Read before going on:
This review is strictly written from my own personal opinion, and in no means is to be used to promote or demote the game or product.
Platform played on: Xbox One
Mode: Single Player
Genre: Action-Adventure, stealth
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Airtight Games
Murdered takes place in Salem, Massachusetts and follows the story of a detective named Ronan, who is thrown from a two-story window. He awakens only to realize that he is dead, and is looking at his body from the other side. Not being completely dead yet, you witness the killer shooting Ronan’s body to finish him off, as seen in the E3 trailer.
The main purpose is to figure out who killed you through finding clues around town in places like the church, museum, cemetery ect. During Ronan’s journey he stumbles upon a girl named Joy, a medium who can serve as Ronan’s link between realms. Despite her gift, Joy isn’t willing to help you at first, but with some pestering and “stalking” Ronan is able to get her to come around in exchange for helping her. Together Joy and Ronan work together to find clues as to who his killer is, also dubbed “The Bell Killer”.
As a spirit, Ronan is able to do the usual things that spirits do, like possession, walk through objects, and teleport. While Ronan is unable to interact with other people aside from Joy, he is able to possess people to get information that he needs. During a possession, he has several options, like seeing through the persons eyes, reading their mind, and showing them memories. While most people are able to be possessed, about 90% of them prove to be useless unless they are specified as of some kind of importance. However, humans aren’t the only thing you can possess, a few times during the game Ronan is able to possess a cat who, unlike the human NPC’s, can move and be controlled. Doing so helps the player get to places that they otherwise couldn’t such as ventilation systems.
Ronan is unable to enter houses and buildings unless the door is open, which doesn’t make sense in reality but from a developer perspective had to be done in order to split areas of importance from unimportant. When the player is ready to enter a building, a button prompt is shown and a short cut scene shows Ronan entering the building after someone opens the door either entering or exiting themselves. When in an area, a smaller marker in the distance indicates where the player needs to go in order to progress. If the player wants, they can explore the area and can find collectables that pertain to each area. However, I didn’t search for said items in particular but found a good majority of them anyway. The player will also run into lost souls who need help, which serves as tasks that are unrelated to the main story(side quests).
Murdered shares a similar, less in-depth, playing style seen in L.A. Noire, where the player enters a specific area and scours it for clues. The only enemy you encounter are demons that take form of a sludge that blocks your path, or monsters.
In order to survive the demons, Ronan must sneak up behind the monsters and press button prompts. As the game progress’s, more demons are seen together in a smaller area which forces the player to think up a strategy to take on one demon at a time, since taking on more than one at a time is difficult. The player also has an option to hide in mists or shadows (I am not entirely sure what they would be considered) that are virtually EVERYWHERE to escape the demon. However, the demon cannot see you enter one or they will pull you out and kill you, instead you need to run far enough in front so they do not see you vanish into a mist. Once hidden you can vanish into other nearby mists to escape, however, the demon will search around and can potentially still find you. While it is possible to still be found, in my experience I have never had a demon find me after I already confused them and was in the clear.
The demon sludge is impassable, so in order to pass the sludge on the floor Ronan must trick a person to cross the room over the sludge. Such tricks include preforming a poltergeist on an item like turning on a radio, which alerts the person in the room to walk over and turn it off. Doing this gives Ronan the opportunity to possess them as they get close, hitching a ride inside of the persons body. The person then walks back to where they were, allowing him to pass over the sludge. Demon sludge is nonexistent in the living realm, so when he possesses a living person he is then able to cross the path.
Murdered takes place in Salem, Massachusetts, most popularly known for the Salem witch trials.
I first heard about Murdered when I was working at Gamestop, and ever since then I have been eagerly awaiting its release. Being a part of a paranormal team, I knew this game was going to be right up my alley, and jumped on buying it as soon as my classes were over for the quarter. My first thought was that the beginning of the game starts out similarly as the E3 trailer, but much faster without an emotion connection. What I mean is that I wanted to feel the desperation and fear someone would feel if they realized they were staring eye to eye with their own corpse(similar to the E3 trailer), but I didn’t feel any of that. The next thing was to try to align Ronan’s spirit with his body in an attempt to enter it and come back alive, that was the moment I felt like this game might just consist miniscule, pointless tasks. Luckily, that was the only part of the game where anything like that happened.
While playing through the game in the beginning, I felt excited to be able to explore the world as a ghost, only to realize as I went on it didn’t exactly feel like a privilege. Possessing people is cool right? Not exactly, most of the people who you possess have random, stupid thoughts that are unhelpful. While I get that not every person is going to have thoughts relating to the bell killer, a lot of the NPC’s are duplicated, leaving you running into the same person over and over again with the same thoughts.
While Ronan can walk through most items such as desks, there are a lot of things he CAN’T walk through. These things are outlined in a bluish glow, similar to the one that outlines Ronan. These items usually consist of objects that once existed that are no longer there and in a sense ghosts themselves. For example, there are ships that you can find in the middle of alleyways, buildings that are no longer there, and even a moving train. While it seems like this is a negative point, it really didn’t bother my game play either way, in fact, it was pretty cool to see an interpretation of what Salem used to be.
Murdered is not a difficult game, and may be appreciated by those who prefer a game focusing more on investigation and drama. There is a slight sense of character development throughout the game, but not much since a lot of the information about the main character is given away right at the beginning. Instead, it would be cool to see a lot of his former life unfold as the game went on through him reliving memories. Doing it this way would make me feel like he still felt disheartened about his unfortunate situation, and therefore adding depth to his character. The enemies are not difficult, but can be a pain if you don’t plan your actions beforehand, leaving you restarting the scenario over and over again. The game is very short, and could probably be beaten within 6 hours of continuous game play or less. When I played this game I played it on the Xbox one, however I don’t feel like the graphic difference is significant enough between the 360 and One, so in my opinion I would just buy it for the Ps3 or Xbox360 and save money.
Murdered had a lot of potential that I do not feel was utilized, and felt disappointed. This game is best bought on a Xbox360 or Ps3 since the graphic difference from last gen to next gen consoles isn’t significant enough. The game has an interesting story, but lacked in proper character development which leads to forgettable characters. I feel like this game is going to be in the $10 or under rack in stores a few years from now, which is sad because like previously mentioned there was so much wasted potential. Great for one play-through with no replay value, so once you beat it you will pretty much be done with it unless you are serious about getting collectables.
Rating: 6.6/10 Okay/Good
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