PAX East 2014: Hands On With Murdered: Soul Suspect

Murdered: Souls Suspect is a game that shouldn’t appeal to me. It lacks fast paced action, doesn’t involve competitive multiplayer, and isn’t even another shooter. Even after all that there’s something really unique about it that pulled me in and I knew I had to give it a try on the show floor. I’m really glad I did.

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You play as Ronan O’Connor, a detective who comes from a rough background including multiple run-ins with the law before joining their team. One night, he’s called in to investigate a reported disturbance of breaking and entering. After confronting the individual, the two get in a tussle and unfortunately for Ronan, he’s tossed out of a window at the top of the building. Not quite dead, Ronan has an out of body experience, looking down at his body laying in the street. Trying to figure out a way to wake himself up, the killer enters the picture again, grabs Ronan’s gun and fires multiple shots into the downed detective. The job here is done, but before Ronan can enter the afterlife, he’s locked into this spirit world until he can figure out his own murder.

The world of Murdered can be compared to L.A. Noire or Heavy Rain as it’s heavy on story and detective work. Where this game separates itself from others in this field is in the fact that you’re a spirit. This opens all kinds of doors in how you approach crime scene investigations. As you comb through for any clues, you can actually possess living people and perform any number of actions including eavesdropping on conversations, influencing witnesses to give up more details, and also reading notes. It was an interesting mechanic and I’m curious to see how Airtight expands upon these systems as the game progresses outside of the opening sequence.

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The aspect that excited me the most however is the setting for the game. Taking place in modern day Salem, Massachusetts, this sleepy town is rocked with the news of Ronan’s murder. Where the magic really takes place is in the spirit world. Walking around the town as Ronan, you’ll see constant reminders to the town’s controversial past with the Salem Witch Trials. It’s in this spirit world that Airtight can really go crazy with things from the past as I saw things like gallows, references to the Witch Trials, and even spoke with a little girl who was obviously alive during the age of pilgrims as she was dressed how they would have been back in the day. Interestingly enough, Airtight even managed to explain why Ronan, as a ghost, can’t walk through doors. The residents of Salem, during the days of the witch, placed spells on their doors preventing spirits from entering unless the door is open already. It’s a neat little explanation of something that’s pretty basic. From a historical standpoint, the setting is fascinating and works so well with the themes of the game.

I found the overall premise to be extremely interesting along with the hint that not all spirits are friendly. This was an aspect I didn’t get to see during my time with the game, but I’m curious to see how that will fit into the gameplay. Visually, the game looked great, but probably won’t rival games like inFAMOUS Second Son or even Ryse: Son of Rome and I became comfortable with the controls fairly quickly which allowed me to really get absorbed into this world.

Murdered: Soul Suspect launches on June 3, 2014 for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. I, for one, can’t wait to dive further into this interesting world.

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