Interesting aspects to SquareEnixâ€™s detective game where you play the ghost of a murdered police trying to solve his own murder is that sometimes you get to possess cats.
Set in the town of Salem â€“ well-known in American lore for being the home of witches and witchcraft â€“ Murdered Soul Suspect opens with detective-with-a-shady-past Ronan Oâ€™Connor being thrown out of a house window then brutally murdered by a masked serial killer nicknamed the Bell Killer by Salemâ€™s local police department. Oâ€™Connorâ€™s ghost wears the five glowing bullet holes in his torso like a badge of honour and before he can join his murdered wife Julia in heaven, he must uncover who the Bell Killer is.
As Oâ€™Connor explores the town of Salem, he uncovers a tale steeped in witchcraft and with the help of the daughter of a missing clairvoyant tries to find out why the Bell Killer is doing what heâ€™s doing (murdering people).
For a game based on witches and rituals, Murdered Soul Suspect wasnâ€™t as scary as I was expecting and it doesnâ€™t feature a lot of combat, either.
Actually, it isnâ€™t scary at all as the only real threat to Oâ€™Connorâ€™s ghostly form are demons that appear from time to time â€“ usually when he has to exit a building heâ€™s just explored or a building heâ€™s about to investigate. The demons â€“ tormented souls trapped on earth â€“ are more of a nuisance than anything, although they canâ€™t be taken head on: Oâ€™Connor must approach them stealthily, from behind, often hiding in conveniently placed spirits dotted around environments.
Sneaking up behind a demon without being caught activates a quick time event (on PlayStation you pull the R2 button then have to match the on-screen stick and button combination). If you mess it up â€“ or they spot you before youâ€™ve managed to get it â€“ theyâ€™ll chase him until eventually sucking the will from him, and you return to the last check point. The demons arenâ€™t hard to kill: Just annoying.
Most of Murdered Soul Suspectâ€™s game play involves examining crime scenes and piecing together clues about happened in a particular environment. At certain points, Oâ€™Connor will have to determine what order specific events happened, based on the clues heâ€™s uncovered. Each clue he solves, obviously, leads him closer to the identity of the Bell Killer.
Being a ghost has great advantages, mostly in that Oâ€™Connor can pass through most walls in his search for clues, except those that have been consecrated: He canâ€™t pass through those.
But back to the cats. At certain points, controlling a cat is a lot of fun, especially in in the first 1/4 of the game where you guide a possessed cat through the grounds of Salemâ€™s church to reach the attic where Ronan first meets Joy, the daughter of the missing clairvoyant. There are other times you can possess a cat, but often itâ€™s just to be able to climb up scaffolding so you can reveal a collectible.
I played the PS4 version but to be honest I didnâ€™t blow me away graphically. Murdered Soul Suspect looks nice but isnâ€™t the sort of game youâ€™d invite friends around to show off what your PS4 can do.
Sadly, Murdered Soul Suspect turns out to be a pretty average detective game thatâ€™s not particular difficult or taxing, but itâ€™s saved by its genuinely intriguing story and the sterling effort done by Jason Brooks and Cassidy Lehrman, who voice Oâ€™Connor and Joy.