MURDERED: SOUL SUSPECT
Available on Steam for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360
Developed by Airtight Games
Published by Square Enix
MURDERED: SOUL SUSPECT focuses on Salem Police Detective Ronan O’Connor who suffers his untimely death at the hands of a serial killer known as the Bell Killer. Upon his death, Ronan discovers he’s stuck in a semi-spectral hybrid afterlife on Earth, unable to fully crossover until he’s at peace with himself. Realising he must solve the investigation and uncover who the Bell Killer actually is, Ronan’s ghost joins forces with local medium Joy to stop the serial killer in their tracks before the killer chalks up even more victims.
MURDERED: SOUL SUSPECT blends story and puzzles in order to tell its supernatural plot. With our lead a ghost, an ex-con detective one at that, the game gives players the ability to walk through walls and buildings, possess bystanders and influence them for info, and even possess cats in order to get to those hard-to-reach places. It’s quite a novel idea for a game and easily pulls you into its story as you try and track the Bell Killer and learn more about the killings and also about our protagonist, Ronan, who’s had a bit of a colourful life himself. Littered throughout the town of Salem, Massachusetts are clues, collectables, newspaper clippings and plaques that help to provide more information on the characters, the investigation, the town and its past. There’s even a bunch of side quests where fellow trapped spirits require help to accept their death in order to move on. It’s quite immersive to play, even if the town itself feels a little restrictive at times, no doubt made worse by the fact that some buildings and alleyways cannot be entered due to spectral walls and road furniture.
As the game deals with a serial killer, the narrative can get quite dark at times but not enough to make you jump out of your skin. Most of the terror is told in cut scenes but there are a few alternative villains in the game which Ronan must avoid. These include demon arms reaching from fiery pits of hell to drag Ronan in should he cross them and floating demons that patrol rooms and corridors of a location, usually obstructing the player’s path to their next target or exit, meaning players have to stealthily avoid them using spectral hiding places until they’re close enough to banish them. The demons pop up around five times throughout the game and most players won’t have much trouble getting past them so they’re a minor inconvenience if anything else. Being grabbed by them and not being able to hide in time means your soul is destroyed and you have to restart from the last checkpoint which isn’t a big deal.
At just over 8 hours long, MURDERED: SOUL SUSPECT doesn’t outstay its welcome, thankfully. The idea of finding clues, solving investigations and then dodging demons on the way out gets a little repetitive after a bit so by the time the end comes, it’s timed just right.
On the whole, the game isn’t really challenging and the investigations can usually be solved without finding all the clues providing that you have the clues that matter. In short, it’s a game that isn’t going to cause you any problems, so just sit back and enjoy the ride.
MURDERED: SOUL SUSPECT is single player and is fully compatible with the Xbox controller for Windows.