Posted: November 20
If somebody asked me to describe Murdered: Soul Suspect in one word, I would say: Unfinished.
It's evident from the start that this game was rushed out the door too early in order to meet a deadline. Many things that you'd expect from a modern, full-priced AAA game are not present here. I knew something was up even before I jumped into the actual game. The menu was just a static image. There were no flashy effects when you highlighted any of the options. No bells and whistles whatsoever. Of course, none of that is actually necessary, but it is odd to see a big-budget game cut corners like that.
Unfortunately, this was just the tip of the iceberg.
After the game's opening cutscene, you're immediately tasked with investigating a crime scene. Games like Ace Attorney and L.A. Noire have already demonstrated excellent examples of how to simulate actual detective work, so it's pretty baffling to me that Murdered: Soul Suspect would take the most basic, and un-intuitive route possible.
You point. You click. You win.
There's almost zero deductive reasoning involved in investigating these crime scenes. Gathering evidence presents no challenge, since the "clues" are ridiculously easy to spot in the environment. It's depressing that the biggest problem I ran into when solving the mystery behind these crime scenes was my tendency to overthink them. Turns out, the most obvious solution is ALWAYS the right one. Once you figure that out, the rest of the game is a cakewalk.
So what else is there? Well, your ghostly character can possess people. This is a great idea on paper, but your enthusiasm will quickly wane once you realize that you can't actually control your posessee's. However, you can read their minds. Better than nothing, I suppose, but you'll be in for a rude awakening once you find that NPCs in the town only have a handful of phrases to recite, none of which are actually relevant to the investigation at hand. What could've been an excellent and inventive way to acquire information about the details of your case is squandered by the complete ineptitude of the developers.
Soul Suspect isn't entirely without merit though. The story held my attention for the duration of the game, and even though the characters are archetypes that we've already seen before from the detective/mystery genre, it still managed to be a moderately intriguing tale. The pay-off is also decent, with a twist ending that even M. Night Shyamalan would be proud of.
What saddens me the most is that Murdered: Soul Suspect is a very solid idea, and it could've easily been a great game with a little more TLC. It's painful to see a game with this much wasted potential. I liked the ideas here, but the execution left a lot to be desired. I'd love to see a sequel to this game where these ideas are more expanded upon, but as it stands, Murdered: Soul Suspect is half-baked, and it shows.