Monthly Archives: June 2014

Murdered Soul Suspect: A flawed, but likeable, detective game

Murdered Soul Suspect (SquareEnix, multiplatform. Reviewed on PlayStation 4)


Find the killer: Murdered detective Ronan O'Connor must find out who killed him.

Find the killer: Murdered detective Ronan O’Connor must find out who killed him.

One of the more interesting aspects to SquareEnix’s detective game where you play the ghost of a murdered police trying to solve his own murder is that sometimes you get to possess cats.

Set in the town of Salem – well-known in American lore for being the home of witches and witchcraft – Murdered Soul Suspect opens with detective-with-a-shady-past Ronan O’Connor being thrown out of a house window then brutally murdered by a masked serial killer nicknamed the Bell Killer by Salem’s local police department. O’Connor’s ghost wears the five glowing bullet holes in his torso like a badge of honour and before he can join his murdered wife Julia in heaven, he must uncover who the Bell Killer is.

As O’Connor explores the town of Salem, he uncovers a tale steeped in witchcraft and with the help of the daughter of a missing clairvoyant tries to find out why the Bell Killer is  doing what he’s doing (murdering people).

For a game based on witches and rituals, Murdered Soul Suspect wasn’t as scary as I was expecting and it doesn’t feature a lot of combat, either.

Actually, it isn’t scary at all as the only real threat to O’Connor’s ghostly form are demons that appear from time to time – usually when he has to exit a building he’s just explored or a building he’s about to investigate. The demons – tormented souls trapped on earth – are more of a nuisance than anything, although they can’t be taken head on: O’Connor must approach them stealthily, from behind, often hiding in conveniently placed spirits dotted around environments.

Sneaking up behind a demon without being caught activates a quick time event (on PlayStation you pull the R2 button then have to match the on-screen stick and button combination). If you mess it up – or they spot you before you’ve managed to get it – they’ll chase him until eventually sucking the will from him, and you return to the last check point.  The demons aren’t hard to kill: Just annoying.

Most of Murdered Soul Suspect’s game play involves examining crime scenes and piecing together clues about happened in a particular environment. At certain points, O’Connor will have to determine what order specific events happened, based on the clues he’s uncovered.  Each clue he solves, obviously, leads him closer to the identity of the Bell Killer.

Being a ghost has great advantages, mostly in that O’Connor can pass through most walls in his search for clues, except those that have been consecrated: He can’t pass through those.

But back to the cats. At certain points, controlling a cat is a lot of fun, especially in in the first 1/4 of the game where you guide a possessed cat through the grounds of Salem’s church to reach the attic where Ronan first meets Joy, the daughter of the missing clairvoyant. There are other times you can possess a cat, but often it’s just to be able to climb up scaffolding so you can reveal a collectible.

I played the PS4 version but to be honest I didn’t blow me away graphically. Murdered Soul Suspect looks nice but isn’t the sort of game you’d invite friends around to show off what your PS4 can do.

Sadly, Murdered Soul Suspect turns out to be a pretty average detective game that’s not particular difficult or taxing, but it’s saved by its genuinely intriguing story and the sterling effort done by Jason Brooks and Cassidy Lehrman, who voice  O’Connor and Joy.

Dynamic duo: Ronan and Joy join forces to solve the Bell Killer case.

Dynamic duo: Ronan and Joy join forces to solve the Bell Killer case.

The performances by Brooks and Lehrman lift Murdered Soul Suspect from the “meh”to the interesting, and while it won’t go down as one of gaming’s classics, it’s the type of game that I’ll remember playing, and not want to forget.

[Thanks to SquareEnix Australia for providing a copy of the game for review]

 

See the E3 hype following Sony & Microsoft pre-show conferences

Microsoft and Sony held their pre-E3 press events today. Both had games, games and games. Sony also had a TV device. Microsoft hardly mentioned Kinect at all (I think it’s needed for the Dance Central game).

Instead of prattling on, I’ve just posted some videos. Personally, I’m still super keen on Batman Arkham Knight, the time-lapse trailer for Ubisoft’s The Division, the fact that classic point-and-click adventure game Grim Fandango is heating  to PS Vita and PlayStation 4 and Sunset Overdrive: It looks the bee’s knees. Oh, and Crackdown: I loved the original Crackdown and despite being another bad guy being taken down, it could be interesting.

Watch and enjoy. Happy E3!

Batman Arkham Knight (and the Batmobile blowing shit up):  

The Division:  

Sunset Overdrive

Grim Fandango (featuring DoubleFine developer Tim Schafer pretending to be a small child):

Crackdown:

Far Cry 4: 

 

I’ll post more videos when I can be bothered.

Were you swept away by the hype? Did you get up outrageously early to watch the Microsoft livestream? Thoughts? You know what to do …

 

One game trailer has me contemplating the CE edition – but it’s how much????

