The Average Gamer

Hands-on with Murdered: Soul Suspect

Murdered Soul Suspect - Sophia
Everything in Murdered: Soul Suspect has been put there for a reason. The supernatural detective mystery has stories everywhere, from a banana forgotten by a fruit bowl to a flickering television set in a hospital waiting room. Last month I spoke to writer Doug van Horne about how the story was influenced by films like Se7en and now I’ve had a chance to get hands-on with the game.

Playing as a ghostly detective investigating his own murder, you’ll find clues everywhere. The main story is very much a procedural drama, though you have access to far more powerful forces than a mere human policeman. You can possess people, looking through their eyes and using your own knowledge to influence their actions. There’s no direct control but by prompting them to focus on certain items or topics, you’ll get new information.

Each scenario is a stand-alone area to investigate. You don’t have to find every clue but doing so may help you understand the story better. In one section I played with a fellow journalist, we chased the killer into the home of a psychic investigator. Walking through the building we found lots of odd things, among them a missing persons report, a book about spirits and some drawings. Some were pertinent to the plot, others were simply an insight into the apartment owner’s life. Thankfully, there’s nothing on the level of L.A. Noire’s twirling of the same kitchen implements in crime scene after crime scene.

You can try to draw conclusions on what happened at any point in each scenario, though you’ll only be able to progress when you get it right. Going into conclusions mode pops up an interface of floating clues and the crucial question of the moment – in this case, why was the killer in this particular apartment? Your task is to pick the clues that answer that question. It’s not hugely difficult and you can work things out by trial and error. You won’t lose the game for picking the wrong thing. Murdered: Soul Suspect is about investigating and uncovering the mystery, not punishing you for the wrong interpretation. Some might see this as a failing. I like knowing that I won’t have to go picking up things I’ve already found just because I chose the wrong clue.

The game does occasionally throw up some syntax issues – in one case both I and my preview partner skipped over a clue described as “The Searching Killer” because we interpreted the clue as calling out the killer rather than the fact that he was searching. In another section, investigating a bush revealed “These bushes are too dark.” I read this as “Someone could have hidden here to do bad things” and not the intended “Go get the girl with the torch so you can see better”. Once you’ve played for a while and are used to the game’s style, this probably won’t be an issue. It doesn’t seem widespread, just a bit of potential for confusion.

Murdered Soul Suspect - Receptionist HelpWhen investigating, you really have to look at your surroundings to figure out what’s happening. Objects don’t twinkle to draw your attention. You’ll get a button prompt when you’re close to something you can investigate and it will generally look out of place, e.g. a bag that was abandoned partway through unpacking. Selecting it will yield either a collectible – complete each collection to reveal an old ghost’s cutscene from the area – or a clue to consider. Analyse clues by picking the right nouns from a collection that floats across your HUD. You’ll often find that you need to back out of the analysis screen to get another look at your clue. It’s a bit of an awkward interface that could get frustrating over time but it does force you to properly think about your clues instead of just clicking hotspots to progress.

There are action bits – it’s not all walking around peering at the scenery or jumping into people to read their thoughts. Certain areas are filled with demons that will kill you if you’re caught. Sneak up behind and you can execute them, or get your timing right and slip right through their patrols. You’ll sometimes find alternate paths around them as well, so tackle these sections however you want.

From the parts I’ve seen, people who really engage with Murdered: Soul Suspect will enjoy it. Airtight Games have built a credible and narratively consistent world filled with stories. You’re a ghost – drift through the walls to find extra rooms and sidequests or just power through the plot to reveal the story. It’s your investigation.


Murdered Soul Suspect - Quarantine Murdered Soul Suspect - Demons