Guide to Games is Waypoint's weekly short video series diving into a game we love, detest, or find fascinating. If the video above doesn't play, try the version on YouTube!Gameplay footage courtesy of RabidRetrospect Games.
Murdered: Soul Suspect is one of the most underrated, under-appreciated games of the current era. It's a classic "seven out of ten" game: flawed, but interesting and off the beaten path.
In the game, you play as a recently deceased fedora-wearing detective. Yup, a ghost detective! You need to suss out the clues of your death in modern-day Salem, but, since you're dead, you can see and talk to other ghosts about the town.
It's basically a pulpy detective novel with extra spookiness for flavor. You investigate crime scenes and put together relevant clues like so many puzzle pieces. It's satisfying to sift through incidental information and make connections, albeit in a simple fashion.
But it's also chock full of creepy detail and classic ghost story tropes. All of the ghosts still clinging to this world have stories: and you can hunt down the clues and truths about their deaths in some of the most memorable side quests I've ever played. Finding enough clues about a death—for example, a suicide gone wrong, or a drunk driving session near a gas station—allows you to give those spirits the truth, and let them pass on to the next realm.
The world building is fantastic—the game looks and feels like modern Salem, with all of the creepy history that's built into every brick of the city. There is even an extended sequence where you get to possess an adorable cat to get around a building.
There are stealth sections that don't really work 100% of the time, and some of the writing is a little too corny, even for the genre, but I have a very special place in my heart for Murdered: Soul Suspect. It's pulpy and earnest, like an homage to a forgotten genre.
It's not everyday you get to possess a cat and speak to ghosts, after all.