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Murdered: Soul Suspect review: Murder most foul

SINGAPORE — Even as we await the games announced at E3 and Gamescom to reach our shores (next month will be particularly hectic for gamers), games from various developers have started to trickle in to make sure we’re never bored. One such game is Square Enix’s Murdered: Souls Suspect, a murder mystery with a bit of action thrown in.

SINGAPORE — Even as we await the games announced at E3 and Gamescom to reach our shores (next month will be particularly hectic for gamers), games from various developers have started to trickle in to make sure we’re never bored. One such game is Square Enix’s Murdered: Souls Suspect, a murder mystery with a bit of action thrown in.

Set in the infamous town of Salem, Massachusetts, you play Ronan O’Connor, a cop who is murdered by a mysterious hooded man while investigating a serial killer. Stuck in spirit form on earth, you have to uncover the truth behind your killer before you’re allowed to leave limbo. Even as you work to solve your own murder you will run into other weird occurrences, from lost souls that you can help release to a human ally who can actually see you.

The game features a core mechanic that the whole “murder mystery” aspect of the game hinges on. There’s a vague noir-esque feel as you uncover whispers left from past events that add to your list of clues. Gather enough clues and you’re given the option to solve the current mystery — which could either go towards uncovering murderer, or is just one of the side quests littered throughout Salem.

Since you’re a spirit, you get to go through walls (except for those blocked by ancient, ghostly debris), possess people to read their thoughts, be a poltergeist to activate machines, and also possess cats to get to hard-to-reach places. It helps to add some variety to all the solving you’ll be doing around the entire town — but most of them just involve running around to find clues, then choosing the correct ones. There are also tricky stealth missions against demons (that look like Dementors from Harry Potter), and that sums up all the action in the game.

Salem, all moody and grey, is well designed, and I actually found myself wanting to know more about the characters. You will find little notes and memories left behind that help flesh out their tragic stories, and there are a few twists and turns and red herrings to keep things interesting.

However, the game’s core mechanic is its greatest flaw: The solutions are easy enough that you can go through the entire game without failing. It’s a pity that this murder mystery is never truly scary or difficult, and feels more half-boiled than hard-boiled. While Murdered: Soul Suspect is surprisingly more than the sum of its parts, you can’t help but feel that with a bit more effort in the mystery, this game would be more than a fun diversion.

Rating: 3/5

Murdered: Soul Suspect is now available for US$49.90 (S$62) on Steam for PC, and S$79.90 for the PlayStation 4. PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions are also available.

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