Murdered: Soul Suspect: Catching them dead to rights

June 18, 2014


Adventure games have taken many forms over the genre’s long history, with recent efforts including the crowdfunded Broken Age and more big-budget affairs such as L.A. Noire. Airtight Games’ new title, Murdered: Soul Suspect fits into the latter category. It features a small, albeit detailed, environment to explore and plenty of puzzles to solve and ultimately becoming a modern take on a classic genre. The twist? You play as the ghost of a detective attempting to solve his own murder case.

Murdered may not be as ridiculous as its premise makes it out to be, but you’ll know right away what you’re getting into after watching the opening cutscene. You play as Ronan O’Connor, a convict-turned-detective who finds himself in a peculiar situation: you were killed by the serial killer you’ve been hunting and are out to continue the case in your new, ghostly form. The game’s paranormal theme isn’t just a clever way to rope you into another standard adventure game; it’s the focus of the story. Thankfully, it remains engaging throughout and a clever tribute to both film noir and detective stories of old.


The investigations are the main hook, as you might expect from a modern adventure title. As you explore virtual Salem, Massachusetts, you run into several different investigations that allow you to put your detective skills to the test. You dig around for clues and put the pieces together, slowly giving yourself a better understand of the killer and the story with each new mystery. These elements aren’t particularly groundbreaking on their own, but as a ghost you have a few tricks up your sleeves.

The most pivotal bonus is the ability to possess anyone in the environment, giving you a chance to read their mind or influence them in order to gain new information. You’re also given the ability to interact with certain items in the environment, which are used to lure certain people towards parts of a room or lead to a chain of events that gains you access to some new information. None of this is particularly remarkable on its own, sure, but it’s just different enough to keep you interested and the investigations themselves are never too challenging for those just looking to participate in an intriguing story.


Since this is a video game, investigations aren’t your main focus; there are also stealth sections. You might be asking yourself, “Why do ghosts need to be stealthy?” Because most environments contain small pockets of demons that can essentially steal your soul, forcing you to evade them and, if necessary, take them out from behind. I would say it’s not as ridiculous as it sounds, but, yeah, it kind of is.

Thankfully, these segments aren’t particularly difficult and only take up a small slice of an otherwise investigation-heavy game, but they really do feel like last minute additions to make it more of a “traditional video game.” They aren’t particularly well designed, but they also aren’t frequent enough to become annoying. There are merely there to give you something different to do despite ultimately adding nothing of value to an otherwise entertaining mystery.

There are also a number of side cases you take on. Most of these are “solved” through finding collectibles in the environment, but there are a handful of small sections that take you all around Salem in order to solve. None of them are in-depth as the main investigations, but offer better distractions from the main story than any stealth segments ever could.


I’m not going to claim Murdered: Soul Suspect is an amazing game, or even a great one, but it has a fun, noir-inspired narrative that keeps you engaged from start to finish. Besides the brief stealth segments, the game moves at a solid pace and provides you with plenty of incentive to keep guessing up until the very end. If you’re looking for something a little bit different, you might find a lot to like about this gem.

Pros: Excellent narrative with great characters, gameplay remains mostly engaging throughout
Cons: Stealth segments feel unnecessary and tedious, a few too many collectibles

Score: 4/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.