The upcoming Murdered: Soul Suspect is a bit of a change from the usual Square Enix fair. It’s not a fantasy RPG, you are not an assassin and you don’t thieve stuff from tombs.
It’s a supernatural detective game set in the infamous US town of Salem.
I recently played through the first hour of the game which sets up the plot and serves as an introduction to the gameplay.
Whilst following up on a lead to the location of the murderer known as The Bell Killer, Detective Ronan O’Conner is overcome by his prey and quickly finds himself standing over his own dying body.
After trying in vain to “get back in” his body - yes, you have control as he tries to line himself up with his stricken body, the ghostly Ronan observes the killer as he uses his own sidearm to finish the job.
Stuck between the world and the hereafter know in the game as Dusk, Ronan must find his own killer or else be imprisoned in limbo forever.
A ghostly little girl explains to the spectral protagonist, in lieu of the usual dry tutorial, that he now has special abilities based on the skills he had when alive. He can also walk though some objects. He can’t enter or leave a building unless a window or door is open, but once inside he is free to move through walls as he wishes.
People can’t see him, but you can get him to interact with others, reading their minds or possessing them. You can see other ghosts that “live” in the buildings. I frightened one who asked me if I wanted to give him another heart attack. I also engaged in a conversation with the victim of an accidental suicide; who having changed his mind, knocked his radio into the bath as he tried to get out which electrocuted him. It was a darkly amusing exchange, but I’m not sure how far they are going to go with the black humour.
Whilst the game didn't have much in the way of action, I did come across some horrifying (and I mean that as well) soul-eating demonic spirits. You have to use your ability to see though walls in to sneak up behind the patrolling demons in order to dispatch them.
The meat of the preview session was in the actual detective work. First off Rohan needed to find clues in the environment. Think L.A. Noire, if you know the game. The clues could be physical evidence, like a document or one of ethereal snapshot in time the Ronan can uncover. Picking the right clue to solve what happened triggered a cut scene that allowed the investigation to proceed.
The game looked fairly good on the PS4 and it was certainly interesting. But, an hour isn’t a very long time to get acquainted with a game, especially a new franchise like this. What I saw dispelled my less than favourable preconceived thoughts on the premise, but I’d still need to experience a lot more of the game in order to form any sort of opinion on it. Definitely one to watch, though.
Murdered: Soul Suspect will be released in New Zealand on 5th June for Windows PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.