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The ultimate murder mystery? As the old adage goes – when you want a job done properly, do it yourself. Even if, as in this case, it involves solving your own murder. Mark Pilkington investigates…
Set in the appropriately spooky setting of Salem Massachusetts, Murdered: Soul Suspect puts you in the ethereal boots of a recently killed police officer who won’t rest until he has found justice. Along the way he teams up with a psychic teenager who helps his to investigate crimes and unravel the identity of his murderer before he can slaughter again.
As far as video game plots go, this has to rank as one of the most original out there, so straight away Murdered scores points of having an interesting premise. But does a decent story deliver a decent game?
A sandbox-style title, as a paranormal entity, you are free to wander around Salem as you see fit. You can travel through doors and other objects without any problems. However, you may only enter a building if someone else opens the door, and to make matter slightly more complex, there are otherworldly objects that block your path, meaning you aren’t quite as free to wander everywhere you may first think.
To add to your problems are hellholes in the ground that mean instant death (no, for real this time) if you travel over them, and wandering demons who are waiting to eat your soul and condemn you to eternal damnation. In other words, they are jolly bad news indeed.
The games only form of combat occurs against these demons, allowing you to sneak up behind them and destroy them before they have a chance to get you. Other than that, the bulk of the gameplay is taken up with investigating clues and solving mysteries. This is a true adventure game, and violence is kept to a minimum.
So far, so good. The graphics are eye-watering, the characters are interesting and the gameplay is original (although to be fair, it does borrow heavily from Patrick Swayze’s Ghost).
Murdered is not without its bad points, it has to be said. The most glaring of them is the fact that it is slightly silly a ghost is capable of walking through walls, yet cannot climb stairs or enter houses. This point did irk me the more I played, but to others it may be nothing more than a minor niggle.
The game is also a little too easy to play, with easy to find clues and multiple guesses allowed to solve crime scenes. It won’t take you very long to complete it, but luckily there are a healthy smattering of side quests to get involved with, and a mind-boggling array of collectables to piece together the background story of Salem and your murderer.
Not a perfect game by any means of the imagination, Murdered: Soul Suspect does just enough to keep you hooked until the end. And if you have the patience of a saint, there are always the seemingly endless collectables to keep yourself busy with…