Murdered: Soul Suspect Review
WHAT IS IT?
A third-person adventure game, where you play as a chain-smoking ghost detective in a fedora. There’s no guns, but you do get to possess a cat, which is much more fun. Overall though, it’s something of a mixed bag.
Ghost detective games aren’t, bizarrely, a unique concept. From the excellent Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective, so the equally brilliant Blackwell series, there’s plenty of them out there. Murdered: Soul Suspect differentiates itself by moving beyond the point and click style of the games mentioned, and into a third person adventure game. As detective Ronan O’Connor, it’s your job to track down a serial killer (coincidentally, the same person who killed you, and turned you into a wibbly wobbly ghost).
Along the way, you’ll meet other ghosts, helping them piece together their own deaths, so they can move on from their perpetual limbo. These sections are, for the most part, fun, and it’s deeply satisfying working out how and why the victims were killed.
Another neat trick is the ability to possess people, to solve these cases. They can be other detectives, victims, or murderers. Doing so gives you access to their innermost thoughts, and you can also affect the environment around them, something that is rather limited when you’re a ghost. Oh, and you can possess a cat too, accessing small spaces, and spamming the dedicated ‘meow’ button, which was undoubtedly my favourite part of the game.
Once you’ve collected all the evidence in a case, you’re presented with all the key bits of information, and have to pick and choose the pertinent data to solve the crime. There’s red herrings in there, to throw you off, but it’s not always clear what the game wants you to pick. Some of the evidence might seem really important, but doesn’t contribute to the final verdict. The game just doesn’t convey well enough what it expects you to choose.
Then there’s the stealth sections. Occasionally, an area will be patrolled by ghosts that are essentially the Death Eaters from Harry Potter. They want to end your ghostly existence, and you have to sneak around them. This mechanic seems half arsed and thrown together, leading to many frustrating game overs.
Lastly, there’s the game breaking bugs. In my playthrough on the PS4, I probably hit more than ten of these, having to exit to the title screen and load my last save each time.
QUIT OR CONTINUE?
For all its flaws, Murdered: Soul Suspect is at least trying something new. All of its problems can be overlooked if you’re willing to be patient and accept going in that there are going to be niggles. With a campaign of around 6 – 7 hours, it doesn’t outstay its welcome. However, if you’re easily frustrated, steer well clear.
Also, you get to play as a cat. Did I mention that?