Murdered: Soul Suspect – PS4
Platform: PlayStation 4
Developer: Airtight Games
Publisher: Square Enix
Release Date (NA): June 3, 2014
Nerd Rating: 5 out of 10
Reviewed by Scott PM
I am a man of simple tastes. A fantasy-themed RPG, some online First Person Shooters, and enough time to play them are all I really need to get by. Other types of games do intrigue me from time to time, though rarely do I act on the desire to purchase. With Murdered: Soul Suspect, though, I found the desire too strong to resist, and soon I found myself, once again, at the counter of my neighborhood GameStop. With the help of my dear friends, The Last of Us and Grand Theft Auto V, both for the PS3, I managed to grab the game at a steal for seven dollars. Surely any recent release you can get for seven dollars has to be worth the price. Alas, that idea is proven false.
I purchased Murdered: Soul Suspect not entirely long after it had released. Perhaps the presence of so many used copies of the game should have risen suspicion in me, but my excitement for the game overpowered my better judgment. I eagerly slipped the game into my PS4 as soon as I got home. Almost instantly my heart sank a fraction in my chest. The game looked pretty good, but a game that looks pretty good with the hardware that the PS4 packs isn’t entirely impressive. While graphics are rarely much of an issue for me when determining a game’s awesomeness, it was not a good start to my experience with the game.
Before I get too far ahead of myself, let me explain a little about Murdered: Soul Suspect. You play the game as Detective Ronan O’Connor, who has been pursuing a serial killer. In the beginning cutscenes, you learn a little about the history of Ronan; he is a man with a troubled, crime filled past who has (somehow) managed to rise to the position of Detective and pursue criminals in Salem, Massachusetts. Don’t get too used to him being alive, though: he dies. No, that is not a spoiler: Ronan’s ghost is on the cover of the box. Of course you’re dead. Indeed, Ronan’s death is the inspiration for the game’s name: Murdered. The game follows Detective Ronan O’Connor on his quest to solve his own murder, perpetrated by the very serial killer he was hunting.
After Ronan dies, his ghost leaves his body, and instantly he begins his search for clues as to his killer. You go about this using various Detective skills. Since Ronan is a ghost, he can read the minds of witnesses and investigating officers to learn what they know about what happened. Little is learned from the crime scene of his own death, but following subsequent murders and suspects he begins to close in on the killer.
These other crime scenes allow you, as Ronan, to explore the ways of investigating crime scenes. Reading minds is but one tool at your disposal. Signs of struggle, shell casings, blood spatter, letters and notes, and other clues allow you to piece together what transpired. The more clues you gather, the easier it is to do the piecing. Yes, even with all of the clues you still have to guess; otherwise what kind of Detective game would it be? Investigating these crime scenes and putting together the puzzles is an enjoyable part of the game and one that I would like to continue doing.
Indeed ,the fault in Murdered: Soul Suspect does not stem from the crime scene parts. Instead, it comes from the other parts of the game, which I will refer to as the “ghostly” parts. In the ghostly parts, you wander and do… ghost things. You run around and talk to other ghosts as well as walk through certain walls. Yes, only certain walls, for many of the walls in Salem are, apparently, impassable due to some blessings placed on them. Lame, yes, but I do suppose it would be quite impossible for you to be able to walk through every wall in the game. More so a game mechanic than a plot element. These aspects of the ghostly parts are understandable and tolerable. It’s the other part that is so bothersome.
Sometimes when you explore you encounter areas patrolled by demons that you must avoid and sneak past almost in the style of a Metal Gear game. I don’t usually complain about certain aspects of games, but this part is not at all what I expected, nor what I would have paid for. Truly, these parts of the game serve only to pad the game and make it longer. Out of all of the game-padding techniques I’ve seen in other games, this ranks as one of the worst I’ve ever experienced. I bought Murdered: Soul Suspect because I thought I would get to enjoy a game with a different pace, one that allowed me to let me inner detective have some fun. Instead, I found myself running from demons trying to kill me. These parts are worse than simply arduous: they bothered me to no end until I grew sick of them and the game altogether and cast it all aside.
Murdered: Soul Suspect has the makings of a great detective game. When it sets out to actually be a detective game, it fares well. It’s the other parts of the game that fall short, short enough to drag the rest of the game down with it. In a world filled with only First Person Shooters and the occasional RPG, a next-gen detective game should shine out bright, but like the game itself, it is wreathed in shadow. A promising premise made sour by unexpected, unneeded, and unwanted elements. Without these stealth portions, I would have scored the game higher, and I also would have finished it.
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