Murdered: Soul Suspect
IT MAY NOT REINVENT THE WHEEL BUT IT’S STILL BUCKETS OF FUN 8/ 10
Developer: Airtight Games Publisher: Square Enix Genre: Adventure/Mystery Format(s): PS4, Xbox One, PS3, X360, Windows
On paper, Murdered: Soul Suspect sounds a little off the wall; a third person adventure meets whodunit murder mystery focusing on a dead cop (Ronan O’Connor) and a medium (Joy) who’s convinced to work alongside him to get to the bottom of a string of murders by the Bell Killer.
With her mother missing and feared to be in grave danger, most likely in the clutches of the serial killer, Joy serves as Ronan’s conduit to the living world, and the result is a genuinely refreshing title that dares to be different.
The game starts with Ronan’s death and a little exposition to set the scene. We learn that he was a cop, killed while trying to apprehend a suspect that turns out to be the Bell Killer, who has been tormenting the city of Salem with his reign of terror. Bewildered and disoriented, Ronan gradually starts to figure out his limitations and powers.
As the introductory stages draw to a close, players are given the chance to try out some of Ronan’s new abilities, from passing through objects to reading minds, while another of the game’s central mechanics is slowly unravelled, as players need to gather evidence and piece it together to figure out where they need to go next.
Very early on, the game makes a point of informing players that, despite the fact that Ronan was a cop while living, guns are of no use to him on the other side. Perhaps it’s a commentary on the abundance of shooters on the market right now, or maybe it’s just a genuine attempt to say “hey, look, this is actually something different”, but either way it works incredibly well. The only combat sections of which to speak involve sneaking up behind demons and triggering a QTE which, if successful, offs the nasty blighters, but if not, you’d better run… fast.
The open world sections of Soul Suspect serve as the main playground for completionists, with a huge range of collectibles available throughout, Many of the key items highlighted by a glowing gold dot, making them easy to spot with a little time spent exploring; and it’s a world that’s well worth exploring, too, NPCs fill the streets from fellow ghosts in need of help finding closure to live souls ripe for possession and mind-reading.
When taking each of Soul Suspect’s main gameplay mechanics in isolation there’s not much here that hasn’t been seen before, but the way they’re presented makes for a seriously fun, if short lived, burst of enjoyment.
Murdered deserves your attention, now is as good a time as any to try something new.