In 2014, Airtight Games took a narrative leap with Murdered: Soul Suspect, published by Square Enix. Departing from their usual style, it was a gamble on a new storytelling direction. Available on various platforms, it plunged players into a supernatural murder mystery as Ronan O’Connor, a detective solving his own murder from beyond. Despite its intriguing premise, the game received mixed reviews, much like a gamble’s unpredictability.
The Supernatural Twist
Within the realm of gambling, akin to the supernatural twist seen in the game, players consistently pursue distinctive and exhilarating experiences. Their objective lies in uncovering novel strategies and proficiencies that can enhance their odds of success, mirroring Ronan’s utilization of his spectral form to unearth fresh evidence in Murdered: Soul Suspect.
Moreover, gambling frequently witnesses the formation of partnerships rooted in serendipitous encounters. In the relentless pursuit of fortune, individuals endowed with diverse aptitudes and backgrounds, much like the dynamic between Ronan and Joy, unite. Their connection, often unique, fosters a collaborative approach to navigating the intricate world of gambling, where enigmas surrounding fortune and peril abound. Throughout this journey, the ever-present shadows of uncertainty cast a veil of intrigue, further amplifying the allure and mystique of the gambling experience.
Murdered: Soul Suspect takes a unique approach to gaming, forgoing traditional gambling elements but still emphasizing the concept of risk and reward. In the game, players embark on a quest to collect clues and solve intricate mysteries, with their choices influencing the progression of the story. This narrative-driven experience can be likened to a high-stakes gamble, where the focus on storytelling serves as both a strength and a weakness. It excels in delivering an engaging and immersive plot that captivates players, akin to hitting a jackpot in a casino. However, the trade-off is the relative lack of challenging gameplay, reminiscent of a game of chance where one rolls the dice, hoping for a favorable outcome. While it doesn’t involve the typical casino games, Murdered: Soul Suspect provides a gamble of a different kind, making every decision count in the quest for truth.
Themes and Tropes
Much like how the game envelops players in a realm of enigmatic mysteries, drawing inspiration from the haunting historical events of the Salem witch trials, the world of gambling unfolds its own captivating narrative. Here, an array of distinct themes and tropes takes center stage. What unites them with the gaming experience is the shared anticipation, unpredictability, and suspense that keeps participants enthralled.
In the realm of gambling, players are constantly entangled in the themes of risk and reward, where fortunes can change in an instant. Luck intertwines with strategy as individuals try to decipher the odds and make calculated choices, all contributing to a multifaceted and exhilarating atmosphere of excitement. The journey into this world mirrors the exploration of Murdered: Soul Suspect, each offering a unique narrative with underlying themes that captivate and engage their respective audiences.
Characters and Abilities
The game’s protagonist, Ronan O’Connor, bears the scars of his brutal murder. His supernatural powers are influenced by his past life as a detective, allowing him to conduct investigations from beyond the grave. Ronan’s journey intertwines with Joy, a teenage medium who possesses the unique ability to communicate with spirits, making her a valuable ally in solving the mysteries of Salem.
Throughout the game, demons and other ghosts play pivotal roles in the storyline, further contributing to the eerie atmosphere and challenging players to navigate the spirit world and uncover the truth behind Ronan’s murder.
Murdered: Soul Suspect has left a notable legacy in the realm of detective games. It is often compared to titles like L.A. Noire for its narrative-driven approach to gameplay. Furthermore, the game is considered a spiritual successor to the point-and-click adventure game, Ghost Trick, which also featured unique storytelling elements.
While Murdered: Soul Suspect received mixed reviews upon its release, it remains a noteworthy title for its willingness to explore new avenues in interactive storytelling, challenging traditional gameplay conventions.
Central character and unrealized potential
The main character, Ronan O’Connor, is that main character. As a neo-noir detective, Ronan is drawn into the mysterious world of solving the crimes of a serial killer in the creepy town of Salem, Massachusetts, shortly after his own death.
The story has a lot of potential, but unfortunately the game fails to fully capitalize on this intriguing premise. While we do appreciate the game’s cast of characters, our admiration pretty much ends there.
A world of lost opportunities
The game tries to establish a duality between the spiritual plane and the human world, which could be an exciting concept, but unfortunately it’s reduced to glorified hidden object puzzles. These puzzles, while having better than average performance, essentially resemble Big Fish games without realizing their full potential.
Lackluster Gameplay and Gimmicky Mechanics
A significant part of the gameplay revolves around hunting for clues. Although Ronan can possess the living to read their thoughts or control them, this mechanic often feels gimmicky and lacks a genuine sense of purpose. It fails to make a substantial contribution to uncovering the game’s mysteries and instead comes across as mere filler.
While the narrative is supposed to be the game’s strong suit, it introduces unexciting segments that focus on lingering ghosts. These segments demand players to partake in uninspiring quick-time events to banish these apparitions from the mortal realm. These sections are neither engaging nor frightening; instead, they serve as minor nuisances that fall far short of achieving a genuinely eerie ambiance. It’s as if they were included in an effort to artificially elevate the game’s intensity, but they ultimately miss the mark.
Lack of Consequences and Disjointed Gameplay
In addition, Murdered: Soul Suspect demonstrates that there are no consequences for failure in the investigative segments. When scrutinizing a crime scene for evidence and trying to connect it to the information you’ve gathered, the game doesn’t penalize players for making incorrect deductions.
The lack of any real challenge can be frustrating, as players can keep trying until they reach a predetermined conclusion, often outpacing the characters in the game’s own story. This mixed experience raises questions about the incompetence of the in-game police and confuses players.
A pivotal moment in Murdered: Soul Suspect that can only be described as a “wham” moment occurs when the protagonist, Ronan O’Connor, uncovers a shocking revelation. It is revealed that Ronan is, in fact, one of the Bell Killers—an astonishing twist in the storyline.
This revelation dramatically alters the course of the narrative, casting Ronan’s character in a new and unexpected light. The “wham” moment is a testament to the game’s ability to surprise and captivate players with its intricate plot twists, making it a defining and memorable aspect of the Murdered: Soul Suspect experience.
In the end, Murdered: Soul Suspect is a game with grand ideas that fall short of their potential. While it has moments of charm and unintentional humor, it might be best enjoyed with a sense of irony or as a group activity to riff on its earnest yet peculiar ghost stories. This game may not leave a lasting impact, but it offers a unique narrative experience, even if it doesn’t fully realize its intriguing premise.
What sets Murdered: Soul Suspect apart from Airtight Games’ usual style?
In 2014, Airtight Games departed from their usual style with Murdered: Soul Suspect, making a narrative leap into the realm of supernatural murder mystery, a departure from their typical approach to game development.
What are your criticisms of Murdered: Soul Suspect’s gameplay?
The gameplay of Murdered: Soul Suspect has been criticized for being relatively simple, focusing on collecting clues and solving mysteries at the expense of engaging gameplay. Mechanics involving quick events and certain gameplay segments have been described as uninspiring and gimmicky.
What is the “Wham” moment in Murdered: Soul Suspect and how does it affect the storyline?
The “you” moment in the game comes when Ronan O’Connor, the main character, is revealed to be one of Bell’s Killers. This revelation dramatically changes the course of the narrative, casting Ronan’s character in an unexpected light and serving as a defining and memorable aspect of the game experience.