After years of being a cop, I learned how to spot trouble from miles away. Case in point, Murdered: Soul Suspect. As soon as that lady walked into my office, I knew I was in deep trouble.
"I need you to solve a murder," she said. Instead of looking at me, she examined the faded pictures on my wall. Pictures from a different time. When I was a cop. When I had a wife. When I wasn't dead.
"Who's the victim?" I asked. I put my feet up on my desk, acting nonchalant in spite of how badly I needed her business.
"You are." She said.
"That's interesting," I said. I had been hoping someone would look into my murder. "Where do I start?"
She approached my desk and placed a hand on my foot. Or tried to. I was a ghost, after all. She looked deep into my eyes.
"You need to collect things."
"Lots of things."
So, I collected things. I walked from one end of Salem to another, grabbing whatever I could find: photos, books, flyers, broken glass. Murdered: Soul Suspect told me that if it glowed, I should grab it. Everything glowed.
Once I had a big pile of evidence in my ghost-pockets, I'd circle back to her to share my findings. She spent her days in her run-down colonial houses, nestled between two other run-down colonial houses.
"I found this rifle behind some boxes," I told her one time. "Is this evidence?"
She regarded the ghost-rifle for half a second. "Not for your murder."
"So why was it glowing?"
"It's still important," she said. "If you collect ten more of those, you'll learn some local history about Salem."
"Why would I want to do that?"
"It's a fascinating town. Did you know they killed people for being witches in the 17th century?"
"Ten rifles to go!" she said.
I took that as my cue to leave. I exhaled air I wasn't actually breathing and walked back into the cold Salem night.
Collecting evidence - particularly while dead - was lonely work. The only people I could talk to were other ghosts. They're not great conversationalists. Most of them just loitered around wherever they died, talking about their death to whoever would listen.
"I hung myself in my cell!" said a ghost in a cell, standing next to his ghost-noose.
"Why does your noose have a ghost?" I asked.
"I hung myself in my cell!"
To be fair to my fellow ghosts, the living weren't any more interesting. I hopped into a few of them to pass the time. I couldn't control their bodies but I could read their thoughts. They didn't live up to expectations.
"A murder in our neighborhood?" one Salemite thought. "How horrible."
"When were those witch trials again?" another person thought.
"I'll stay in well-lit places. It's the only way to stay safe."
I wished I could grab these people by the shoulders and shake them. Put some sense into them.
"Stop thinking about death," I'd tell these folks. "There's no point. Eventually you're going to die and become a ghost who just think about death all day. If you spend all your time thinking about dying now, you're just going to get bored of the subject by the time you're dead."
"Also," I'd say, "Shut up about the witch trials already. They were like four hundred years ago."
The only people I didn't hate in Salem were the ones trying to kill me. Demons were twisted remnants of the living that fed on other spirits. They were doomed to spend eternity patrolling the same hallway over and over on the off-chance a ghost would wander into their hunting ground. It was a fruitless task, considering how most ghosts just moped around the scene of their death.
As one of the few mobile ghosts in town, I presented demons with a rare meal opportunity. Years of walking up and down the same stretch of hallway made them poor at chasing, though. I'd lose them by hiding in clouds of ghostly...something or other. If the ghost got too close to the cloud, I'd just hop to another. If they got too close to that one, I'd hop back to the original cloud.
They didn't have a chance. Watching them scramble from cloud to cloud was like watching the worst Three Card Monte player ever.
These demons angered me at first. Why were they trying to eat me? It didn't seem like consuming ghosts helped them. They'd have to stay demons whether or not they caught their prey. They could afford to be lenient, you know?
In time, though, I began to appreciate them. Sure, they wanted to eat me for nonsensical reasons but at least they gave me something to do. If it wasn't for their attacks, I'd be doing nothing but picking up shiny objects. I'd shake their hands if they weren't trying to eat me and they had hands.
There was a witness to my murder. After poking around her apartment, I found out a photo of her standing in front of a church. It gave me a vision of her at that very same church, seeking asylum. That was my next destination. Finally, a breakthrough!
I phoned up Murdered: Soul Suspect and told her I was headed to the church.
"No, come back here first," she said.
So I did.
"What's wrong?" I asked.
"Show me the evidence that proves she's at the church."
"Because it's not enough that you know she's going to the church. You need to show me that you know."
I held up the photo of the witness at the church. Murdered studied it for a second and nodded. She noticed my irritation.
"I don't mean to be a bother, detective. I just don't want you to waste your time by going somewhere you don't need to. Imagine if you had gone to the church and not found the girl."
"So to prevent myself from wasting time, I need to waste time by pointing the obvious out to you?"
"That's the long and short of it, yes," she said. "Also: find any other rifles?"
For some reason, the word "rifle" made something click in my head. The sensation is tough to describe to a civilian. It's like the case was a map being unrolled on a table in front of me.
"I just figured it out," I said softly.
"You figured out who the murderer is?" she asked. "If so, you're jumping way too far ahead."
"I just realized the connection between the rifles, the water tanks and the dent in the wall I just found over the past two hours: this case is a fucking waste of time and I'm not doing it anymore."
Her expression was blank but priceless. I pressed on.
"You don't even need me here. All I do is go where you tell me, grab things and bring them to you. I could be replaced by a helper monkey with a backpack."
After a pause, she said: "What if I told you that you'll be able to possess a cat later on in this case? Would that change your mind?"
"Can I make the cat meow?"
"Cool, never mind then. Let's get back to the case."
Platforms: Xbox One (reviewed), PS4, PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Developer: Airtight Games, Square Enix Japan
Publisher: Square Enix