Amy Moore provides a review based on real time thoughts during gameplay.
Warning, content may contain spoilers.
The hunt for your killer begins when playing Murdered: Soul Suspect.
INITIAL THOUGHTS BEFORE GAMEPLAY
Murdered: Soul Suspect was released on STEAM on June 5, 2014. Developed by Airtight Games, it boasts an interesting concept with a rather amateur execution, and applies a unique twist to an otherwise ominous detective drama.
Murdered: Soul Suspect centres around a dead detective who is tasked with solving his own murder. Ex Criminal-turned-Homicide Detective Ronan O’ Connor battles with the ability to interact with people within the land of the living, whilst being confined to the in-between world of “Dusk.” The Bell Killer would appear to be what links the supernatural storyline together.
Murdered: Soul Suspect is unlike anything I’ve played before. Ronan’s reality allows players to uncover sinister echoes from Salem’s past, which is an awesome feature. You are enticed into combat by “Demons” who seek to devour your soul. Their Dementor-like appearance don’t seem to fit in with the theme of the piece. Throughout the course of the game, Ronan teams up with a Medium, which feels like a bold move. I’m not expecting any deep, philosophical exploration into existence, though the game appears to unintentionally play with ideas of Existentialism.
Players are forewarned that “your strengths in life are stronger in death.” I enjoy an element of exploration and players can revisit scenes during their investigation, which are stocked with collectibles and side-quests that provide more depth to the piece.
Gameplay got off to a rocky start, as it kept crashing on the way to the Fourth Floor Apartment.
From the Fourth Floor Apartment to St. Benedict Church, the Police Station to Ashland Cemetery and beyond, Murdered: Soul Suspect consists of lots of interesting places just begging to be explored. It’s a well-rounded game. Players are invited to search for clues by inspecting objects, collecting case files, as well as helping lost souls to “find peace.”
Murdered: Soul Suspect has everything you could want in a game. I would spend hours exploring each advanced landscape. We’re talking three to six hours gameplay in one sitting. That is a rare thing for me.
Murdered: Soul Suspect has some seriously dark undertones, but doesn’t take itself too seriously. I’m not entirely sure I believe in the supernatural, but Murdered: Soul Suspect takes it to a whole new level. It’s quirky. Sometimes laughable. You can possess a black cat to access unexplored areas. You can use Ravens to distract “Demons.” It’s all very Edgar Allan Poe.
Playing Murdered: Soul Suspect is enough to make anybody superstitious. It’s heavily occultist and focuses on the Salem Witch Trials that took place between February 1692 and May 1693 in Salem, Massachusetts. Don’t consider it a history lesson. Murdered: Soul Suspect unwittingly ignites your interest in the subject.
The game is broken down into a series of short levels, and the way the narrative is linked together using each setting is sheer genius. The Lux Aeterna Psychiatric Hospital was my favourite destination (“Lux Aeterna” is Latin and translates as “Eternal Light,”) and I felt a mild sense of anxiety at the thought of entering Judgement House.
Shortly before entering Judgement House, Ronan describes it as “a place you wouldn’t wish your worst enemy to go into.”
We don’t really get the opportunity to learn much about Ronan’s character, except through the eyes of his late-wife Julia (should you choose to collect ‘Julia’s Thoughts,’ which are scattered throughout Salem.) Instead, players are automatically educated on the significance of Ronan’s tattoos during the dramatic, bullet-time opening sequence, with each tattoo representing a key life event.
For a game that’s so well-made, I was disappointed that I was unable to adjust the controls to suit my gaming style. Players may also have benefitted from a detailed map of each area. This would have been especially useful in Salem, taking into account its concealed routes and many hidden alleyways. It takes some time, but players’ efforts pay off as Murdered: Soul Suspect had a very satisfying ending. It was subtle and didn’t show the full extent of Ronan effectively “moving on.” (Although it was implied.)
I would highly recommend this game.
GAME COMPLETED 07/03/17
46/48 ACHIEVEMENTS (96%)
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*All screenshots from personal gameplay.