My job wandering around the E3 show floor was to check out games that didn’t have numbers stapled onto their names. You know the ones: Battlefield 4, Saint’s Row 4, Assassin’s Creed 17, and the like. With games like that, you can generally guess what you’re getting before you put the disc in your console. So the rather large booth over at Square Enix for Murdered: Soul Suspect had me intrigued. Square Enix hasn’t been afraid to step outside the bounds of normal games and take a gamble with both the Tomb Raider or Deus Ex reboots, so I was happy to head over and see what developer Airtight Games was showing. Who is Airtight Games? They’re the team who put together Dark Void and Quantum Conundrum, so take from that what you will.
In Murdered: Soul Suspect, you play as the unfortunately-named detective Ronan O’Connor, who within the opening sequence, is brutally murdered. Instead of rolling the credits there, however, Ronan comes back as a ghost, watching over the proceedings around the crime scene around his body in an effort to determine who killed him. While it sounds like this bare a striking resemblance to Capcom’s Ghost Trick, where you play a detective who comes back as a ghost to solve his own murder, Murdered: Soul Survivor seemed less of a light-hearted point-and-click adventure and more akin to a gritty, action-oriented LA Noire crime drama.
Murdered: Soul Suspect unfolds from a third-person perspective, where you control Ronan and have him move about the environment. He’s physically unable to interact with objects now that he’s just a spirit, but he can possess them to find out how they were last used. He can also possess people as well, which in the case of the demo, was extremely useful. An eyewitness at the scene of Ronan’s murder doesn’t realize the trivial detail she was holding back from the police is a key piece of evidence. With that information, Ronan is able to progress forward to continue the case while the police are stuck at that eyewitness.
Within Murdered: Soul Suspect, Ronan is stuck in the “Duskworld”, a bizarre place where ghosts and demons dwell stuck between Heaven and Hell. Ronan is able to interact with objects and people in this Duskworld, but he also has to contend with demons who were unable to reach Heaven and were driven mad. It’s these sequences dealing with these demons where the game speeds things up a bit and keeps the game from just becoming another point-and-click adventure.
Murdered: Soul Suspect is set in Salem, Massachusetts, and based on some of the demo I saw, Murdered: Soul Suspect will draw heavily from the town’s history in witchcraft and the occult. Ronan will be able to see areas in town that have been involved in terrible atrocities and interact with them in some way. While there are definitely side missions where Ronan can earn experience points to level up his detective abilities by helping out fellow ghosts reach the Great Beyond, it is uncertain to what extent these will play a part within the game.
It is unlikely Murdered: Soul Suspect will ever be a household name for the Call of Duty kiddies out there, for those folks out there who like their fun to be more intelligent and not require head shots, Murdered: Soul Suspect might be right up your alley. Murdered: Soul Suspect is due out sometime in 2014 for all the platforms you expect: Xbox 360, PS3, Xbox One, PS4 and PC.
For more details on Murdered: Soul Suspect, head over to the Airtight Games website!