Review

Salem, Massachusetts is renowned for his rich history dating back to the witch trials of 1692.   Although these witch trials only lasted just over one year, they are infamously remembered.  It is this rich history in which Square Enix’s Murdered Soul Suspect takes its cues and weaves a supernatural tale so fluidly, it will keep players guessing until the very end.

Murdered Soul Suspect is a supernatural detective murder mystery.  You are Ronan O’Connor, the murdered.  And the detective.  That’s right, you are trying to solve your own murder from beyond the grave.  As a spectral ghost, Ronan can not interact directly with objects in the real world, but he can possess people to read their thoughts, peek at what’s in their hands, or influence their memories.  These are the tools with which you will attempt to solve the mystery of your murderer.  Soon, however, you will find that this mystery goes much deeper than you ever expected.

Murdered Soul Suspect Screen (1)

Murdered Soul Suspect puts the story above everything else.  This is an incredibly intriguing story and it kept me guessing right to the end and even threw a few wrenches in there for good measure.  It is a slow paced game and one that contain no action whatsoever, save the occasional excising of demons who will try to suck your soul into oblivion.  Even this is just a matter of sneaking up behind them and performing a semi-quick time event.  Players looking for a fast paced action adventure will not find that here.  This is a detective mystery and a ghost story front and center.

The ambiance of the game is absolutely thrilling.  Although, as mentioned above, this is not an action game, there was still an amazing amount of hesitation as I made my way through each off the different environments.  The eerie sounds and whispers of the dead haunt the city around every corner.  Apparitions of the long ago deceased appear and disappear as you moved closer, always staring, never moving.  Fans of a good creepy ghost movie will enjoy the environments and atmosphere in Murdered Soul Suspect.  In fact, this is the kind of game that anyone can watch you play and enjoy it for the great ghost story.

Murdered Soul Suspect Screen (9)

While the game truly stands out as a fantastic story, it is, unfortunately, let down by it rather limited gameplay mechanics.  There was so much potential presented at the beginning of the game, but many abilities were rarely used.  Ronan is to use his abilities to possess people, read their minds, look at things in their hands, or influence their thoughts, in order to gather evidence in the case he is working.  Once the player has gathered all the clues from a scene, they are to piece the most important clues together to find an answer.  Players are rewarded with up to three gold badges depending on how many mistakes they make in their investigation.  Unfortunately, these gold badges mean nothing at all. There is no reward for getting it right and punishment for getting something wrong.  There is simply no way to fail an investigation.  In this manner, the game is extremely scripted and the player is only along for the ride.

Square Enix is never afraid to try something new and Murdered Soul Suspect is certainly something new.  It succeeds in weaving a compelling tale of the after life and pulls from Salem’s vast history of witchcraft and the supernatural.  It is a creepy and fascinating story.  Unfortunately the gameplay falls a little short and doesn’t take advantage of the different investigative tools given to the player.  In the entire story, I used the ability to “peek” only twice.  Possessing people and reading their thoughts provided no meaningful information at all to the story.  There is so much potential presented in this game, but it ultimately falls short into being not more than an interactive fiction.  Having said that, however, I would welcome a sequel to this game and hope to see these abilities utilized a great deal more.  Murdered Soul Suspect is a great “version 1” and leaves so much potential for a great new series of games.

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About the Author

Sean
Sean is an avid gamer and lover of all thing tech. He is a dedicated husband and the father to three beautiful daughters. In addition to taking his love of gaming to a new level with this site, Sean is also host of our podcasts: The OMG! Hour, Lost Treasures of Gaming, and Primetime as well as the bi-weekly podcast mashup show, Gamers Unscripted. Follow Sean on Twitter as @Xiantayne and this blog as @OMGnexus.