Murdered: Soul Suspect is the unwanted offspring of L.A. Noire and Silent Hill. It gives you a glimpse at what a supernatural detective game would look like–sadly, not a puzzler like Capcom’s far superior Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective. The concept itself isn’t a bad one, and Salem’s got a rich and bloody history that’s tapped into for this tale of ghosts and witches gone wild, but it’s just sluggishly executed. There’s no combat, which is admirable, but as a result, a great deal of the game consists of running from point A to B, hoping that you haven’t missed any of the myriad scrapbooks and memory fragments scattered around this dull and intentionally washed out town. (Almost everything is drab as a result of your deathly status, and because it’s eternally nighttime.) The big “action” sequences revolve around sneaking past demons, another potentially cool concept that’s tarnished by the poor stealth design–since you can pass through most unconsecrated walls, engagement is a non-issue and there’s never any sense of danger. (After all, you’re already dead.) If you like “investigating” areas for clues, I’m told that The Vanishing of Ethan Carter does this much better, as does Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments–in any case, solving each case would be more enjoyable if you didn’t have to waste so much time wandering around.
Lessons learned then: hybrid games such as Murdered: Soul Suspect have to be really careful that the different elements actually complement one another. In the end, it’s going to take a lot more than this to successfully pull off stealth investigations.