PS4 - 59
Xbox One - 50
IGN - 5.5
There are some great concepts in Murdered: Soul Suspect, but they feel undercooked or underutilised, and the lack of demand for any real input from us makes Murdered feel like a pick-a-path game where there’s only one path. It scrapes by on the power of its central whodunnit mystery, but I can’t help but feel that Murdered: Soul Suspect is ten hours worth of unfinished business.
I gave it a huge chance and pushed through the bitterness of everything listed above, but it was at that point I’d detected that Airtight Games had sprung a leak in its hull, and it’s a real shame. The concept and setting here were ripe for out-of-left-field explosiveness, but due to a lack of direction and capitalisation, and likely a small budget, all we’re left with is a lifeless game that fails to live up to its potential.
Murdered: Soul Suspect is one of the most surprisingly good games I’ve played in a long time. It manages to sell its bizarre premise and builds a solid, moving story out of it, and the plot-propelling investigations add immensely to the detective feel. Walking around as a ghost is clever and entertaining, and it even manages to inject variety into some of gaming’s most overused elements.
There's space in this genre to be sure - only LA Noire has come close to presenting an engaging, police-based, modern point-and-click adventure - but any new contenders need to pay far more attention to the actual police work underpinning them. Without doing so the conclusion we'll keep deducing is that crime may not pay, but it sure is tedious to bring to justice.
It's still a great looking game, and the core narrative is a fun, if underdone and derivative one. It's simply disappointing that this game had a reasonably large budget, and in the process it lost some of its identity and seems to be shoehorned into some very unnecessary and destructive mechanics. This game would have been far better off being made for a fraction of the budget by a small team willing to take real risks.
At first glance, Murdered: Soul Suspect feels like it almost had it all - an engaging story, challenging puzzles, tough action and a good amount of side quests to round everything out. But that all quickly becomes as transparent as Salem's undead population when you realize Soul Suspect's attempts to stand apart are lackluster at best. It's not the worst adventure title out there, but it's really, really hard to recommend it to anyone.
The game doesn't do much with any of this potential, however. So if you're in the mind for a tense, murder-driven adventure game, I would just recommend dusting off a copy of something like Heavy Rain instead.
That said, the mystery at the heart of Murdered really is excellent, and putting the pieces together crime scene by crime scene should satisfy many an armchair sleuth. The hidden ghost stories are well worth finding, and though Ronan is a bit of a dull fish, the people who surround him are worth getting to know, however briefly. With some truly great ideas and some unfortunate choices, Murdered: Soul Suspect and its ghostly hero is neither heaven nor hell, but something in between.
It's really sad to see Murdered: Soul Suspect die on its feet. There's some interesting characters and backstory, as well as some really great visuals (depending on what or who you're looking at), but the game's strengths are haunted by mediocre gameplay and substandard production values. You won't feel any cleverer having solved Soul Suspect's mystery, nor will you feel tested by its combat; it's a death that's all the more depressing because of how quickly you'll forget it.
Murdered: Soul Suspect is definitely a qualified success. The richness of the atmosphere and charismatic lead performances pulled me through the story. That paired with a solid, no-frills investigation mechanic helped mitigate some of the technical problems and the sadly tacked-on demon hunting sequences. It's a distinctly average experience, but it has enough going for it that I'm glad I was able to conquer the bugs and see it through.
Overall, Murdered: Soul Suspect is a bit of fresh air in a gaming world where sequels are prevailing. It’s not balls-to-the-wall action, but it certainly is perfectly paced, well written and a joy to experience. You won’t be upset if you give it a try.
A game where sadly the idea is a lot better than the execution, especially given the low budget visuals and mediocre script.