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Murdered: Soul Suspect - Review by Andy Urquhart (PS4)

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Murdered_soul suspect 42levelone

 

Murdered: Soul Suspect is a third person action adventure game putting you in the shoes of a ghost attempting to solve your own murder and achieve passage to the other side, basically you are in limbo. This concept may sound a bit naff on paper but in a world full of big open worlds like Watch_Dogs it’s a genuine revelation to play something this refreshingly different. Yes there are open world elements in here and yes there are collectables within, but they are handled in such a way that each one adds backstory to something going on within the game or the backdrop against which it is set, the Salem witch trials. Basing the game in Salem against the backdrop of the witch trials and all the lore that comes with them immediately gives it that creepy vibe

That’s not to say the game is set in the past, it’s very much set in the present day, you play as Ronan O’Connor a detective with awesome tattoos (each of which has an interesting story behind it that is explained as the game goes on) who has just been murdered by an unknown assailant. You must investigate the crime scene by way of possessing and influencing people and following clues based on various spectral elements left behind. Think L.A. Noire’s investigation parts but without the little dings and you will have a good idea of the investigation portions. Once you have investigated a fair portion of the clues you can attempt to solve the crime scene via way of a word minigame (much more fun than a crossword) and if successful you will progress on to the next lead.

In between the various crime scenes there is a sizeable (albeit slightly confined by ghost walls) open world to explore with the afformentioned collectables to find and some side quests to complete. These take the form of attempting to help other specific ghosts (of which there are many of just wandering around) achieve their peace in the world and complete their unfinished business in order to pass on.

This game is a very cool concept, like nothing I've ever played before, from finding and revealing clues leading to mini flashback type events to possessing and controlling a cat. These cat sections are one of the worst parts of the game, the cat doesn’t exactly play like you would expect a cat to and it is slightly jarring (and very clunky) at first but it is such a small part of the game (unless you are attempting to collect everything) that it doesn’t matter that much in terms of the overall scope of the game. And it’s a bit of fun, you are controlling a cat after all, so try not to take it too seriously.

And as for the demon sections, these feel like they were thrown in to add longevity to the game and stop you getting to the next section too quickly. They are a nice change of pace from the detectiving but not really necessary, I would’ve happily played through without any demons and the game would have been better for it. These demons which can kill you very easily, and can only be killed by sneaking up behind them and performing a takedown. And if a demon happens to spot you? Running away and hiding by teleporting between the ghostly pockets that litter the areas is your only option. Though these sections are probably the weakest element of the game it is quite satisfying sneaking up and taking down a demon.

Graphically Murdered really sings on the PS4, it is a gorgeous game. Ronan in particular has clearly had a lot of attention to detail put in, the world is well realised and it really looks and feels like a next gen world built just for the PS4/Xbox One. (Yes I know the game is available on last gen as well but it just looks so damn nice!) And yes as with any open world (ish) game there are one or two glitches here and there like for example for some reason my current objective was “Exit the attic” for the entire game. This is something you complete within the first half hour of the game. Voice acting is yet another strength with realistically cast actors playing genuinely believable characters only adding to the immersion.

In addition to having awesome graphics the story is fantastic, it will keep you guessing and really drives you forward through the game. Dead wives, corrupt cops, bureaucracy, murders, suicides, this game has it all and more. Playing as a ghost opens up many cool gameplay mechanics, walking through, walls teleporting, possession all are a far cry from the “oh here’s an upgrade for your gun” approach that so many games take these days. Each time you unlock a new power it genuinely changes up your gameplay experience and gives you that bit more freedom and ease of movement.

In addition to the main storyline there are also various ghosts wandering around in need of your help these take the form of side quests to help other ghost find peace  and in turn to pass over. These are very well done mini investigations but there are only 5 of these in the game, so they wont take you that long to get through, I for one was wishing for more of these to open up.In addition to this there is a metric ton of collectables to find/investigate. Each of which add a little backstory to either something that is happening in the story, something to do with the witch trials or indeed background on Ronan’s past. These all helk in fleshing out the game and making it an attractive package. However please take heed that once you progress to the final area you cannot return to Salem to find the remaining collectables, so if you are so inclined make sure you collect everything before completing the game. In fairness the game does warn you of this but having an option to explore Salem post game would have been nice.

Overall Murdered: Soul Suspect occupies ground somewhere between L.A. Noire, Messiah and Beyond: Two Souls. Personally I came into it immediately on the back of finishing Watch_Dogs and to me this game was an absolute breath of fresh air littered with memorable moments like seeing a ghost train barrelling through a bathroom. Yes the load times when you die are a little too long however there are very few otherwise, yes the cat mechanics are clunky and the demons are a little annoying at times but none of that matters when it’s all presented in such a beautiful format with a truly immersive storyline and very strong immersive gameplay (outside of the cats and demons). I clocked around 20 hours during my playthrough and did not feel bored once (looking at you Watch_Dogs), an absolute joy to play.

Murdered: Soul Suspect is available now on PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.

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The Good

  • Wonderful atmosphere
  • Compelling story
  • Vastly different from the majority of games available for current gen
  • Being a ghost

The Bad

  • Cat physics are wonky
  • No replayability due to having no save files

Overall Score - 82%