The First Few Hours: Murdered Soul Suspect

Apologies for not writing all that much this week, though chances are pretty good that neither one of us would have been coming here for E3 discussion.  As it happens, I missed most of the main floor coverage, due to a combination of busy workdays, major Feedly outages, and two writing projects that have been stressing me out like crazy.

I’ve been playing a bit of Murdered: Soul Suspect this week, though, which I’m sort-of enjoying.  It got relatively fair reviews, but the people who liked it really liked it, and I figured it was worth checking out.  The game is mostly like a supernatural version of L.A. Noire; you’re a police detective who is murdered by a serial killer in the game’s opening moments, and you come back as a ghost, determined to solve the killer’s motive and identity.  So you’ll go to a location, examine clues, and try to solve that location’s central questions based on what you’ve seen.  Occasionally you’ll escort a living human through obstacles by manipulating objects (the game says to press R2 to “Poltergeist”, which is very amusing).  And it’s also, ultimately, somewhat easy; most of the questions have easy answers, and as far as I can tell you don’t get punished for guessing incorrectly.

It’s essentially the perfect rental game:  it’s janky and silly but not in an upsetting, unplayable way; it’s somewhat ambitious even if it’s also very familiar; and it’s the sort of game that can really only be played and enjoyed once.  It also throws out trophies and achievements every 5 minutes, which is apparently still an endorphin rush that I’d thought I’d moved past.  (For whatever it’s worth, I’m now at Trophy level 11 on PSN; I have no idea what that means.)

I think I’m towards the very end of the game (I’m in Judgment House, for those of you who’ve played it); I’d be surprised if there was much more left.  I have a pretty good idea who the killer is – or, rather, I have a pretty good idea of who I’m supposed to think the killer is, and I expect there’ll be a twist to that reveal.

The game is mostly a breath of fresh air; it’s the perfect palate cleanser to the ugliness I was feeling after finishing Watch Dogs.  There is no combat; well, every so often there’ll be demons, and you’ll either need to run past them or sneak up on them and dismantle them; it’s not that big a deal.

It’s also, as I said above, somewhat silly.  It’s published by Square Enix, and as such there are references to other SE titles all over the place; there’s a poster of Just Cause 2 in the police station, which is pretty blatant, but the computer monitors in the police station are also looking at the main menu for Deus Ex Human Revolution, which is cheeky indeed.  The main character, Ronan, has been smoking the same cigarette ever since he arose from the dead.

It’s a hard game to recommend, especially since I can’t see any reason to play it again, but it’s certainly worth a rental if you’ve got some free time.

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