Over the course of this past weekend at EGX Rezzed, there’s been plenty of big name games for us to get some hands-on time with. Perhaps the most unique and interesting of these was Murdered: Soul Suspect, the brand new title from Square Enix. Players take on the role of detective Ronan O’Connor and, unlike most other games out there, you will watch him die right at the beginning, murdered by a mysterious serial killer he tried to arrest. Thankfully, this isn’t the end of Ronan’s story, or the game for that matter, as Ronan shifts into the afterlife, setting his sights on finding his killer and solving his own murder.
Here are my thoughts of the demo –
As the game starts up there are two impressive things that hit you pretty much in equal measure. The first is the graphics; the game looks brilliant with very little difference between the opening cutscene and the actual gameplay. The second is the voice acting. There are plenty of games that can boast decent voice acting, especially for the protagonist, but Murdered’s cast really shines, giving each character an incredible sense of life and depth. Jason Brooks is particularly impressive as Ronan, portraying a massive range of emotions as Ronan takes on so many different experiences at once.
Murdered is, at its core, a detective game and after the initial cutscenes and dialogue, you are presented with the task of trying to investigate your own murder as your body lies dead in the street. As a ghost that’s unable to interact with the environment or talk to any of the living people around you, you are undoubtedly going to need other methods of investigation. This is part of what makes Murdered an interesting and unique game; since you are not able to interview witnesses, only eavesdrop, you can instead posses them, letting you hear their thoughts. For key witnesses you can also delve deeper into their minds to fish around in their thoughts and bring the most relevant memory to the forefront. You can also look through the eyes of the other police officers around you to check their notes and evidence, and influence them through their minds to prioritize the most important evidence and clues. Once you have enough clues gathered together you can attempt to solve that particular investigation by piecing them together, sifting through the most valuable clues and discarding the ones that won’t impact the case. Solely as a detective game, Murdered works really well; it’s intriguing and the use of the supernatural elements adds something really unique to the gameplay.
This isn’t all there is to the game however. The exploration of the environments themselves is made much more enjoyable than usual by the fact that you’re playing as a ghost. You can of course walk through walls and doors, or most other objects for that matter, though the game does restrict you from simply stepping out of the perimeter of a building. Though you can’t interact with any of the living people around you, you don’t find yourself feeling lonely as you aren’t the only one trapped in the afterlife. You will come across other ghosts as you explore; some are unsavory characters that wont have much interest in talking to, while others will reach out to you for help, giving the game its interesting system of side quests. As well as trying to solve your own main investigation in each area you visit, you will find the ghosts of people who need your help to investigate their own deaths or other matters in order for them to rest. I liked these diversions from the main quest though I do wonder outside of the demo how much variety there will be with them to keep them feeling interesting and diverse.
As well as the ghosts you meet and talk to, you will also eventually come across the enemies within the game, the demons that hunt you down in order to drain your soul. The first time you see one is actually more shocking than I expected, its horrific screech and jerky movements make you a little nervous as to what exactly its about to do to you. You can run from the demons by hiding from them long enough for them to give up the chase, and then sneaking up behind them allows you to execute them safely. Again I thought this was generally a cool experience but unless there are a lot of different types of demons and different ways to fight and avoid them then it has potential to get very repetitive.
Its also worth mentioning that this game will offer very little interest for people that are put off by the idea of exploring and piecing together clues. Though it has a lot of very different, interesting elements, its still primarily a detective game so if you’re not interested by that, you will most likely find this fairly boring. Overall though, Murdered: Soul Suspect is an entertaining game that offers a really unique take on the usual detective genre. I’ll be interested to see how much variety the full game offers but from the demo at least, I like what I’ve seen so far.
Murdered: Soul Suspect will be available for PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC, with no firm release date yet other than later this year.
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