Shadowy Traces of an Admirable Effort

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Welcome to Salem, Massachusetts. Airtight Games virtual interpretation of the real world location, which is notorious for its supernatural folklore and infamous witch trials. The player finds themselves in the shoes of Ronan O’Connor, a misunderstood felon turned brazen detective who plays by his own rules. An abrupt run-in with the local serial killer culminates with Ronan departing the world of the living. Hence our investigation into our very own murder begins.

Ronan travels across several distinct locations ranging from the local police station, to a psychiatric hospital and even a demon-infested church. Generally these environments are very compact but they are also quite detailed. So whilst there isn’t an awful lot of scenery to poke about in, the developers have made a respectable effort at crafting a rich atmosphere with plenty of affairs to stick your nose in and drizzling heaps of trinkets to hoard. These areas are tied together by a cumbersome town hub, populated by a plethora of night-dwelling folk who strangely seem to all have your recent murder on their mind. It would appear that news spreads quickly in Salem.

Murdered: Soul Suspect suffers from several bugs and glitches, the worst of which caused the game to crash on three separate occasions during a single playthrough. This is one of several events that trigger a reoccurring impression that Murdered: Soul Suspect had a lot of potential that was unrealised to due to exhausted resources. One of the most horrifying facets of Murdered: Soul Suspect is its combat. The combat mechanics can only be described clumsy, tedious and quite frankly, tripe.

One of the strongest aspects to the game lay with its side quests. Between key objectives Ronan has the opportunity to solve the mysteries pertaining to the deaths of various lost souls in Salem. It was fascinating to investigate the secrets surrounding the demise of these people and help them pass on to the afterlife. These side quests are few and far between, which is unfortunate as they add a great deal of depth and enjoyment. The plot is serviceable as is the manner which it is told and what little soundtrack that exists is entirely forgettable. Ronan himself is so-so, but some of his dialogue is toe-curling, which admittedly isn’t half as bad as his insufferable nuisance of a sidekick.

Airtight Games had more ideas and passion than you could shake a stick at. They also lacked the resources and to some extent the skill to capitalize upon those qualities. This leaves Murdered: Soul Suspect in a state of limbo. The player is constantly tantalized with what could have been, only to be dragged back to earth and reminded that this is the best you’re going to get. Whilst there are certainly better titles to spend your hard earned cash on. Murdered: Soul Suspect is a unique experience that is worthy of a discounted purchase, particularly among the more adventurous gamers.

Have you played Murdered: Soul Suspect? What did you think of it?

-@BradBraddington