Note: The following review is SPOILER FREE!
Finally, a break in the case. You race up the stairs and slam your shoulder into the apartment door, damaging it and your shoulder in the process. The Bell Killer is stalking through the apartment and you call out to him, “Freeze! Get on the ground!”
Without warning he turns and attacks. He’s bigger and stronger than you. You attempt to remember all of the things taught to you in the academy and on the streets, but he’s still too strong, too fast. So you pull your gun, only to have him slap it away. He grabs you, lifting you over his head and tosses you through the window like an empty beer can. Glass shatters all around you and the wind whips passed your ears as time slows down. You pull your backup gun, the present from your mom to keep you safe, hoping to at least kill the serial killer on the way to the pavement. Your front sight lines up with the rear posts and you center it on his face as he looks down on you, almost seeming to smile. It’s then you slam into the ground and everything goes black. Now the game can begin.
Ronin the friendly ghost
As the title suggests, “Murdered: Soul Suspect” suits you up in the fedora and blood stained vest of Ronin O’Conner, a detective with a very checkered past attempting to solve his (and multiple other peoples’) murder. The story progresses as you venture through Salem, MA, from the police station that used to sign your paycheck, to the cemetery that will eventually house your corpse. With the help of a medium named Joy, she helps you to discover the identity of and stop the serial killer.
The main issue with the story is that at no point did I really give a crap about anyone I met, including Ronin. It seemed as Ronin died too soon without building more of a backstory to fill in the importance of him being alive. He essentially progresses, business as usual, not even really seeming to care that he’s dead. The ghosts he meets along the way have the same lackluster impact. They seem to be crying and upset, but Ronin never really seems to do more than offer some of his free time to help them out by using his investigation techniques. There’s no emotional connection, which is a huge problem for a game trying to build so much on Ronin’s backstory and the reason he’s going on his journey to capture the Bell Killer.
Sherlock’s life without Watson
The majority of “Murdered: Soul Suspect” is spent using the camera to investigate different areas around Salem. You’ll be looking for clues in order to piece a larger story together to solve the questions that arise in that scene so you can move on. Phasing through walls, possessing people and manipulating printers and fans will help distract police from what you’re up to, but it all becomes stale and repetitive very quickly. You’ll be able to possess and control a cat to make traveling through the game a little different, but again, it gets real old real fast.
You won’t be shooting or stabbing anybody at any time; this is not that kind of game. You’ll have an occasional run-in with a demon (you’re only real antagonist) that you can sneak up behind and exorcise, but other than that you simply phase in and out of walls talking to ghosts and reading the minds of people in order to push the story a little further. It’s real cool for about the first hour or two, and then it loses its luster. There are a lot of ghostly powers at your disposal, but the times you can use them are limited and a little frustrating since it’s never really pulled off smoothly. The story is so linear that traveling around to gather collectibles is just tedious and boring. Each side story isn’t compelling enough to warrant the time it takes to find all the collectibles to view it.
You can’t touch anything cool.
“Murdered: Soul Suspect” looks pretty ghostly on the Playstation 4, but the ghostly moments get old pretty quickly. The blue highlighted areas that look the most interesting are also the ones that are off limits to you. Those are the places that are “consecrated” by the priests of Salem and forbid you to phase through or enter. The ghostly phasing moments and demonic entities that arise throughout the game look alright, but everything sort of looks the same throughout.
While the lip-syncing and voice acting of the cast are all… okay, nothing really stands out to grab your attention and make this game as strong as it needs to be for an exceptional addition on the PS4. When I went to grab this game from my local retail store, they only had a few copies for each system. It seems that even Square Enix doesn’t have high hopes for this game being all that successful which is unfortunate considering how much money was spent on marketing.
“Murdered: Soul Suspect” makes a valiant effort to mix a compelling noir investigation story about a ghost struggling to stop his killer. The problem is that aside from the interesting concept of the game, the actual gameplay itself never does enough to fully encompass potential gamers to warrant a purchase at full price. Wait for the price to drop a bit before picking up this game.
Are you dying to play “Murdered: Soul Suspect?” Are you screaming “Kill me now!”? Haunt the comments below.
*This review of "Murdered: Soul Suspect" is based off playing a retail copy of the game on the PlayStation 4 console.
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