That's significant because as you know, I'm not big on leader boards or stats.
The game is called Murdered: Soul Suspect. The best way to describe it is a 3rd person detective story RPG. I'm sure elsewhere it's classified as something else but my description seems the most apropos.
In the game you're in the role of a street thug turned cop named Ronan. An interesting name that left me wondering if it had anything to do with the comic book character Ronan the accuser or perhaps a play on the term "Ronin," a feudal Japanese moniker indicating a Samurai without a master or the more modern interpretation meaning one who is "between jobs." In other words, a little sketchy.
Regardless, Ronan is a fascinating character study who literally wears his heart on his sleeve. He's a fedora wearing tattooed man whose ink is a record of a careening, tumultuous life. One only brought into focus with the love of his life, Julia.
Sadly, as the story opens we find Ronan living a tortured existence over the loss of his beloved Julia. But this is no time to grieve as he's now consumed with catching a deranged serial killer targeting young women seemingly at random in the sleepy town of Salem, Massachusetts.
Yes, THAT Salem and it's your first clue as to where this story is going.
As the game begins we find Ronan exploding out of a shattered 4th story window after a confrontation with a shadowy figure. He awakens to find himself temporarily disembodied but that state soon becomes permanent upon the arrival of the Bell Witch Killer. Shot 7 times with his own gun, Ronan must now solve the mystery of his own murder and in the process uncover dark secrets that have haunted Salem for centuries.
Quite a build up eh?
It is and it's worthy of it. The story is intriguing with twists, turns and dead ends to thrill any devotee of the mystery genre. Add in a tastefully done horror component supported by an eerie backdrop of a dark and gloomy Salem complete with lost souls, haunted houses, and frightful demons.
The game is gorgeous even on my creaky old gaming laptop ( circa 2008 ) and the controls simple. You're led on a path similar to the Call of Duty campaign modes on the hunt for clues to your own murder. On the way you'll find ample opportunity to complete side quests but be warned if like me you seek to earn all of the Steam achievements you must be methodical in your approach. For me it took 2 playthroughs as there is no quicksave nor any way to go back once you've completed the final chapter of the game.
It's a casual game but it can be maddening at times. For one, you have no onscreen map nor any way to mark your progress toward achievements. Meaning you'll spend a lot of time running in circles to find the way forward and backtracking for that one elusive clue.
Then there's the demons. I understand that a game in the horror genre has to have some kind of threat but they're all over the place. It breaks the flow of the narrative and it's jarring to go from a casual detective story to a flurry of button mashing every 10 minutes.
Still, even with the more "gamey" aspects, it's still more ghost story than game which explains some of its mechanical shortcomings. My first playthrough was simply for the sake of taking it all in. The second was purely for my own desire to see everything and in the process earn every Steam achievement.
All tolled I've spent a bit over 20 hours and enjoyed every minute of it. I picked it up on a Steam sale over the holidays for a paltry $2.99 a mere 10% of it's normal $29.99 price.
With all that's good about Murdered: Soul Suspect I'd suggest waiting till Steam gets generous again. $30 is a bit much for 20 hours of gameplay from a defunct studio. You won't even find the game mentioned on Square Enix's site and as such any support comes from the fan base. It's an orphaned masterpiece that leaves me wondering just what could have been had Airtight Studios continued on.
Keep it in mind if you're looking for something to play when the weather turns a little chill, the autumn leaves begin to fall and thoughts turn to things that go bump in the night..
Check out the video below for a taste of Murdered: Soul Suspect...