There are not a lot of games for me out on the PS4 yet, so I was pretty keen to get Murdered: Soul Suspect, despite rumour of some less-than-favourable reviews. I received my copy in the post last week, and promptly installed it to take a look. I was pretty happy with what I saw.
The game is about a detective (Ronan O’Connor) who is investigating a serial killer. Ronan runs into said serial killer during his investigation and things end badly, with Ronan falling out a fourth-floor window and being subsequently shot seven times. He quickly realises he’s dead, but his spirit is still in the mortal realm (sort of). Some hints from his deceased wife suggest he needs to resolve his unfinished business before he can join her in the afterlife.
Ronan then continues his investigation from the spirit world, meeting a teenage girl, Joy, who can see spirits. It’s reminscent of the pairing up of Joel and Ellie in The Last of Us (but with less bricks and bottles). Together they hunt to find Joy’s mother, and get to the bottom of the Bell Killer situation.
I can see how some people might not enjoy this game, because the emphasis is more on exploration, investigation and puzzle-solving. There is not a huge amount of action, with the exception of running away from or exorcising demons, which are pretty scary actually.
However, the game really appeals to me, and I worked my way to the halfway point in just a couple of playing sessions because I was enjoying it so much. I liked the novelty of it being something different; I liked the spiritual setting; and the mystery surrounding the Bell Killer and the other events really drew me in.
I do have a few criticisms though. Firstly, I’m worried it will be very short. I’m at the halfway point now I think, and it’s only been probably 8 hours of gameplay. Secondly, there doesn’t seem to be any replayability to the game. I’ve missed a few clues here and there, and I can’t see a way of replaying those sections to get 100%. Which leads me to my third criticism: you can easily choose a wrong clue, and miss out on getting a perfect score on that section. This makes me want to use a walkthrough to satisfy my completionism, but I don’t want to spoil the fun of just wandering around, figuring things out. I guess if it’s a short game, I can replay it from the start again to get 100% on everything.
Another couple of annoyances are that you can’t save manually, and the game relies solely on autosaving, which works fine when you are in the open world, but not during an investigation. You will lose progress if you stop part way through the investigation. Also, the graphics glitch now and then – you might get a graphics flare that sticks to the screen after you pass a window, for example. You can usually clear that by going into the menu, but it’s a silly bug that shouldn’t be there. One other thing I’ve noticed is that even if you collect one of the many collectable items around the place, sometimes it will still show up with an indicator (a gold glow), suggesting you haven’t picked it up. A bit annoying if you are trying to find something you’ve missed. Also, targeting an item to see if it’s collectable is a bit hit and miss too, and they don’t always have the gold glow. However, you’ll get to recognise what a collectable is from it’s slightly brighter colour, in an otherwise grey and shadowy world.
Those criticisms aside, which I consider minor, the game is visually quite stunning, especially when you encounter a section of the spirit world where the modern era and the past cross over. I also enjoyed the various methods at your disposal for gathering information for your investigation. For example, you can possess a person to read their mind, or to influence them to do something (such as show a clue you need). You can also possess cats to get you through small areas and to jump to heights. Later in the game you learn to teleport.
All up, I would recommend this game to those gamers who are keen to try something a bit unconventional that isn’t focused on the more mainstream shooting and slashing action. If you like a good murder mystery, then Murdered: Soul Suspect is definitely for you.