Murdered: Soul Suspect Preview
During the first year of the PS2’s reign, a unique mystery game arrived. It was called Shadow of Destiny and it didn’t involve guns or overt violence of any kind. It was a pure adventure title where you traveled through time in an attempt to stop your own murder. The puzzles got more elaborate as the game went on, and it was both highly challenging and fulfilling. Now, Square Enix and Quantum Conundrum developer Airtight Games are preparing Murdered: Soul Suspect, a game where you must analyze clues from the beyond and solve a very personal case.
”The most difficult murder to solve is your own” is the theme of this game, which is why it sounds familiar to Konami’s puzzle/adventure title from 2002. However, as you might expect, there could be more action involved in Murdered. It begins with detective Ronan O’Connor getting thrown out of a window, after which he falls to his unfortunate demise. The killer isn’t even satisfied with the fall; he comes down and shoots you just to make sure. So who did it? From the afterlife, you will have to search for the killer and obviously, because you can’t actually manipulate objects or interact with living persons, the process will be tricky.
On the plus side, n the limbo world of Dusk, Ronan does have otherworldly abilities that can assist him in his quest. For instance, because nobody can see him, he can eavesdrop on just about any conversation he chooses. Beyond that, he can even posses people, although not in the technical sense of the term. He can’t actually control the individual, but he can see through their eyes. As he prowls around, looking for clues, he can take advantage of “memory residues” that replay dramatic moments that occurred in the vicinity. He’ll be looking for witnesses above all; someone who might have seen something that could be helpful.
Additionally, he still has access to his prodigious detective skills. This lets him spot clues in the environment that others might miss, so it’ll be important to scour every scene with a fine-tooth comb. This reminds me a little of Heavy Rain or L.A. Noire, as we had to search for clues in much the same way during certain gameplay segments. The interesting twist is that when you’re tasked with answering critical questions, your answers will be final. So in turn, this implies branching storylines and different endings, right? If you weren’t in the right place at the right time in SoD, your fate was sealed. Didn't have a lot of options, though.
The action elements may come from the demons that roam the surreal Dusk landscape. They eat souls that just bit the dust, but we’ve been promised that dealing with them is more about solving puzzles than pressing buttons. It’ll also be cool to simply walk through walls and perform other ghostly actions during your quest, so I’m looking forward to this one. If you enjoy thoughtful, challenging games with solid plots that make you think, Murdered: Soul Suspect should be right up your alley. It’ll hit current and next-gen consoles some time next year.
6/10/2013 Ben Dutka