Murdered: Soul Suspect is an action-stealth game developed by Airtight Games, published by Square Enix, and released in North American on June 3rd for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. The game focuses on Detective Ronan O'Connor, a law man who must solve the case of his own murder as a spirit wandering in limbo, or "Dusk", before he can join his deceased wife. The potential for greatness was there, and at last the community gets to see what came of it.
At the very beginning of the game, Ronan is defenestrated during a burglary while pursuing the ruthless serial-killer, the Bell Killer. Lying face down in the street after the fall, the detective is finished off with seven gunshots to the back, wounds that appear in bright gold on his otherwise silver, transluscent spirit body. Revived as a spirit, Ronan briefly meets his wife and receives the aid of Abigail, a young Puritan-era girl, who helps him understand his new found abilities and will follow him across the narrative.
On the ensuing hunt for clues about his killer, Ronan explores the modern town of Salem, Massachusetts, in all it's ghostly overlay, complete with its New England-style wooden houses, narrow streets, graveyard, gothic churches, museum, and (of course) mental asylum. Throughout the story the law man must battle demonic spirits and live harrowing flashbacks as he begins to discover the violent history of Salem and the motivation of his killer, buried far in the past.
To carry out his investigation the detective has access to a suite of supernatural skills, including possessing people to see and hear what they know, read their minds, or influence their thoughts. These activities, overhearing the living, is perhaps the most interesting part of the game. Ronan can also follow up on leads by walking through walls and teleporting around the city. Lastly, he can discover information by exploiting memories hidden in the Dusk or interrogating the dead that, like him, populate the streets due to their unfinished business in the living world.
Though the basic premise, that of a ghostly detective investigating his own murder, is highly intriguing, (certainly the trailer is one of the more interesting I've ever seen) in many ways the game manages to leave a lot of its promise unfulfilled. A generally linear story, poor combat, scant replay value, little character development, and lack of difficulty all detract from the innovative central concept. Overall, it seems like an ambitious project that falls somewhat short of making all its big ideas cohesive, leaving a simple game that has enough personality and charm to make up for its technical problems.
Murdered Soul Suspect can certainly be an enjoyable, memorable, and unconventional adventure, but only if the player doesn't go into it expecting greatness. It may be hard not to be disappointed by the game's unfulfilled promise, but it certainly isn't impossible.