mon 16/12/2019

Murdered: Soul Suspect | reviews, news & interviews

Murdered: Soul Suspect

Murdered: Soul Suspect

This ghostly detective adventure could have been intriguing…

'Murdered: Soul Suspect': A ghost of a good idea...

A detective ghost story with virtually no violence – Murdered: Soul Suspect is an odd construction. It is part point-and-click adventure game, part interactive fiction and part stealth-adventure – none of which are massively successful elements.

While investigating The Bell Killer, a serial killer working his way throughSalem,Massachusetts, your clichéd cop comes off the worse for an encounter. Thrown out of a high window, then shot, you come to as a ghost. Now, in order to be head off into the light, you must find out who your killer is.

As a ghost, of course, you no longer have access to guns or handcuffs or backup units. Instead it's brains and a few ghostly powers. You can possess people, not only reading their thoughts, but steering their eyes to look at specifically selected clues, or nudging them to get on with something important to do with your case.

Murdered Soul Suspect - L.A. Noire meets Heavy Rain point-and-click ghost adventureYou can also walk through walls – although this amazing power comes with too many caveats. You can only enter a consecrated building by an open window or door (most buildings inSalemhave been blessed); any wall or obstacle with a ghostly sheen is impenetrable to you; and you can't get passed demonic portals that routinely are placed to force your direction. The result is a narrow series of corridors you're funnelled down with limited options for exploration.

The decision to hand you brilliant powers and then hobble them isn't the only design misstep in what could have been an intriguing game. As well as having portals dumped around the game, demons themselves turn up that force you into a terrible stealth mode.

Murdered Soul Suspect - L.A. Noire meets Heavy Rain point-and-click ghost adventureYou can only kill demons when their back is turned, so sneak you must – the result adds little to the storyline but conveniently (for the game designers, rather than players) slows down progression. It'd have been better to have six hours of gripping story than ten hours of repetitive demon-dodging.

On top of that, the plotting and dialogue is terrible. If you threw every loner cop and faceless serial killer cliché into a big stew, the result would still be more emotionally involving than this. The puzzles, also, are a distinct let-down.

You're often told to investigate a scene for clues – most of these involve just walking up to something suspicious looking (a notice board with mugshots, a discarded gun etc.), but a few involve more work. Sometimes you have to choose the most important clue or sequence of clues to piece together a piece of evidence. But the items and order the games makers' want you to choose often seemed rather random, sometimes very obvious, sometimes very obscure.

You're not really penalised for getting it wrong but you end up feeling annoyed. This is something even the much-lauded L.A. Noire suffered with – often leaving the player feeling like they simply aren't a very good detective. Still, there's a serious lack of genuine puzzles or any attempt to match difficulty to player here.

The result is a game that's littered with interesting ideas, but let down by poor plotting, dialogue and design. Whodunnit? Who cares.

As a ghost, of course, you no longer have access to guns or handcuffs or backup units. Instead it's brains and a few ghostly powers

rating

Editor Rating: 
2
Average: 2 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters