Murdered: Soul Suspect Review – PS3

Murdered: Soul Suspect was released on June 3rd, for PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PC.  This review is based off of the PS3 version. The game was developed by Airtight Games and published by Square-Enix. A review code was not given for review purposes.

In Murdered: Soul Suspect you play as Ronnan O’Connor, a Detective in Salem, Massachusetts, trying to crack the case of the Bell Killer.  The thing about Ronnan is that he’s dead and you are playing as his ghost.  The game opens with the protagonist being killed by a hooded figure.  Being dead, you can not be seen or heard by the cops examining your body.  Desperate for clues and what the police might know, you start to examine the crime scene.  Here is where the core of the game starts to take shape.

Not being able to physically interact with items to examine them, the best Ronnan can do is just get a good look at the clue.  Other than just observing the environment, Ronnan can also possess key people and read their minds.  This often results in a quick dialogue that adds to the pile of evidence you have already collected, metaphorically speaking.  When enough clues are found, you are given the option to solve the mystery at hand.  These “mysteries” range from solving a death to getting on an NPC’s good side.  Your reward for finding these answers are directions on where to go next, so the same process can be repeated.  If it seems like this is monotonous, you are correct.

Salem is a small open-world hub that connects key locations you will be traveling to throughout the story.  With this town’s long and sordid past, you will come across other ghosts and spirits.  You will even be blocked by the apparitions of buildings and walls long demolished or burned down.  The ghosts are usually the most interesting to interact with.  Some are not taking their new home in limbo well, and others seem to be creepily comfortable and take pleasure in observing the actions of the still living.  A few side missions involve helping deceased phantoms solve the mystery of their death, allowing them to pass on.

There are a smorgasbord of collectables.  One could argue that the game is made up entirely of collecting stuff.  In the main story it’s random and miscellaneous clues.  The town is full of plaques, newspaper clippings, personal notes from your wife, and ghostly images that explain your character’s troubled past.  When you visit story-centric areas in the game, there are specific items to collect that will tell a cool ghost story if you find all the missing pieces.  These haunting tales were a pleasant surprise in that each one left me with a chill.

For those looking for a little action in their puzzle-solving collectathon games, there is combat.  Don’t get too excited because it’s poorly done stealth combat.  Ghost demons will appear here and there in the game, and will never be anything more than an annoyance.  With a little patience, these speed bumps in the game’s progression can be dealt with quickly.  I do recommend taking care of these guys right away so that you may freely explore the areas they are haunting.

I have to admit that I was very skeptical of the negative reviews the game was receiving upon release.  I couldn’t understand how a game, a new IP for that matter, with such a cool concept would get such middle-to-low marks.  Then I played it and I get where they are coming from.  As mentioned, the game is just a series of go here, collect stuff, solve puzzle, and repeat.  Some of the clues at the scenes had fun little mini-games attached to getting them and I actually enjoyed those because it broke up the monotony.  The voice acting, in general, was okay.  The narrated ghost stories were phenomenal.  The story did not blow me away like I expected it to.  If there is one thing I took away from this game, the developers came up with a really cool concept.  I would be interested in seeing what they would do with a sequel, but that would require the success of a title that, rightfully so, isn’t worthy of a second chance.

About the author

30-something married guy living in a suburb of Chicago. Have 2 dogs, love playing video games, enjoy reading and writing about said games, and sipping on a nice cold beer.