 

The latest trailer for The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt has me wishing it was 2015 now: That’s when CD Projekt Red’s third game featuring Geralt of Rivia is due.

I’ve posted the trailer on this post. Watch it and tell me you’re not impressed. Apparently it’s in-game footage. If that is the case, then the current generation starts with that game (what I call the current generation means Xbox One and PlayStation 4).

The new trailer is also the reason I’m seriously considering getting the Collector’s Edition, even though it’s $300 in New Zealand. Yes, $300 and I think EB Games is the exclusive retailer for it. To be fair, I’ve got $288 credit at EB Games so it’s not really going to cost me much overall, and I’ll likely get the PC version if I get it, but that’s an insane amount to be paying for collector’s edition.

If I didn’t have the EB Games credit I wouldn’t even be considering the CE edition and frankly, I can’t understand how the NZ version of the same package costs so much more than the Australian version: It’s $AU199 for the PC version  as opposed to $279 in New Zealand. How can EB Games in NZ seriously justify this pricing? It just seems unjustified. If only I could use my NZ EB Game credit on the EB Games AU site!!!

Perhaps someone at EB Games will read this and post a reply.

Pricing aside, if I do get the the CE edition it’s the figurine of Geralt battling a griffin (its in the image below) that has me interested.

CD Projekt’s Red’s head of studio Adam Badowski has this to say about the polystone collectible: “Behold, the Collector’s Edition of The Witcher–over two kilograms of the most badass monster slayer, ready to bring your desktop figure collection to a whole new level.” Here’s what’s in the CE edition: All the contents from the standard edition of the game – A giant, 33 x 24 x26cm (10”), 100% hand painted, Polystone figure of Geralt of Rivia battling a Griffin – An exquisite, collector-grade Witcher medallion – A one-of-a-kind SteelBook™ box – A two-hundred-page artbook, containing breathtaking art from the game – Huge outer and inner Collector’s Boxes you can store your Witcher merchandise in!

That's what I call a collector's edition: a polylstone figurine of Geralt of Rivea slaying a griffin is the centrepiece of The Witcher 3's collector's edition. I want it now.

That’s what I call a collector’s edition: a polylstone figurine of Geralt of Rivea slaying a griffin is the centrepiece of The Witcher 3’s collector’s edition. I want it now.

And if I don’t spring for the collector’s edition, I’ll look at getting a digital version straight from GOG.com. I got an email today telling me I could pre-order the game for $AU80.99 – and while it doesn’t come with a badass polystone figurine it comes with a tonne of extras. I’ll contemplate over the next few days.

I’ve played the previous two Witcher games and while not totally taken with the first, I enjoyed the second but didn’t finish it: I just couldn’t find the time. And I’ve actually just re-downloaded in on Steam in anticipation for The Witcher 3. The Wild Hunt.

It’s out on February next year. Finger’s crossed I can wait that long.

Disappointment alert: Batman Arkham Knight delayed

If there was one game that I really looking forward to this year it was Batman Arkham Knight. I was counting down the days until it’s release on [Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC] in October (well, I wasn’t actually counting the days physically, you understand).

I was even getting ready to pre-order a collector’s edition (when one was announced) because a) I don’t own a collector’s edition of any game and b) If the collector’s edition had a replica model of the new Batmobile, well, let’s just say that would be awesome (hint, hint Rocksteady and Warner Bros Interactive).

Well, sadly, I’m going to have to put my dreams about pre-ordering a Batman Arkham Knight collector’s edition until probably later this year: Rocksteady has delayed the game until next year. Yep, 2015.

Talking to The Escapist at an Arkham Knight press event recently, Rocksteady’s Guy Perkins said with such as “super ambitious project” in development, more time is needed.

“We just want to make the best experience we possibly can and we need more time to do that,” said Perkins. “I think what we’ve shown so far is a super ambitious project and we just want to make sure we are giving Batman fans and gamers the best Batman experience that we can possibly deliver and that just takes time.

“I think we would be doing fans a disservice if we didn’t spend the time on the title. We just want it to be really great.”

Personally, I’m all for games being delayed so they’re polished within an inch of their lives. I don’t want a buggy, glitchy mess that launches with a 8GB patch (sorry, “update”) that fixes all the stuff that should have been fixed in the first place.

Really, though, does this delay come as any surprise? The game was only officially announced a couple of months ago so I wonder whether the October release date was made after pressure from the publisher. Who knows but if this delay makes the game better, then I’m all for it. Besides, Arkham Knight will be hyped to high heaven until it’s out so best it’s the best it can be. Right?

So, I guess as a means of appeasing the restless and disappointed fans,  Rocksteady has released a new trailer that shows off the Batmobile’s Battle Mode, which apparently is going to be shown in more detail at next week’s E3.

Disappointed like me at the news?