Back in 2010, a company known as Airtight Games released a game known as Dark Void. It was a game that quickly got the nickname of “The Rocketeer” since the main character is almost too similar to the movie’s main character. In the end, Dark Void was an okay game. It had some decent ideas, but the overall experience was a 6 out of 10. So, I was a little worried that their newest game, Murdered: Soul Suspect was going to be another letdown. As I watched the trailers and kept learning more about the game, I got excited. I decided to rent the PlayStation 4 version and check it out for myself. How does this game stack up? Is this ghost detective game worth going to the spirit world for?
You play as Ronan O’Connor, voiced by Jason Brooks, a detective who is trying to solve a case of murders happening in the town of Salem, Massachusetts. After he catches up to a suspect for the murders, Ronan ends up getting tossed out the window and shot to death. Ronan then comes back to the mortal realm as a ghost, and teams up with a young female medium named Joy Foster, voiced by Cassidy Lehrman. The two of you must go across Salem to find out who is causing all these murders. There are a few elements that I enjoyed about this game’s story. First off, the mystery did keep me invested up to the last level. I wanted to see who was causing these murders, and why they were doing it. Second, the main character, Ronan O’Connor is not that bad, but he isn’t too complex of a character either. He is not the worst character of this year, but there is just not much to him that we haven’t seen in so many other detectives. I wish we could have played a level or two of him from his past instead of getting a montage, but he isn’t one dimensional or anything. However, I do have some issues with the story, but I will talk about them later on in the review.
This game combines elements of L.A. Noire with the supernatural. Throughout the game’s seven or so hour-long campaign, you will be going across Salem, gathering clues that put together who is killing the young women in the town. As a ghost, Ronan can go into the bodies of civilians and read their minds, influence them to talk about what they saw in certain crimes, or if you possess a police officer with notes or someone on a computer, you can get a closer look at what is on the computer or on paper. You will need to find multiple clues within the game’s levels to solve the next part of the crime. There is a simple ranking system to each puzzle, so make sure you really put that thing you call a brain to work if you want to get the top rating for each puzzle. As you travel through the town, you might find some ghosts who are held back by something that happened to them when they were alive. These ghostly crimes act as side quests to mix things up a bit with this game’s other feature, demon killing. Throughout the game, you will encounter demonic spirits who can actually kill you if you let them hurt you enough. The only way to get rid of them is to come at them from behind, and pull off a button prompt to get rid of them. If they spot you, you have to hide and wait until it is safe to try and kill the demons again. Other than that, there isn’t much else with this game. Like I said, this game takes about seven hours to complete, and there isn’t much to come back to after this. Unless you were pulled into the story like you would be a movie, you might come back to it, but I personally doubt it.
The graphics are okay. It looks better than most games that have come out during the last console generation, but it isn’t next-gen-looking either. I played this on my PlayStation 4, and while it looks alright, I did spot some texture pop-ups, and I ran into a glitch that made me fall through the ground, which is a bit ironic since I am a ghost. The music for this game is forgettable, and that is a surprise to me, since this game’s composer is Jason Graves. For those that don’t know his name, he is the composer behind the Dead Space franchise, the new Tomb Raider, Alpha Protocol, and Rise of the Kasai. I honestly didn’t hear much music in the background of the game. The voice work is decent enough, and none of the actors involved put in a bad performance. They did what they needed to do, and it didn’t feel like they were phoning in any of the lines they spoke.
Unfortunately, this game has some issues. In terms of feeling afraid and immersed in this game’s world, I think Soul Suspect sort of fails in those elements. I was expecting this immersive horror-thriller story about the person who killed Ronan. The only time I felt scared was when you hear the screaming sound the demons make the first time around. Oh, and those demons had no point in the game’s overall story. They were just added in to give variety to the game, but since you take them out the same way every single time you encounter them, they get tiring and overstay their welcome. I also found some of the abilities you obtained to be a tremendous waste of time. It was, at first, cool to possess living people, but when they all say the same thing or share similar lines, it then becomes pointless and tedious. I also found some of the rules of being a ghost rather problematic. Why can I make certain spiritual pieces of architecture go away, but not all of them? Why can’t I phase through everything? Go into every building? Why can’t I take full possession of people and not just their thoughts? It makes me feel like the developer didn’t want you to break too many rules, so they put a huge amount of restrictions with your abilities, and they shouldn’t be doing that with a premise of you being a ghost detective. I also found the color palette and the town you travel through pretty bland and drab. There are no bright colors besides normal ghosts and demons, and the city is rather lifeless. It doesn’t help, with what I said earlier, that many of the townsfolk of Salem share a lot of the same thoughts. It felt like they were going to have more lines, but Airtight Games either ran out of money or they did this to be lazy. I also found the main villain’s end-goals rather questionable. I was actually very intrigued to see why the killer was doing such crimes, but when I got to the last level and found out, I was sorely disappointed. Not the worst ending, but definitely one that felt put together at the last minute.
If I could describe Murdered: Soul Suspect in one word, it would be “underwhelming.” This game had so much potential, but it seems like they once again didn’t take the idea far enough, and just kept it at the initial pitch that they put together. It isn’t the worst game of this year, but I feel like it isn’t worth the price that it is at right now. If you want to still check this game out, I would recommend renting it first and see what you think about it. Once again, these days, with how much games cost, we want to have a full-fledged experience with ideas that are taken to the fullest. I want to have that feeling that I paid good money for an overall fulfilling journey. We want a game’s creative premise to deliver a great experience, and this game’s premise didn’t do that. Check it out if you are curious, but you aren’t missing anything if you skip this ghostly tale.
This game gets a 5 out of 10.