Murdered: Soul Suspect is a supernatural murder mystery with noir-ish undertones. It sounds like a crazy concept, and for many like me, a crazy cool concept. After some time with the game, I came away less than satisfied.
The game puts you in control of Ronan O’Connor, a rough and tumble trouble maker turned detective who is murdered after following up on a lead about a serial killer harrowing the town of Salem, the Bell Killer.
Rather than heading to the afterlife, you, as Ronan, have to solve your own murder using your ghostly new powers. Possession of bystanders can do everything from reading their mind and looking through their eyes, to influencing how they are thinking. All these help you gather clues to find your murderer.
Still sounds pretty great, right? Where the game falls apart is actually playing it. The game starts off very slow. If you like standing around and being told to press square or triangle for the first five minutes of your game, this is the game for you. It may have been because the demo started me at the very beginning of the game, but it started off much slower than I would have liked.
The actual detective work in the game isn’t as deep as I was hoping either. I played a section at the beginning of the game where I was tasked with gathering initial evidence from my murder. One tap of R2 and I was in the head of a cop and reading the notes he had on his notepad, another tap and I was possessing a different cop, eavesdropping on his conversation with his partner.
The trouble is there really isn’t much in terms of investigating. You can’t really fail in these moments, rather you just go until you have investigated everything and then you come across the clue that moves to the next area.
What little of the combat I played I liked, however. Ronan’s spirit can be taken over by demons and the only way to deal with them is to take them by surprise. If you are spotted Ronan can hide in the astral remains of spirits, which the demons can’t detect.
This feature brings a stealth mechanic to the game and gives a nice change of pace to the much slower pace the rest of the game I played to that point. It also adds some horror to the game. You wouldn’t think you would fear death in a game where you are already dead but in these moments I had a lot of fun and was generally anxious while playing.
Although I came away from my time with Murdered: Soul Suspect not totally impressed, I still have some hope for the game. The snails pace at the beginning could have just been because it is the very beginning of the game. The premise of the game still has me interested and the combat was more exciting than I would have expected. I’m heading in to this came still curious but definitely more cautious.