So one of my first large “assignments” for a website I used to write for was to review Murdered: Soul Suspect. It was a somewhat early game in the life of the 8th generations of consoles. I liked the experience overall with a few complaints but had mostly good things to say. Recently I decided to pull it off the shelf, give it another go, and see where my thoughts were after a few years.
Overall I have to say I am still on the “this is an underrated game” team. My complaints have extended a little after some time, but for the most part I still really enjoy it. In it, you take control over detective Ronan after he is murdered. He was pursuing a serial killer and got close to getting the suspect when he is gunned down. Ronan is then stuck between worlds; he assumes until he solved his murder, and thus finds the serial killer. Along the way, he meets a young medium named Joy. The two team up to help put an end to the killer.
The biggest complaints I have for the game are the length and the “combat.” For the most part, there is no combat in the game. Gameplay is mostly just done with Ronan attempting to find clues and behaving as, well, a detective. I enjoy these parts of the game. Finding clues, piecing them together, this all works very well. Occasionally the game will throw a “challenge” at you with Ronan not being able to access certain areas and having to use his ghost powers to work around them. Combat only happens when Ronan stumbles on a demon. Ronan needs to sneak up on the demon and destroy them before they get him. Here’s the problem, the combat is somehow too easy and too hard at the same time. If you get your timing right, there is no challenge in getting the demons. If you miss it, even by a second, you will find yourself just stuck running and waiting for the demon to reset for a ridiculous amount of time. It’s frustrating and pulls away from the “detective” aspect of the game. It wasn’t a popular opinion at the time of release, and I am sure it won’t be one now, but I wish the demons were skipped altogether. The game should have just been focused on gathering clues, putting them together, and as mentioned, the occasional “puzzle” with access to new areas. Sure this would have rid the game of any form of combat, but that’s fine. Games don’t need to have their gameplay based around combat to be solid.
Lengthwise the game is short. Incredibly short. Even attempting to get all of the collectibles (of which there are many) you can beat the game quickly. If you sit down and just do the story you can probably do it in one sitting (a longer sitting but still). Length is less troubling now as the game is a few years old and typically found for bargain prices, but when the game launched it was a full priced release. It was hard not to be a little shocked at beating a 60 dollar game in a matter of hours, especially because there is nothing you can “do differently” to change the experience when replaying it.
In spite of these complaints, and how important they are, there is something that has a lot of potential in this game. It looks beautiful, sounds great, and the story is not the best but compelling. If you do the side ghost stories, they add to the extra creepiness of the experience and are completely worth it. Beyond that as mentioned the gameplay other than combat is solid. The game just feels like it could have been more. That is what becomes my biggest problem. The game is fine, not amazing but decent, but it is right on the edge of being so much more. A little more work on the investigations, polishing combat (or removing it) and adding to the story (and thus length of the game), and it could have been a real hit. It would be rather hard to revisit the concept without just ending up rehashing the game, so I don’t think we’ll ever see a more fleshed out version of the game, which is too bad.
For now, though I can’t call the game great. I want to, but I can’t. I can say that it’s not too expensive these days and is a solid experience and one that might be worth checking out if you haven’t. I am glad I went back to revisit it, although I don’t know I will ever do so again.