Developer(s) – Airtight Games
Publisher(s) – Square Enix
Director – Yosuke Shiokawa
Producer – Eric Studer
Murdered: Soul Suspect is an action-adventure puzzle game, borrowing elements from both LA Noire and Dead Space, whereby investigations must be carried out and ungodly creatures must be subdued in order to advance. But because this game seemed to have these elements borrowed from games the aforementioned, I took an almost immediate dislike to it. Also, for the fact that nothing new or particularly appealing was brought to the table in terms of gameplay.
Graphics – 6/10
The game doesn’t rely greatly on either conceptual design or graphical advancement; indeed I thought it might not even push the graphical boundaries of the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360, let alone the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. But I think the most impressive things about the game’s visuals are the use of gritty atmosphere and well-executed shadow and lighting. They add a fair bit of tension to the game, although for the most part, because the game relies so much on the use of gritty atmosphere and lighting, it does seem that tension only builds to a certain level and stops. The game doesn’t get any scarier or suspenseful past a certain point in each gameplay sequence, and it can make the game seem bland most of the time, I find. I think if the developers had perhaps concentrated a bit more on conceptual design and scenery, that would have added some more to the game’s overall atmosphere instead of having it only going so far, and not building to anything.
Gameplay – 4/10
A concern of mine about video games having too much story attached to it is that too much focus can be taken off gameplay, and for the most part, it seems the only objective of the overall game is finding out what happens next. This game is a shining example of that. The gameplay is extremely bland; especially for a semi-open world one. There are side quests, but all they ever involve is collecting things and nothing more. It’s the same with normal gameplay, only there are also a few demons to kill in some instances too. Not enough gameplay variety was added to this title, and consequently, made it play out far too much like a film. The idea of playing a video game as opposed to watching a film is that games immerse people more, and make them feel more like they’re a part of it. This game, however, does little to capture that very feeling of immersion.
Controls – 10/10
There are no issues with the controls, but it couldn’t have been hard to get the formula right. Not only has the third-person adventure genre been long-since worked on prior to this game’s release, but there is less variety in this than other games of its kind, so there wouldn’t have been any excuse not to have the formula done correctly.
Lifespan – 3/10
For even a semi-open world game, that Murdered: Soul Suspect can be completed within five hours is nothing short of unacceptable. Even when I’ve reviewed Child of Light and South Park: The Stick of Truth, I’ve been less than impressed with how little time they’ve lasted; since open world games can be made to last the best part of 100 hours. The fact this game is so short-lived is yet another reason why I believe it plays out too much like a film, since films can be made to last a similar amount of time; especially if it may be a trilogy of films. But its just as well the game is so short-lived, since there’s hardly anything to do in it.
Storyline – 6/10
The story of the game revolves around a recently murdered detective called Ronan O’ Connor, who must solve the mystery of his own murder in Limbo in order to be with his already deceased wife in Heaven. The game’s story isn’t too bad, and it does have a few decent twists and turns throughout, but it’s not considerably impressive, given how much emphasis on gameplay was sacrificed in order to develop it. I would have though that a game that plays out too much like a film would have at least had an exceptional story attached to it, but I was wrong in this instance.
Originality – 2/10
With the small exception of it containing psychological horror as opposed to the kind of horror normally found in video games, there isn’t much else unique about Murdered: Soul Suspect that makes it stand out among many other games; in terms of either graphics, gameplay or story. It’s not the first time a game has played out like this one does, and it will, or should never considered the definitive one by any means at all
Overall, Murdered: Soul Suspect is an extremely fleeting experience, and nowhere near worth its current asking price, or any asking price beyond maybe a fiver. Too much emphasis was put on the wrong factors, and it suffered because of it. Even the factors that were taken into the most consideration were not properly developed on, in my opinion.