A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What 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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
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.
Talk to your kids 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?
- 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
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.