Murdered: Soul Suspect
|Murdered: Soul Suspect|
|Engine||Unreal Engine 3|
|Release date(s)||NA June 3, 2014
AUS June 5, 2014
EU June 6, 2014
JP July 17, 2014 (exc. PC)
JP September 4, 2014 (XONE)
|Distribution||Optical disc, download|
The game is played in a third-person view as the player navigates the protagonist, detective Ronan O'Connor around a fictionalized version of the American town, Salem. The story centers around Ronan as he hunts down the infamous serial-killer, 'The Bell Killer'. After being killed by the Bell Killer at the beginning of the game, Ronan is revived as a ghost. He is then informed that he must find out the identity of the Bell Killer so he can join his long-dead wife, Julia.
Murdered: Soul Suspect received an average reception upon release; most criticisms centered around the poor combat, short length, lack of replay value, and lack of difficulty. The game did however receive praise for some aspects of its story.
|This section requires expansion. (April 2015)|
Murdered: Soul Suspect takes place in a fictionalized version of the American town Salem. The game is played in a third-person view. The player navigates the protagonist, Ronan, around Salem. There are multiple areas in Salem to explore such as a church, an apartment, and a graveyard. The player completes levels in order to progress further into the game. There are hundreds of collectables in the game, including 'Ghost Girl Messages' and various different types of scraps of paper which contain information about Ronan's life. Since the player is a ghost, they have a number of ghostly abilities, such as teleportation and possession. Each area has clues to collect to progress through the level and the story; the clues are found in a similar way to L.A. Noire 's investigation sequences.
In Salem, Massachusetts, Detective Ronan O'Connor is thrown out of a window while pursuing the brutal and relentless serial-killer the Bell Killer, who finishes Ronan off by shooting him. Revived as a ghost, Ronan meets the spirit of his long-dead wife Julia, who informs him that he cannot join her until he completes the unfinished business binding him to the living world. Ronan investigates his murder, and gains instruction into his new ghostly abilities from the ghost of Abigail, a young Puritan-era girl. The investigation leads to a local church to find a young girl, Joy, who witnessed Ronan's murder and possesses the ability to see ghosts.
In search of her missing mother Cassandra, who was consulting with the police on the Bell Killer case, Joy refuses to help Ronan. He travels to the police station, freeing Joy after she is arrested for petty crimes. While leading Joy out of the station, Ronan discovers that Baxter, a hostile fellow officer, was the person working with Cassandra. Cassandra's research leads the pair to the Salem graveyard to investigate a possible Bell Killer victim. After pursuing the ghost of the young drowned girl, Sophia, Ronan's abilities allow him to view flashbacks of the murder. Sophia reveals that the Bell Killer asked her about a contract.
Cassandra's research leads the pair to a mental hospital to find the Bell Killer's surviving victim, Iris. Infiltrating the facility, they find Iris possesses the same ability to see ghosts, and realize the Bell Killer is killing psychic mediums. It is revealed that Iris is possessed by the spirit of her sister, Rose, whom the Bell Killer burned alive after she helped Iris escape. Rose, Iris, and Joy return to the church, while Ronan investigates a museum exhibit about the Salem witch hunts. There, he deduces that the Bell Killer is executing his victims as if they are witches; psychic flashbacks reveal that Baxter suspiciously concealed evidence at the museum about the Bell Killer. Believing Baxter is the Bell Killer, Ronan leaves the museum, but notices several police cars heading towards the church.
At the church, Ronan learns that the Bell Killer attacked the building, crushing Iris to death, and slaughtering several people who stood in his way. Although Joy is safe, she is re-arrested and taken away by Ronan's brother-in-law Rex, the lead detective on the Bell Killer case. Investigating the church, Ronan realizes that the Bell Killer is hiding in the derelict Judgment House. There, Ronan discovers evidence of the Bell Killer's activities, and clues implying that the killings have been occurring for hundreds of years. Ronan discovers Baxter's corpse; Baxter's ghost reveals he was murdered by the Bell Killer while secretly still investigating the case following his demotion, alongside Cassandra, who is still alive. In the basement, flashbacks reveal that Abigail had been imprisoned there before she was hanged as punishment for accusing several innocent people of witchcraft, resulting in their deaths. In anger, Abigail drew a bell symbol on the floor, swearing that she will never stop until the bell tolls for all of the witches in Salem, believing they made a contract with demons to gain inhuman powers.
Following the evidence, Ronan returns to the museum to discover that Rex is the Bell Killer, having been possessed by Abigail. As he prepares to hang Joy, Ronan manages to force Abigail out of Rex, and the pair battle by inflicting painful memories on each other; these memories reveal that Abigail has possessed many people to become the Bell Killer, before killing the possessed themselves, including Baxter, who she used to kill Rose, and Ronan, who killed Sophia. Abigail summons a portal of demons to swallow Ronan, but he manages to escape it while simultaneously dragging Abigail in; she is submerged as the portal fades. Joy is saved and later reunites with her mother, and Rex remains unaware of the crimes committed using his body. In the aftermath, Ronan hears Julia calling him, and turns towards her voice.
|This section requires expansion. (January 2015)|
The game came about because Square-Enix wished to appeal more towards the Western market. Yosuke Shiokawa, a creative director at Square-Enix, came up with the idea of a game where the player was a ghost and pitched it to the development team at Airtight Games. Airtight then came up with various concepts surrounding the ghost idea, some of which "were almost superhero stories" according to Matt Brunner, Airtight's Chief Creative Officer.
The team had trouble at first integrating Western and Eastern philosophies regarding ghosts. About the process, Brunner later stated "There are a lot of assumptions that we weren’t even aware of, that we were making on both sides, about how to fictionally support who you are as a character in this world. It took us, I would say, a good year and a half of constant back-and-forth to get that sense of, “What, really? Oh", so that’s what you’re talking about.”
Murdered: Soul Suspect received an average reception upon release; most criticisms centered around the poor combat, short length, lack of replay value and lack of difficulty. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the PlayStation 4 version 61.29% based on 41 reviews and 59/100 based on 60 reviews, the Microsoft Windows version 58.00% based on 12 reviews and 59/100 based on 22 reviews and the Xbox One version 55.76% based on 17 reviews and 50/100 based on 16 reviews.
IGN's Lucy O'Brien gave the game a 5.5 out of 10 calling it "Mediocre" and saying: "There are some great concepts in Murdered: Soul Suspect, but they feel undercooked or underutilised, and the lack of demand for any real input from us makes Murdered feel like a pick-a-path game where there’s only one path. It scrapes by on the power of its central whodunnit mystery, but I can’t help but feel that Murdered: Soul Suspect is ten hours worth of unfinished business."
GameSpot's Tom Mc Shea was slightly less negative in giving the game a 6 out of 10; he praised certain aspects of the story saying: "Despite [the] issues, at no point was I disenchanted by Soul Suspect. Even though I recognized how ludicrous the game often was, I was still invested in the story that was slowly unfolding." Mc Shea wrapped up the review by saying: "Murdered: Soul Suspect has a lot more spirit than its taciturn protagonist could ever muster."
Andrew Reiner of Game Informer gave the game a 6.5 out of 10; he summed up his review by saying "This is one of those games that I find myself raving about one second, and dragging through the mud the next. Is it worth your time? I think so. Despite its numerous shortcomings, I was entertained to the point of not wanting to put it down. It’s a satisfying murder mystery and a sub-par game all rolled in one. The story won out in the end for me. If you can tolerate the shoddy investigation gameplay, there’s plenty of fun (and wrong guessing) to be had."
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