It’s easy to point out clichés in any sort of media. Videogames are no different. Putting ghosts and a murder mystery is what Murdered: Soul Suspect is all about. Taking place in Salem, Murdered stars detective Ronan O’Connor. Unluckily for Ronan, things aren’t looking up for him. He was just killed.
While death is usually a point of restarting a game, though, it’s only the starting point in Soul Suspect. O’Connor isn’t the type of letting the dust settle and even in death, for bizarre circumstances, his spirit is out and about in the corporeal world to find out just what the hell happened.
As a third person action adventure game, Murdered centers around discovering why Ronan was killed and just who was behind it, as well as giving a hand to his former police colleagues investigating his murder.
In order to uncover the turth, O’Connor has at his disposal a few tricks thanks to his ghostly form. Like any self-respecting ectoplasmic being, Ronan can walk through most walls. The catch to using this ability, though, is that Salem is a city built upon superstition, which can sometimes result in some buildings being protected by seals.
Other powers come in the form of possession, which is split into its own set of abilities that were shown during the E3 demo. Among them were looking through the eyes of certain characters, in order to read their case notes, or hearing, in order to listen to conversations that might yeld clues. The psychic power shown off during the demo involved influencing a witness and helping them piece together their story.
Piecing together previous events is also vital to O’Connor’s investigation – by finding physic imprint clues and organizing facts, he can then reconstruct his own shattered memories in regards to the events leading to his killing.
Ronan isn’t the only ghost in town – in fact, during the demo shown at E3, he runs into a couple of apparitions, both friendly and hostile. A lost girl, for instance, was looking for her discarded body, whose investigation leads to a ghastly discovery and a clue as to where to head out after going through his own crime scene. It was also hinted that only of these ‘spiritual quests’ will extend throughout the entirety of the game, through cryptic puzzles and interactions with a specific ghost character that seems to know more than what she first appears to.
Dusk demons stand in O’Connor’s way and pursued him intensely towards the second half of the demo, using the same kinds of powers Ronan has at his disposal. Combat isn’t Murdered’s aim, which puts the unlucky detective in difficult situations, forcing him to sneak past a demon or make smart use of his psychic powers in order to distract them. Square Enix didn’t go into much detail in regards to directly engaging any enemies directly, but the mostly indirect means of disposing of hostiles seemed to fit the theme rather well.
Although not particularly original in premise, Murdered: Soul Suspect seems to borrow some of the better aspects of investigation adventure games, as well from some story beats from supernaturally themed movies and TV shows. On paper, Murdered sounds like an extended Twilight Zone episode, which for all purposes is reason enough to be curious as to where Ronan’s investigation will lead, once it begins sometime during 2014, on the Xbox 360, PC and Playstation 3.