Murdered: Soul Suspect

 
Supernatural mystery suffers design issues, weak writing.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Various plot threads touch on notions of justice, love, guilt, and responsibility. The story also has strong themes of spirituality, though it doesn't focus on or promote any one religion. 

Positive role models

The protagonist is a reformed-criminal-turned-detective who gets killed in the game's opening moments. He spends the rest of the game as a ghost in limbo. Despite his past, he seems like a good man and a loving husband and is eager to help other ghosts he encounters deal with their own problems.

Ease of play

Most investigations aren't very difficult to work through if you take the time to thoroughly scour the environment for clues. But solving mysteries on your first try by selecting relevant evidence can be tricky due to vaguely worded clues and questions. Plus, the lack of an in-game map makes finding your way around the town of Salem kind of frustrating.

Violence

The protagonist can occasionally grab demons -- floating wraiths -- and reduce them to ash by sneaking up behind them and pulling their essences from their bodies. Non-interactive flashbacks show (or discuss) people's deaths and murders, including those of a man getting shot, a college student accidentally left in a mausoleum to die, a crazed mother who drops her child from a balcony, and a girl who's dragged, tied to a chair, and drowned. There's no gore, but players will see crimson stains and pools of blood.

Sex
Not applicable
Language

Spoken dialogue includes the words "f--k" and "s--t." 

Consumerism

Advertising for other Square Enix games is visible within the environment and includes a poster on a police station wall for Just Cause 2 and several computers running Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The game's hero keeps a lit cigarette in the corner of his mouth throughout the game. An investigation concerning a drinking-and-driving accident includes flashbacks that depict drunken characters.

Privacy & safety

No privacy or safety concerns.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Murdered: Soul Suspect is a mystery investigation adventure that puts players in the shoes of a recently deceased police officer trying to solve his own murder. Play revolves around finding clues scattered around the environment and interpreting them. Violence has a role but is used primarily to further the murder-mystery narrative; it takes the form of cut scenes and flashbacks and is almost always non-interactive. Parents should note, though, that dialogue contains strong language (including "f--k" and "s--t"). Also, one of the game's investigations revolves around a deadly incident involving drinking and driving, and the game's hero is almost never seen without a cigarette in his mouth.

What's it about?

MURDERED: SOUL SUSPECT puts players in the shoes of Ronan O'Connor, a reformed criminal now serving as a detective for the Salem police force. He's murdered in the game's opening moments, thrown from a fourth-floor apartment window by a masked killer. Waking as a ghost, he's stuck in limbo until he completes unfinished business from his life -- namely, finding the person who killed him. Thus begins an otherworldly investigation that leads Ronan around the streets of Salem, where he learns that he has some pretty interesting powers, such as the ability to pass through solid objects, possess the living, and see the ghostly remnants of objects from troubled events of years gone by. He also meets plenty of other people stuck in limbo and decides to put his investigative powers to use by helping them solve the mysteries of their deaths, sending them floating up into a bright light when they're successful.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Murdered: Soul Suspect is bursting with promise that's never realized. The notion of playing as a dead detective working his own unsolved murder is tantalizing. And it's refreshing to see a game meant for older players that eschews constant fighting for something more cerebral -- namely, searching for clues and putting them together to solve mysteries. Add a few cool ghostly powers to help the character along -- for example, possessing people of interest to read their thoughts, influence them, or look through their eyes to see what they see is undeniably cool -- and you have a recipe for what should be a great game. Sadly, it never quite comes together.

The story relies on pretty much every gumshoe trope imaginable and delivers each through bland dialogue and surprisingly dull and repetitive thoughts that run through the heads of most of the people Ronan can possess -- a problem for a game that relies so heavily on storytelling. Making things worse are a host of design issues, such as the lack of an in-game map (which makes finding your way around Salem much harder than it needs to be). There also are half-baked, wholly unnecessary combat scenes with Ronan sneaking up on demons that feed on ghosts' souls to "execute" them. Happily, these fighting sequences are infrequent. There are some interesting kernels here that warrant a look for grown-up gamers searching for something a bit different, but even then Murdered: Soul Suspect isn't worth the full price.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the violent nature of the game's flashbacks. Although they aren't interactive, the content discussed in cut scenes and flashbacks is gruesome. What kind of impact could this content have on players?

  • What do you think happens when people die? The game features ghosts as they would appear in real life. Does this game present them in a way you'd imagine?

  • Families also can talk about being a detective. What sorts of qualities and traits might make someone good at solving crimes? Do you think a person with a criminal past might be better at figuring out how criminals think? 

Game details

Platforms:PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Price:$59.99
Pricing structure:Paid
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Square Enix
Release date:June 4, 2014
Genre:Adventure
Topics:Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
ESRB rating:M for Blood, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Use of Alcohol (PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One)

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Quality

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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 13, 15, and 17 year old Written byJonathan_Bailey July 29, 2014
age 13+
 

Really nothing a 13 year old can't handle, unless they're easily scared.

My son got Murdered Soul Suspect really cheap, and has had a good time with it from what I've heard. I've watched the gameplay, there's almost no violence you partake in at ALL. You do disintegrate floating wraith things, but that's about the extent. There is however depictions of violence in cut scenes, and in the fact that your character is murdered at the start of the game, and you play the entire game as a ghost. Because the game takes place with you dead, you encounter a lot of creepy beings, ghosts, wraiths, and other things as well, but not nightmare material. If you kid can handle some spooky stuff, it should be totally fine.There is some mild drugs, such as cigars and alcohol, but nothing in depth. The swearing is fairly mild, it does reach extreme levels, but it's nothing that kids don't hear at school. The main character is also a good role model, as he's working for justice to try to find and stop his, and many others, murderer, and have him brought to justice.
What other families should know
Great role models
Kid, 11 years old July 6, 2014
age 10+
 

a boring game that doesnt deserve a m rating

if your kids want this game dont bother it is boring and in my opinion i would rather play wow all day long boring id skip it if i were you
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Teen, 15 years old Written byskalcott June 29, 2014
age 14+
 

Unique Underrated Game

This game has a great story and some good characters. It's not the typical game that you see all the time it is a unique experience. The game has violence, after all it is a murder mystery, but about 95% of it is just cutscenes and isn't under the control of the player. The only violence you do perform is against demons and it isn't graphic at all. The game says the f-word twice throughout the whole main campaign and they say sh*t a few times but the language really isn't that bad. Personally I think this game could have gotten away with a T rating. Overall it's an enjoyable and gripping title and very appropriate.

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