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Murdered: Soul Suspect Review

Replay Value:
Overall Rating:
Online Gameplay:
Not Rated
Square Enix
Airtight Games
Number Of Players:
Release Date:
June 3, 2014

Murdered: Soul Suspect is an example of a game that knows what it wants to be, but keeps losing focus due to an inconsistent presentation. Everything about the production is uneven, from the unimpressive technical aspects to the underwhelming characters, and yet, it has a solid foundation. Developer Airtight Games strives to produce a compelling, even unique mystery, and despite the obvious flaws, the adventure has its high points. It’s simply a matter of whether or not you can overlook the drawbacks and focus on the positives.

Graphically, I expected more. I was hoping for a mystical, haunting world that reinforces the fact that the protagonist is indeed dead. As a ghost, you can wander through walls on a whim and explore to your heart’s content. The problem is that the atmosphere feels decidedly uninspired and at times, even bland and empty. There just isn’t enough going on most times, and there’s a distinct lack of polish and detail in the game’s overall design. In brief, there isn’t anything to write home about here, although I did appreciate a few of the more otherworldly special effects.

The sound is a bit better, thanks to a few decent voice performances and an effective, dramatic score that complements the game’s overarching theme. Even so, that soundtrack is occasionally a little too insistent upon itself, and not all the voices are up to snuff. This is another example of the aforementioned unevenness that pervades the entire production, and it gets a little frustrating. While the audio isn’t bad, per se, it does little to elevate the game, and you’re only reminded of the fact that you’re playing the epitome of a missed opportunity. At the same time, I have no especially serious complaints concerning the technical elements.

You play as Ronan, a former hoodlum who is now a cop. The tattoos that liberally adorn his body tell the story of his past, which is a mildly interesting twist. At the start of the game, Ronan gets tossed out of a window by a hooded assailant, which results in the untimely death of our hero. However, Ronan’s ghost rises from the corpse of his former body, and he’s out to solve the mystery of his own murder. It’s an excellent idea for a dark, quirky thriller, although I will reemphasize that it’s not entirely unique: Shadow of Destiny for the PS2 used a very similar story, although that was more of a strict adventure game.

Anyway, one can’t help but be encouraged by such an intriguing beginning. This story’s promise is undeniable and provided we have an interesting, complex protagonist, we… Oh, wait. Unfortunately, Ronan is little more than a generic caricature of your stereotypical tough guy. He has his moments – as does the gameplay – but for the most part, Ronan is underdeveloped and as a direct result, we quickly lose interest in his motives and actions. This is a big problem, because how can we care about the main character’s killer when we don’t care about the main character? At this point, I was relatively convinced I would very much dislike Soul Suspect .

Thankfully, though, things get better. The game revolves around piecing together the mystery of your death, and finding the clues is quite entertaining. Furthermore, you occupy the same strange purgatory existence as other ghosts, and they’re sticking around for the same reason you are: They’ve got unfinished business to attend to. As such, you can find clues concerning their deaths as well, and this adds to the fun. It doesn’t feel like sticking your nose into the lives of others (as it often does in Watch Dogs ); rather, it feels like you're helping lost souls find peace. It feels like a noble, even divine venture, and I enjoy doing it.