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Have You Played... Murdered: Soul Suspect?

The painful phantom

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Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Murdered: Soul Suspect [official site] is one of the worst games I’ve ever enjoyed.

If you go back and read my review you might think I’m telling a big fib when I say I ‘enjoyed’ Murdered. I don’t sound like I’m enjoying myself:

Almost every investigation essentially has Ronan seeking The Solution, which is found by having the player click on The Solution. Simon says the church is important. Even if you’re already in the church, just click on the same clue again. What about all of these other more nuanced pieces of information? Simon doesn’t give a shit.

There’s no deduction involved beyond occasionally acknowledging that you’re in a specific place and trying to solve a murder, and collecting any clues beyond the most obvious ones that sparkle and shine at the forefront of a scene is usually unnecessary. Optional side cases involve clicking on every interactive hotspot near a ghost until Ronan grasps the blindingly obvious cause of and reason for their death.

And yet, I remember Murdered fondly. It’s the equivalent of the terrible movie that comes on TV late at night and somehow worms its way into your memory, so that hilariously bad lines of dialogue resurface for weeks afterwards. The actual detective work is so poorly constructed that I can’t believe it was meant to be this way. Corners must have been cut, entire processes and mechanics left on some cutting room floor.

I hadn’t actually re-read my review, except to pick out the paragraphs above, until I started writing this paragraph. Now I see that I compared the game to a bad movie seen in the wee small hours back then, and also mentioned the possibility of features being cut. It turns out I haven’t had an original thought about Murdered since it was released, and I’m no closer to understanding its greatest mystery, which I recognised at the time:

It’s an unsatisfying mystery connected by insultingly obvious detective work and occasional perfunctory stealth sections. But, in an odd way I’m glad I played it. Working out why that might be is trickier than solving my own murder.

I have no idea.

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Adam Smith

former Deputy Editor

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