Murdered: Soul Suspect has gotten rather unfairly beaten up in reviews. It’s essentially an exploration game, one that reminded me a lot of Gone Home but with a far more interesting story, because this one really was about solving a murder. As the recently deceased Detective Ronan O’Connor, the player has to run all over Salem, Massachusetts to uncover clues and solve the Bell Killer murder mystery that has plagued the town. I fully admit that it sounds a lot like the movie Ghost, but that’s no reason to preemptively hate it. Fact is, Murdered: Soul Suspect is the perfect game for the story-gamer.
The only action the player has to participate in is executing demons that roam the afterlife. The demons are former spirits that were never able to move on, so they’ve become demonic beings that do nothing but absorb other wandering souls. Of course, they can only be taken out via stealth, so running and hiding in other ghosts’ residues and patience are the only ways to defeat them. These things terrified the ever-loving bajeezus out of me. Every time I walked through a wall and heard one scream, my heart stopped and I made Ronan back track as fast as ghostly possible.
Here’s a bit from my review on ActionTrip.com:
Gameplay is roughly 90-95% exploration. You’re a detective, and that means doing detective things. You search for clues. You interrogate people, whether it’s by talking to ghosts or eavesdropping on police interrogations. You sort out the pieces of the puzzle, figure out what which clue is most important–not all of them are relevant, after all–and unravel what really happened in each situation. Sometimes Ronan will do this for the main story, and sometimes he will do this to help other ghosts solve their own predicaments.
Solving a case question is not difficult, especially if you do gather all of the available clues. But even if you guess wrong, you will not get a fail state. Instead, you have to try again, and you lose points for each guess. The fewer guesses you have to make, the more proficient Ronan’s detective skills become, making finding clues and drawing conclusions a slightly easier task. However, like I said, it’s not really difficult, so I couldn’t tell you if a severe deficiency in points significantly affects Ronan’s abilities. Considering that the primary focus of the game is to tell an interactive story, featuring a fail state of this type would remove the player too much from the experience and would be, if you think about it, kind of pointless.
Of all the clue hunting there was in the game, I loved the collectible hunting the most. Each area had its own set of collectibles, and if you found them all, you learned of a murder mystery or ghost story that occurred in that location. It had absolutely nothing to do with the story, but they were very entertaining tales, much like the stories told in Lost Odyssey, but at least I didn’t need a box of Kleenex for these.
And you know, I loved the collectible-hunting so much, I went back to the game and found all of my missing collectibles for that Platinum trophy. That’s how much fun I had with this game.
But don’t think that because I’m praising it that it doesn’t have any faults. The game isn’t perfect at all, and there were problems that drove me insane, such as the lack of an in-game map. I cannot tell you how much this would have been helpful.
If you like exploring and games that focus on story, then I cannot implore you to check out Murdered: Soul Suspect enough. It was such a welcome break from all of the action games available right now, and as a story-gamer, this was an absolute paradise for me.