Down in the Gutter with Murdered: Soul Suspect

I’m going to go out on a limb and say you never see a hero die within the first scene of a game. Airtight Games, best known for Quantum Conundrum and Dark Void, are taking that approach as they’ve created a brand new game brimming with originality. Introducing an intriguing plotline complemented by unique puzzle solving elements, this is far from your run-of-the-mill adventure game.

Right from the beginning you can tell Soul Suspect is something special. Most games today are action titles that don’t allow you to use your head and can be described as mindless in some sense. Soul Suspect is the complete opposite of that as it will have you piecing together a rather unique mystery. Set in Salem, Massachusetts, a city that already has some supernatural history behind it, you play as the intelligent and gruff Detective Ronan O’Connor. The plot was described to us as, what if the seemingly invincible John McClane died at the beginning of Die Hard, but his story continued on.

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After encountering a break and enter situation, the lone Detective finds himself in a scuffle with a hooded man with seemingly supernatural abilities as he can take a hit from a lead pipe like a champ. Being thrown from a second story window, O’Connor then receives seven shots to the chest, ultimately killing him and sending him to a limbo-like world called Dusk. Here is where the game will take place as you will interact with humans and ghosts in different ways in order for you to piece together Ronan O’Connor’s greatest case to date: his own savage murder.

Unlike your typical ghost, Ronan doesn’t have the ability to possess anyone – or at least to the degree many may think. O’Connor can enter human bodies to hide from enemies or use one of their senses to find clues. For example, you can possess an officer taking down notes on the crime scene and look through his eyes to see what’s on the sheet, or you can read the minds of witnesses to find out what they’re really thinking. There may be only one approach to the situation we got, but there are many potential options and abilities that should lead to some well-developed puzzles.

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This ultimately leads to side missions. While this seems like a linear experience, there will be roaming ghosts in the environments that you can help. For example, a young girl seems to have been killed by an old couple and you need to find out where she was buried/hidden in order to complete the objective. Unfortunately, we don’t know how this will affect Ronan or the story, but surely it has some benefits.

As mentioned, Ronan can hide in the bodies of humans as it will act as a stealth mechanism. The game is not without some action as, not only will there be ghosts that roam Dusk, but there will be demons who look to feed off your soul, as well. The way to avoid this is tostealthily sneak up behind them and take them out. It’s an interesting mechanic, especially when you factor in being able to go travel through walls; you’re not safe anywhere except in the bodies of the living.

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Even though we only got a small taste, Murdered: Soul Suspect blew us away. We came in knowing virtually nothing and we walked away impressed. It has aspects of traditional adventure game puzzle solving elements along with an intriguing storyline that should go a long way and appeal to die-hard fans of the genre. Can Ronan O’Connor revive himself and what’s this deeper mystery that’s looming in the background? Soul Suspect will shake up the industry when it hits the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in the first quarter of next year.