out and purchase straight away. Still, credit to the development team for trying something different. It’s just a shame they ran out of some genuinely great ideas somewhere along the line. The potential is there, hopefully they are given the chance to fully realise it with a sequel.