This review is on the Xbox 360 version.
For a reaction on the first hour of gameplay, check out the previous review the author did on this game. The reader might find similarities between the previous review and this review.
‘Murdered: Soul Suspect’ is a thriller-detective game made by ‘Airtight Games’ and published by ‘Square Enix.’ The player takes control of the deceased Detective Ronan O’Connor. In the town of Salem, Massachusetts, a serial killer known as the Bell Killer is terrorizing the town with a string of murders of young girls. Ronan must uncover the identity of his killer in order to pass on into the afterlife, or be doomed to wander the streets of Salem as a ghost.
Story and Plotline
This game was largely developed for its story line. Most people love a good mystery, and this game tries to deliver. Tries. Between gameplay and story, this game is heavily based more so around its story—which is okay! Sadly, while the attempt was noted, it just fell short of feeling totally complete. The plotline progresses nicely at first and the player gets a feel for the characters and their developments, but the ending seemed… dropped. Coming to the conclusion was a little predictable, tied on with a little bow that is precariously perched. Those who are familiar with cookie-cutter-mystery recipes might feel the same way, others may not. It is all about the perspective, experience, and optimism of the gamer.
There were a few side quests throughout the course of the game, but not as many as some would like. Most of the side quests were playable during the time of the story line objective. It’s not impossible to find these items, but there’s hardly a great reward for doing so. When the player finds all of the ‘pieces to a story,’ they will activate a very short cutscene and the spirits t be involved will move on. That’s it. No additional rewards, no bonus points or upgrades. Just a pat on the back and a, “You did good, kid” (not really).
‘Murdered’ certainly gives the overall creepiness of the town without any trouble, and the graphics largely have something to do with that. But there are major glitches and texture issues that can be very distracting for the player. Certain things that were destroyed or completed previously, reappear later on. This creates a lot of confusion for the gamers, and interrupts them from immersing themselves into the town of Salem. Certain areas of the game have more glitches than others do. This also includes Ronan’s walk cycle lagging, being just out of reach to interact with items, objects reappearing after use, etc..
In certain parts, background characters’ features may appear to be missing, mostly their limbs.
Hint: In the cemetery area, find the two people trying to break into a mausoleum. Walk into that mausoleum. Note the twitchy hands that are phasing through the wall. Observe the spectacle and move on.
These instances are a regular occurrence. Practice patience.
Mechanics and Controls
This game operates as a third-person adventure/stealth style. There are two important action portions of the game: finding clues and hiding from demons, then exorcising them. The problem with this is that the precision of the search mechanics does not translate over to the demon infested areas too well.
The game requires absolute precision on where you want Ronan’s attention to be, it gives you such a small target area to focus on that can make moving around more frustrating that it already is. It can be easy to miss certain details if they aren’t already in the player’s face. Most investigations are straight forward, but there will almost always be that one clue that slips under the player’s nose. Certain areas require the player to find all of the clues, others do not.
The demon mechanics in general is jaw-grinding. In most fighting sequence games, you do have to aim at your target in order to do some damage, but you normally aim in a general area (at least with sneaking games that don’t require aiming a gun or a precision weapon). Even if Ronan is right behind the demon, exorcising the demon might not work if he’s too close. Then the demon turns around, does that terrifying screech, and Ronan has to go play hide and seek until the demon gives up. These guys are sometimes very difficult to lose, and their ability to spot Ronan is frustrating; despite the fact that the controls do not make it any easier to on the player’s behalf. The player will get used to it after some time, while they are rolling their eyes and clutching their fists.
Also, during the graveyard level in this game, it repeated previous cutscenes. It could have just been this copy of the game, or a serious mishap with the Xbox 360 version.
The game had potential, it really did. But it just fell short of how great it could have been. If you are in the mood of playing a creepy thriller with a noir twist, give this game a go. You might be surprised, or not. Atmosphere is down for the most part, but overall, the controls to not transition from the inspecting mode to the stealth/combat mode. If you decide to play this game, play it for the story, not for skill.
- Different concept
- Ghost mechanics: possessing, walking through walls, teleporting, etc.
- Spot on atmosphere
- Interesting design
- Based after Salem Witch Trails
- Demons may or may not freak you out (could be a con depending how you look at it)
- Possible repeating cutscenes
- Some texture issues
- Stereotypical plot line structure
- Story did not always translate over to controls very well
- Frustrating accuracy needed
- A lot of creepy noises and overworked violins, hardly any memorable soundtrack