Murdered: Soul Suspect - A Ghostly Review
Welcome to Salem, Massachusetts! Guess what? You're dead--but by whom? You know how, so let's get to investigating, shall we?
Square Enix has brought us a unique take on the crime-mystery genre with Murdered: Soul Suspect. It focuses around main character Ronan O'Connor, a detective with the Salem Police Department, and the mysterious Bell Serial Killer. Square Enix has incorporated the paranormal lore of Salem to bring a twist to detective work in a whole new way.
Our opening is a grand blend of visuals through memories of Ronan O'Connor, providing with you (the player) with information into his past. A reformed criminal, turned police officer who also is a widow. I can say for myself, I wasn't expecting that and found myself intrigued.
After you "awake," you're told to move around thanks to the prompts in the game. Ronan moves quite heavily as he doesn't understand what has happened quite yet. Once you move towards the door ahead of you and are prompted to turn the knob, you can't. Trying again, Ronan is knocked back by the old lady opening the front door, only to hiss in disbelief and immediately go back inside. It's at that point Ronan sees his body on the ground.
I found it quite interesting having to align Ronan's spirit with his own physical body. Is that what an "out of body" experience feels like? After the ghostly transformation and meeting Julie's spirit, the police arrive on scene. After following a ghost girl, you learn that you have ghost abilities and that there are demons. This is where you begin your investigation.
You must discover clues by observing your surroundings, reading minds, using peek (to look through someone's eyes), eavesdropping, influencing others, learn to teleport, including possession of a certain animal (I won't say) to move through places you normally can't--there's 14 abilities, known as powers, in the game. The game lets you know which functions you can use on a particular NPC--a living being or "roaming spirit".
Solving investigations isn't as difficult as it sounds, I must say. If you're observant enough to pick-up all the clues, you can pull them all together pretty easily. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed as I was hoping it would be much more difficult for me to solve--not that I'm a detective.
There are side cases that must be solved along with the main storyline. These side cases that you solve, allow the roaming spirits to have closure and finally move on. Some of these side cases give further inside details into Ronan's life before his death. These stories also give information into the world of Salem at every turn. Finding clues to specific items, you'll unlock the completed story that's played back as a flashback. Most are pretty grim.
Fighting & Demons?
Early on in the game, you learn that demons are souls who have lingered too long and will attempt to steal your soul. There is very limited combat in this game. The demons show up at random and vary on the number who arrive. I found it very easy to defeat them, and I was disappointed.
There are several ghost stories throughout the town of Salem. Upon discovering one item to a certain story itself, you must find the others to unlock its completed story played back to you in a flashback. Other lore give details to the rich history that once plagued Salem. Many of these can be found on the ground, walls, floors, and even as plaques. Using your ghostly powers is an asset when it comes to discovering some of these.
- A Watery Grave - 7 items
- A Bell Tower Banshee - 11 items
- The Stalwart Specter - 8 items
- The Heirloom - 13 items
- and many more...
Overall, I will say I was satisfied with the game. I found the paranormal, crime-mystery to be fun and interesting. I'll admit though that the paranormal world fascinates me, so when I first heard about Murdered: Soul Suspect, my curiosity peaked. I think this was a great attempt at something unique but I did find it lacking. I found the game to be way too easy in finding items and solving investigations. The "lack" of demons made it seem a bit slow for my taste.
If you're looking for a game that's different and enjoy paranormal lore, then I would recommend this to try out. I'm not disappointed on spending the money on launch day to play it. I certainly knew to expect something different and for that, Square Enix doesn't disappoint. A visually stunning game with wonderful writing.
Murdered: Soul Suspect is available now on PC, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4 and PS3.