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Chris Kavan's Video Game Reviews (462)

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Strange Brigade 4/5
Satellite Reign 3/5
Watch Dogs 2 4/5
Divinity: Original Sin 2 4.5/5
Marvel: Ultimate Allian... 3/5
Star Trek: Bridge Crew 3/5
Metro 2033 3.5/5
South Park: The Fractur... 4/5
Sundered 3.5/5
Mass Effect: Andromeda 3.5/5
Life is Strange: Before... 4/5
God of War 4/5
Doom (2016) 3.5/5
Armada 3.5/5
Detroit: Become Human 4/5
Destiny 2 4/5
Horizon: Zero Dawn 4.5/5
Oxenfree 4/5
Murdered: Soul Suspect 3/5
Kirby Star Allies 3/5
Celeste 4.5/5
Dark Quest 2 3/5
Just Cause 3 3.5/5
Guacamelee! 2 4/5
The Incredible Adventur... 4/5

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Murdered: Soul Suspect   PC (Steam) 

Murder Most Rote    3/5 stars

While AAA games get most of the attention, big studios can also release games that fly a bit more under the radar. Case in point, Square Enix and the release of Murdered: Soul Suspect. It didn't get a huge amount of press nor did it get a high amount of praise. The idea came out to appeal more to "Western" audiences and although the concept of the game is interesting, most of the implementation seems half-baked and the final product screams average across the board.

Presentation: The game looks pretty good. The game itself takes place in a fictionalized version of Salem, Mass. and, of course, takes into account the history of said town. The characters may not have the greatest depth, but they are at least developed enough to maintain a bare minimum connection. There are no big names here in the voice department, but they do an adequate job with Cassidy Lehrman being the standout as the sullen teen medium and Jason Brooks doing his best as the main character, the hard-bitten criminal-turned-detective who happens to be a ghost trying to solve his own murder.

The game does best when rendering the ghostly world. I really like the ghosts who just flit in and out of existence, often in old-timey garb to really make them seem a bit off. While the locations are stock: church, asylum, graveyard - the game plays around with history, throwing in an old epidemic here, some witches there - and does best to showcase some darker moments. The music is low key and alright, but nothing special. At least the game doesn't try too hard to hit you with the "jump scare" moments and instead creates more atmosphere. If it wasn't so short, it would almost be admirable. I never encountered any major issues with crashing - the only time I ran into any trouble was when I had to restart an area because the game wasn't giving me the right prompts to continue - and it only happened once.

Story: Our main character, detective Ronan O'Connor is on the hunt for the Bell Killer, who has been stalking the streets of Salem, murdering people seemingly at random. With the police hitting dead end after dead end, O'Connor is following up a tip, only to find himself on the wrong end of a very strong man. Thrown out a window, he is murdered in the street - only to wake up as ghost with his late wife telling him in order to transition to the other side, he will have to finish anything left undone in the living world... which means finding his killer and, in the process, uncovering the mystery of the Bell Killer.

Ronan isn't a typical detective. Sporting a multitude of tattoos, we learn he was once a criminal, rising from young thug to much more dangerous crimes, before finding a loving spouse, picking up a badge and turning a page. But his happy life takes a turn when his own wife is murdered and Ronan throws himself into his work - to the point of nearly getting himself killed (well, he does get himself killed eventually). His late wife's brother is head of the department while another cop, Baxter, won't let him forget his criminal past. Once he realizes he is going to stay a ghost, he finds himself connecting with a young medium, Abigail, who is looking for her mother, a medium herself. Thus the two form a reluctant alliance, as they scour Salem for clues along with ghosts of the Bell Killer's victims - hoping to piece together what they have in common.

Gameplay: The game is mostly sandbox (with limits) as you wander the streets of Salem - with certain areas (Church, Police Station, Graveyard, Asylum, Museum) opening up as the story progresses. There is very little direct action - at certain times you must be stealthy and take out shadows, but these are few and far between. For the most part you investigate areas - picking up clues, reading minds, influencing conversations - and once you have collected evident, you must piece together the most relevant facts and form your conclusion. It's like a mini-game, but it's incredibly easy. The game gives you certain ghost powers to use - some of which you unlock, including entering bodies to read minds/influence conversations, removing or creating ghostly items, electronic manipulation (TV static, disabling cameras and the like), teleportation (later in the game) and killing shadows (presented as an annoying quick-time event).

The game is filled with collectibles - some related to the characters, some related to the history of the town. The two biggest optional items are helping other ghosts solve mysteries so they can move on (mini-investigations if you will) and the ghost stories - brought about by collectibles that are assigned to a specific area. The ghost stories are essentially camp-fire tales - creepy, but not at all related to the main quest. Likewise, helping the other ghosts is strictly optional as they also won't affect the outcome. It feels mostly like extra padding - and the game needs it as playing through the story would only take a few hours and even with all the extra, 5-6 hours is being generous.

Replayability: The story doesn't change, so the only reason most would give this a second glance is the few collectibles you can get. Most are easy enough the first time around, but I admit I missed one or two. Still, it's not exactly a huge incentive in my book.

Overall: Murdered: Soul Suspect is a generally fine game - but it's not particularly memorable.

Presentation: 3/5
Story: 3/5
Gameplay: 3/5
Replayability: 2/5
Overall (not an average): 3/5



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