Saturday, July 05, 2014
Our #1 Soul Suspect
Another new game that I've had the benefit of checking out. It surprised me that Airtight Games has so recently shuttered its operations. It's honestly a shame, but here's a look into their most recent and final release.
Murdered: Soul Suspect is a game that honestly sort of popped up on me. You play as Ronan, a cop recently murdered almost out of the blue while on a case. He's a tattooed bad guy gone good gone ghoul with a someone dry sense of humour. While looking for his killer, you also trip up over another, very pertinent case: a series of murders perpetrated by the Bell Killer. Along the way, you meet a young, hardheaded psychic named Joy who's looking for her mother. As you can guess, your paths intertwine, and you have to put together the clues by communicating with the living and the dead.
Before giving some general feelings about the game, I want to say that you have opportunities for some side quests here. There are collectibles in this game (tonnes of them) that can tell little stories about previous murders/deaths or just the history of the scene around you. You can completely ignore the side quests and the collectibles, but it's always fun to check out the little details. You can also help some of your undead fellows by assuaging some of their fears (, jealousies, and other nibbling, lingering emotions). There's a situation where there's a girl looking at her previous fiancée and his new love. She believes that he was cheating on her, that he never loved her, so she committed suicide. By possessing the living couple, you can read their minds and gain clues to find out whether her unsteady feelings were true or if there's more behind the story.
The clue gathering system does require you to pay a bit of attention. There's a keyword cloud system, for lack of a better way to explain it, that makes you string together words to guess the emotion behind a ghostly still you see before you. An example of that would be if you see the cat hissing, the keyword cloud would pop up, and you could guess "frightened", "retreating", and "hostile". Sometimes, it's very simple, but sometimes there are some stills or noises that can make it just a little confusing.
Your main enemies here are demons. They're hideous, jittery creatures who'll steal your soul in a minute. You can distract them, but ultimately, you'll need to creep behind them and exterminate them. A ghost Ghostbusting in a way? Unheard of. The demons announce themselves in the area with a ghastly screech, and you have the chance of hiding in ghost holes (oh dear) to avoid being seen. But if you startle a demon, it will visit each hole to try and sniff you out. Another enemy type/obstacle are the hellholes that you can somewhat see in the picture. They're black with a hellish center (not delicious), and if Ronan accidentally walks over it, hands will pull out of the portal to try to drag him down to hell. If you're able to, you can walk around them easily. If not, you might be able to possess a nearby mortal to get over them.
You can interact with the living by possessing or influencing them, oooh~, but you can also mess with the inanimate. Not to any great detail, but Ronan has a 'poltergeist' abilities that can jostle certain objects. This can either help you when escorting your companion Joy or when you need to distract a human to possess them.
All in all, I did like the game. I wouldn't say that it's a number one hit of the year because it had some pretty predictable moments to it. But the ending twist was actually pretty decent. You, as a player, can guess things full scenes before Ronan ever does. But because of that, it just makes it easier for you to traverse through the game (and you can also interrupt yourself with side quests should they ever pop up). The game has some deliciously dark moments to it, which I do greatly appreciate. There are times when you get to see the murder happening, especially as you gather more clues. So if your sense of empathy is strong, be careful when playing this game, haha.
Murdered: Soul Suspect is not the most riveting of games, but despite that, it has a lot of interest to be found. It is an entertaining and well lain game. The problems I have with it are admittedly few (namely the camera rigging sometimes), but I still recommend playing it. A shame to see another game company close so soon, but at least they left on a very good note.
Murdered: Soul Suspect is rated M for Mature and is available on PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Steam for Windows.