This is a late review because we thought we had no interest in Murdered: Soul Suspect. We saw it on sale online for just over £5 and had a free weekend so thought ‘what the hell, why not?’ and we’re so glad we did. The game is an absolute gem.
In an unusual but oddly clichéd plot, you take the role of a detective working in Salem who needs to investigate his own murder. Thrown out of a window and shot repeatedly, he’s most definitely dead but he finds himself awake and in a weird world between worlds where he can still see what’s going on in the present while also interacting with the ghosts, and occasionally places, of the past. The game focus on investigation, where you’re tasked with gathering clues, making connections and manipulating people into achieving your goals. The manipulations are by far the most entertaining part, where you can use ideas or clues to get them to reveal something they wouldn’t have otherwise done. There’s also an opportunity to play as a poltergeist but these are few and far between and oddly have little effect on most of the game.
Unfortunately it’s not all investigation and a few times throughout the eight-hour story you’ll find yourself faced by wraiths (clearly dementors). in these sections you have to try and creep up behind them to kill them, or you can hide in wisps of energy to stop them from chasing you. It’s annoying and occasionally difficult, with the enemies often turning around without warning, but thankfully there’s very few occasions where this happens and it doesn’t ruin the campaign. These sequences do highlight one of the cool little things about Murdered, that you can walk through most walls. Because you’re a ghost you can’t walk through certain exterior walls, you have to be invited in to buildings so there’s a logical explanation for the places you can’t go, but other than that you can walk through whatever you want to get what you want. It looks neat and helps with the immersion of being some kind of ghost. This means when you’re chasing the
dementors wraiths you can actually go straight through rules to sneak on them, adding a new element to the tried and tested stealth minigame.
The dialogue in Soul Suspect is functional rather than impressive, but the little stories you find are truly harrowing and absorbing. Often during an investigation you’ll find numerous other ghosts who need help finding something about how they died, or maybe there’ll be a part of the building’s history you need to look into. You can completely ignore these if you wish, but to be honest it’s where the best parts of the game are hidden. Early on you’ll find a girl who’s murder might seem unconnected to the sweet old neighbours, but delve into their secrets and you’ll find the horrifying truth. Even the boilers are disgusting.
The best part of the game is simply wandering around Salem and absorbing the world that’s been created. The graphics aren’t technically anything special, but there’s a lot of polish and throwbacks to film noir style detective mysteries so it oozes class and grime in equal measure. Occasionally there’s a frustrating option in dialogue or something you clearly need to do but can’t figure out and this can rip you out of the immersion, but when it all works together it works very, very well.
If you can pick up Murdered: Soul Suspect for cheap, we say go for it. It’s unique and does so much right that we’d love to see a sequel or spin-off with a greater variety of locations. Why not have one in a mountain lodge, or on the orient express or a cruise ship? We want more detective ghosts!